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Music in South India: The Karnatak Concert Tradition and Beyond

Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture

T. Viswanathan and Matthew Harp Allen

Publication Date - December 2003

ISBN: 9780195145915

176 pages
Book with CD/DVD
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

In Stock


Music in South India is one of several case-study volumes that can be used along with Thinking Musically, the core book in the Global Music Series. Thinking Musically incorporates music from many diverse cultures and establishes the framework for exploring the practice of music around the world. It sets the stage for an array of case-study volumes, each of which focuses on a single area of the world. Each case study uses the contemporary musical situation as a point of departure, covering historical information and traditions as they relate to the present. Visit www.oup.com/us/globalmusic for a list of case studies in the Global Music Series. The website also includes instructional materials to accompany each study.
Music in South India provides a vivid and focused introduction to the musical landscape of South India, discussing historical and contemporary performance, cultural history and geography, and the social organization of performance traditions. The book centers on Karnatak concert music, a unique performance practice that juxtaposes gorgeous musical compositions with many different types of improvisation. T. Viswanathan and Matthew Harp Allen first compare two types of song--bhajan, a structurally simple devotional genre, and kriti, the primary concert genre--and also analyze raga and tala, the basic elements underlying Karnatak music. They go on to examine the evolution of Karnatak music during the twentieth century, paying special attention to gender and caste and illuminating these issues through case studies and historical recordings (on the accompanying CD) of a small group of enormously influential musicians. In the final chapter, the authors move beyond Karnatak music to address other aspects of South India's rich musical environment, such as its thriving popular music scene (based on cinema music); regional traditions ranging from the sacred to the secular, many of which integrate elements from dance and drama; and contemporary composition.
Featuring numerous listening activities, Music in South India is packaged with an 80-minute CD containing examples of the music discussed. The CD includes a full, uncut concert recording of a kriti performance, which shows how Karnatak musicians weave together composed and improvised elements to create extended performances.

Table of Contents

    CD Track List
    1. Song in South India
    Bhajan (Devotional Song)
    Songs and Singing
    Meaning of the Text: Devotion, Love, and Praise
    Celebrating Tyagaraja in the United States and in South India
    Languages of the Region
    Evolution of Kriti
    Text and Context--a Continuum of Performance from Devotion to Virtuosity
    Music, Language, and Politics
    The Tamil Music Movement
    Muttuttandavar (Seventeenth Century)
    The Text of "I Trusted You/Unnai Nambinen" (CD track 3)
    The Musical Setting of "I Trusted You/Unnai Nambinen" (CD track 3)
    The Group's Progress Through the Kriti
    The Ensemble
    The Instruments: Violin (Chordophone); Mridarigam (Membranophone); Tambura (Chordophone) and Its Sruti, Drone, Function
    2. Key Concepts in Karnatak Music
    Tala: Meter and Rhythm in Karnatak Music
    The Five "Families" of Rhythm and Drummers' Thinking
    Hand Gestures and Vocalized Syllable Sequences for Commonly Used Td=alas
    Tala Exercises in Three Speeds
    Raga: Melody in Karnatak Music
    Note (Svara) and Solfege Syllable Names: Kiravd=ani and Kapi Ragas: Raga as a "Vast Ocean"
    Ornamentation (Gamaka)
    Phrase (Sañcara or Prayoga): Phrases in Kiravani and Kapi Ragas
    Functional Notes--Svaras Holding Particular Functions
    Integrated Melodic-Rhythmic Training
    3. The Karnatak Concert Today
    Presentation and Discussion of the "Main Piece" of a Concert
    The Setting
    Tuning Up
    Beginning: Kriti as an Orally Transmitted Composed Case of a Performance
    Brief Guide to the Performance
    Composition and Improvisation: Fixity and Fluidity
    Kiravani Raga Alapana: Aesthetics and Dynamics of Accompaniment
    Kriti: The Core Component: The Pallavi; The Anupallavi and Pallavi reprise; The Caranam and Pallavi Reprise
    Svara Kalpana: Different Ways to Improvise: A Comparison of Niraval and Svara Kalpana
    Tani Avarttanam--Drum Solo
    4. Contextualizing South Indian Performance, Socially and Historically
    Women and Music: The Devadasi and Her Community
    Women's Public Performance Circa 1900
    Loss and Recovery of a Woman's Work
    "Now We Women Have a Platform to Commence Singing"--Bangalore Nagarathnammal and the Tyagaraja Festival
    Bangalore Nagarathnammal as a Performer: Sringara Bhakti: Being in Love with God; Listening through the Static: The Rise of Audio Recording
    Men and Music: From Temple and Court to Public and State Patronage
    Men's Performance in Precolonial South India
    The Hereditary Male Temple Service Musician
    The "Emperor of Nagasvaram": T.N. Rajarattinam Pillai: "The Audience Would Not Be Satisfied If He Did Not Play This Raga"; Alapana in Todi Raga
    A New World of Performance: Concert Halls, Media, and Audiences in the Urban Environment
    The Development of Radio
    The Recording Industry: Commodification and Resistance
    "The Effect of the Performance Should Be Such As to Keep the Listeners Spell-Bound:" Men Scripting and Singing Women's Inner Feelings
    A Hereditary Music Family
    A Dual Musical Enculturation and Education
    "I Am Going to Snub These Male Chauvinists"
    Music and Gender Today
    Summary: An Ancient and Modern Tradition of Musical-Social Behavior
    5. Regional and Modern Traditions: Contemporary Music Making in South India and Beyond
    Music in Kerala
    Idakka, a Pressure Drum from Kerala
    Kathakali Dance Drama: Character Types, Costume, and Makeup; Changes in the Twentieth Century
    The Kathakali Music Ensemble
    Kathakali Songs: Slokam and Padam
    Performance of Padam from Nala Caritam
    Music of the Cinema in South India
    The "Company Drama" and the Silent Cinema
    Early Sound Films: The "Mythological"
    The "Social"
    The Playback Singer
    The Cinema and Karnatak Music: A Parting of Ways
    "When I Say Come/Ba Ennalu"
    Cross-Cultural Composition and Collaboration
    "Can There Be Release/Moksamu Galada?"
    Tatva, a Regional Performance Tradition in Karnataka State
    The Deccan Plateau: Meeting of North and South India
    The Kannada Tatva Composer Sharif Saheb
    Hindu-Muslim Relations in Karnataka State
    Katha Performers of the Kinnari Jogi Community
    "Why Do You Worry/Yake Cinti?"
    A Circle Completed

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