Overview for Studying India's Musicians: Four Decades of Selected Articles
The question of how exceptional artists emerge, sometimes as an efflorescence in a particular period of time, is what animates this collection of essays about musicians in North India. The point of these articles is not, however, about the lives of exceptional musicians per se, but the communities and families from which they emerge and the social and cultural systems that provide their foundation. Until very recently, professional musicians were preponderantly members of hereditary families and castes of musicians: this has been true for musicians practicing raga-based Hindustani music as well professional performers in the countryside.
This collection also includes historical studies starting after the mid-nineteenth century. Focusing on the emergence of stylistic schools emerging out of core extended families of territorially based hereditary communities known as gharanas, these essays provide a way to understand how large numbers of professional musician families were able to produce the core of most of the truly outstanding musicians of the twentieth century. Importantly, it was from the ranks of ordinary musicians, mostly families of sarangi and table accompanists, that the majority of great vocalists and instrumentalists arose.
And even the significant exceptions to this process-those who were not hereditary musicians or whose background was not located in the families of accompanists-learned their art as members of hereditary families or from members of hereditary families of musicians.
This collection then is also a celebration of the genius of Indian music and the hereditary families that created it.
Daniel M. Neuman (Author)
Daniel M. Neuman The Life of Music in North India and other works, is currently Professor of Ethnomusicology and the M.B. Sambhi Chair of Indian Music at the university of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where he has also served as Dean of the School of Arts and Architecture and later as Executive vice-Chancellor and Provost of the university.