The Oxford Illustrated Companion to South Indian Classical Music

“The most thorough study of Carnatic music is by Ludwig Pesch.” – Historian of religions and musicologist Guy L. Beck in “Hinduism and Music” (OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE , 2014)

“I frequently dip into your books when in need of some clarification. Marvellous work.” – Ramnarayan Venkatrama, Editor-in-Chief, SRUTI MAGAZINE (unsolicited response by email, 18 July 2013)

“useful chapter on voice training” – John Potter and Neil Sorrell in A HISTORY OF SINGING (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012, Sources and references, p. 310)

“Pesch’s sumptuous Illustrated Companion is a delight … This is a book to be owned and cherished” Keshav Desiraju in THE TELEGRAPH CALCUTTA (Kolkata)

“a must-read and a worthy addition to a classical music aficionado’s collection … lucid explanations to unscramble jargon and decipher technicalities … tastefully designed … pure reading pleasure” – Lalithaa Krishnan in THE HINDU (Friday Review)

“one of the most useful books on Carnatic music (“The Illustrated Companion to South Indian Classical Music”, Oxford University Press).” – Gowri Ramnarayan in THE HINDU

“Indian music terminologies in Indian languages are explained precisely in English and the staff notation is used for the musical passages which are more useful for those who cannot read sargam notation and not exposed to the terms used in Carnatic music” – THE JOURNAL OF THE MUSIC ACADEMY MADRAS (Vol. LXX 1999)

“his most precious piece of work … embellished with more than 100 line drawings, photographs and staves by well-known artists.”  Utpal Borpujari in the SUNDAY HERALD (Art & Culture, 29 March 2009)

“very new, extremely handsome, second edition” – Samanth Subramanian in BODY AND SOUL (column, 16 March 2009)

“extremely valuable for both newcomers and somebody who has knowledge in this art form … very rewarding” – Rahul Siddharthan (Customer Reviews 2001 on

“a most informative, thorough, and scientifically accurate companion to our classical music” – C.V. Narasimhan (former Under-Secretary General of the United Nations) in THE HINDU (Literary Review)

“Throughout, Pesch’s deep engagement with his subject is clear and has its roots in practical experience, since he is a performer of Carnatic music as well as a scholar of it … engaging, informative and authoritative … a welcome and timely addition to English-language works on this subject” – Book review by Gerry Farrell in MUSIC AND LETTERS QUARTERLY (Vol. 81, Number 4, November 2000)

“a clear exposition of all the facets of Carnatic music” –  SRUTI MAGAZINE (Book review, first ed., June 1999)

“lucid style … fine sensitivity to subtleties … covers all major and many minor aspects of these twin concepts that lie at the heart of Indian music [raga and tala]. … useful to the layperson … well-researched … more than a reference book. … The chapter on voice … could benefit a contemporary Carnatic musician” – FRONTLINE Magazine (Vol. 16, No. 06, March 13 – 26, 1999)

“certainly the best of all the many general surveys of the music of southern India” – BRITANNICA.COM (2002)

Publisher: Oxford University Press (India)
2nd revised edition 2009
ISBN 978-019-569998-X

Find a copy of the Oxford Illustrated Companion to South Indian Classical Music

  • on the publisher’s website: Oxford University Press
  • in a library near you via
  • from one of several Indian distributors and online bookstores


Book release function organized by Oxford University Press on the occasion of Sri S. Rajam’s 90th birthday felicitation in Chennai >>