Dr. C.P. Rele (c. 1928 – 16 April 2010) was a Hindustani classical musician who specialized in singing, teaching, and composing khyal. A lawyer by profession, Rele studied vocal music along with the legendary Kumar Gandharva under the guidance of the well-known musicologist Prof. B.R. Deodhar. He thus imbibed Deodhar’s encyclopedic knowledge and critical understanding of Raga Sangeet.
Rele also witnessed at very close quarters, the training and the growth of Kumar Gandharva. He is widely acclaimed as an authority on Kumar Gandharva’s musical style. More about his long musical association and friendship with Kumar Gandharva can be found in his book, Kumar Maajhaa Sakhaa. After his retirement from active law practice, he devoted his energies to composing music in the Khayal genre and training disciples in Mumbai. Rele was a prolific composer and his compositions are very popular among younger musicians today. Critics and musicians have acclaimed his collection of 135 compositions, published under the title Gunjan, as a valuable contribution to the genre of Hindustani classical music. Apart from Kumar Maajhaa Sakhaa and Gunjan, Rele is the author of a work on Raga Sangeet, entitled ‘Svara Pravaaha’. Rele has, in his book, developed a new conceptual analysis of ragas based on movements (pravahas) and their interplay, challenging the orthodox system for classifying ragas in terms of scales. Rele believes that the form of any raga can be appreciated on the basis of four basic movements or pravahas, which are best expressed through the ragas Mand, Kalyan, Gaud and Bilawal. He proposes to examine each raga in terms of the influence of the four basic movements on its structure. It is the interplay of two or more movements in a raga that throws light on its distinct values and the thinking that has gone into its evolution.
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