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About the Book

During the century of British rule on the Indian subcontinent known as the British Raj, the rulers felt the significant influence of their exotic subjects. Historians have extensively explored the Indian constituent of Englishness in the literature, painting, and architecture of this period. Yet, music, a central aspect of British culture, has rarely been discussed in this context, even though it was in no way impervious to colonial influences, and the musicians of the time were in fact deeply steeped in this distant musical culture. In Resonances of the Raj: India in the English Musical Imagination, 1897-1947, Nalini Ghuman fills this gap in current scholarship, examining the musical ramifications of the unique relationship of the British to India during the last fifty years of the Indo-British encounter, and tracing the effects of the Raj on the English musical imagination. Through a series of case-studies focusing on both concert and popular works, Ghuman reintegrates music into the cultural history of the British Raj, revealing unexpected minglings of peoples, musics, and ideas that raise questions about ‘Englishness’, about the nature of Empire, and about the fixedness of identity. Drawing on extensive archival research, Resonances of the Raj brings fresh perspectives to both familiar and little-known musics of the time, and will be of interest to a range of scholars and students including musicologists, historians, and cultural studies specialists, as well as general readers interested in twentieth-century British music, and the British Empire.

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