Gesture and Voice in Hindustani Music
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Wesleyan University Press
Series: Music Culture
List of Illustrations
The heart of this work has been the patient guidance of the many teachers who sat with me over the years, beginning with my parents and brother. In writing a book that comes to focus on the tacit transmission of musical knowledge from teacher to student, I was reminded...
A Note on Transcription
The notation system used throughout the book is designed to be easily readable by both Hindustani and Western musicians and also accessible to readers with no musical training. It is based on the Hindustani sargam system, akin to...
A Note on Languages and Terminology
Many of the technical terms in this book are borrowed from the Hindi- Urdu lexicon of Hindustani music. Hindi and Urdu are mutually intelligible to such an extent that they can be considered a single language, and their grammatical flexibility has allowed an easy fl ow of loan words from...
What does gesture have to do with music? This question came from an All-India radio executive, over tea and biscuits. She was trying to persuade me to stop thinking about how bodies move and focus on the real stuff of music: sound. She placed her teacup aside and spread her arms wide, palms facing...
1. A History of Moving and Singing in India
Somehow, it is in discussions of gesture — where the body and the voice work together in the most obvious way — that music scholars insist most emphatically that the body and the voice are, in fact, separate. The body serves as a discursive pivot that modulates from matters of aesthetics (beauty vs. ugliness...
2. Gesture and Melodic Motion
Melody is motion; melody is notes. The young singer at the concert switched smoothly between these two ways of understanding. In this, she showed a mastery of two complementary models of melody among Hindustani musicians. One model, embodied in the young musician’s note-by-note transcription...
3. Ragas as Spaces for Melodic Motion
The heart of Hindustani music training is learning to render melody freely and spontaneously in various ragas. Ragas are distinctive melodic worlds full of characteristic color, affect, and motion, encompassing many compositions and a wide scope for improvised elaboration; a well-trained musician will have mastered...
4. Melodic Motion in Time
If Iqbal Ahmad Khan was improvising, how could I know what he was going to do? This apparent paradox is rooted in a conflict between two ideas of how a musician moves in time. On one hand, each moment is new: the musician continuously generates new melodic material. On the other hand, each moment...
5. The Musicking Body
Chapters 2, 3, and 4 investigated ways in which the moving hands and the moving voice work together in a fl ow of musicality. The body in this musical state sometimes feels so different than it does when chatting or reading the newspaper that beginners are often noticeably awkward when first learning and look...
6. The Paramparic Body
Chapter 5 focused on ways in which the musicking body (the body that comes alive gesturally and vocally while musicking) serves as a vehicle for melody. But where does this body come from? The origin and development of the flesh-body, though bewilderingly intricate, is straightforwardly...
Appendix A: Planes of the Body
Appendix B: Teaching Lineages of Jitendra Abhisheki and Gajanan Rao Joshi
Appendix C: A Note on Methods
Guide to Transliteration, Glossary of Terms, and List of Names