cultural musicology

Tonal structure in Indian music 1

An x-ray of two raga-s: Darbari Kanada and Jaunpuri Colonial musicology and its language The colonial heritage of musicological thinking starts from language. English became the dominant world language, American its neocolonial pendant. The choice of language inevitably brings along a mindset that derives from the culture to which that language belongs. The English musicological vocabulary is both inadequate and confusing when speaking of other musics. Speaking of Indian music for instance, there simply is no word in English for raga. On the other hand the concepts of [...]

Tonal structure in Indian music 12023-02-15T09:13:16+02:00

Improvisation versus Reproduction

Abstract India has been particularly resistant to the infiltration of Western culture. Conversion to Christianity has been quite ineffective, and many other Western ideas, values and institutions have only been appropriated to a limited extent. Music is no exception and over the past centuries a controversy has arisen about the superiority of Indian versus Western music. Indian musicians and musicologists have championed improvised music as part of a living oral tradition, whereas Western music has been derided as a dead tradition of replicating written scores. This discourse may be [...]

Improvisation versus Reproduction2021-12-26T10:07:05+02:00

Chalukya music sculpture

The Badami cave temples are a complex of four Hindu, a Jain and possibly Buddhist cave temples located in Badami, a town in northern part of Karnataka. The caves are considered an example of Indian rock-cut architecture, especially Badami Chalukya architecture, which dates from the 6th century. Badami was previously known as Vataapi Badami, the capital of the early Chalukya dynasty, which ruled much of Karnataka from the 6th to the 8th century. Badami is situated on the west bank of a man made lake ringed by an earthen [...]

Chalukya music sculpture2020-06-07T20:27:43+02:00

Musical instruments in Mysur temple sculpture

In 2006 we visited some towns in the southern part of Karnataka, near the city of Mysuru (Mysore). The pictures presented here show a sample of musical instruments mostly from the 12th century. We come across two types of drums, barrel shaped and hourglass shaped. The latter could well be the melodic drum we know today as the iddaka or eddaka. The flute we see‚ÄĒoften in the hands of KŠĻõŠĻ£ŠĻáa‚ÄĒis a rather thick transverse flute. And then there are the vńęŠĻáńĀ-s, typically stick zithers with or without frets. They [...]

Musical instruments in Mysur temple sculpture2018-04-04T13:15:14+02:00

Gandhara in Darbari Kanada, the mother of all shrutis?

Post created 26 Feb 2015, last updated 24 January 2017. On my page there is a pdf of this post, but it is not updated as often as this web page. Possibly the most famous of all shrutis of Hindustani classical music is the komal gandhara (ga, minor third [1]) of Darbari. It is often said to be ati-komal (extra flat), which would supposedly mean it is lower than an also supposedly 'normal' komal ga (Levy 1982: 109 cites Vilayat Khan, see also Parrikar 2000; my teacher Dilip Chandra Vedi considered this to be common knowledge, although there are [...]

Gandhara in Darbari Kanada, the mother of all shrutis?2020-06-07T20:29:12+02:00


On April first 2014 I retired, no fooling. My colleagues and friends had prepared an amazing farewell party on the 20th of March, and I later wrote to them: Beste collega's, lieve vrienden en vriendinnen Veel van jullie waren op mijn afscheidsfeestje en hebben daar actief en/of passief aan deelgenomen. Middels dit schrijven wil ik jullie hartelijk danken voor die prachtige avond en de mooie jaren die ik heb beleefd aan de UvA. De samenwerking met collega's en de gedachtewisselingen met studenten hebben tot grote voldoening en vaak ook tot onverbloemd [...]


Conference on Cultural Musicology, January 24-25, 2014

FACULTY OF HUMANITIES DEPARTMENT OF MUSICOLOGY International Conference on Cultural Musicology 24-25 January 2014 University of Amsterdam Nieuwe doelenstraat 16 1012 CP Amsterdam On January 24-25, 2014 the musicology department of Amsterdam University organised an international conference about cultural musicology on the occasion of the retirement of Prof. Wim van der Meer. As a cultural anthropologist and a musicologist Wim van der Meer has contributed significantly to the field of cultural musicology. For the last thirteen years he and Prof. Rokus de Groot were at the very core of the [...]

Conference on Cultural Musicology, January 24-25, 20142018-02-25T09:02:24+02:00

The art of music

Before reading this post you may want to orient yourself: Music and Art in the Urban Dictionary. Notice there are 150+ contributions on music, and only 50+ on art. Also, the number of likes and dislikes on music runs into many thousands, whereas art gets a few hundreds. Music From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Music is an art form whose medium is sound. Common elements of music are pitch (which governs melody and harmony), rhythm (and its associated concepts tempo, meter, and articulation), dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. [...]

The art of music2018-02-25T09:07:25+02:00

On classifying music

Why do people want to classify anything at all and in particular music? On the one hand because classifying is the human need to understand and control. On the other because it's practical. For instance, if you have lots of music in a shop, in your record, cassette, cd or digital library, classification can help you find something you're looking for more quickly. Unless you have put the music in the wrong bin, then you'll never find it again. That's the downside of classifying. In a way, this relates directly [...]

On classifying music2018-02-25T22:14:49+02:00

Muziek en tijd in India

Muziek en tijd in India Het lijken twee tegenovergestelde benaderingen tot tijd in muziek; de vrije raga-alap en het strakke tala. Misschien is die tegenstelling en die reikwijdte typerend voor de manier waarop tijd in India wordt beleefd. Enerzijds de bijzonder strikte, bijna rituele benadering, en anderzijds de totaal open conceptie van tijd als een diffuus continu√ľm. ¬© Artikel verschenen in Mens en Melodie #5 2009 p. 7-9 Inleiding Muziek is een uitvoerende en dus een tijdgebonden kunst. We kunnen muziek loskoppelen van de tijd door haar op te schrijven, [...]

Muziek en tijd in India2018-04-11T07:07:33+02:00
Go to Top