Interlocking dimensions in Hindustani music: texts of caitī, kajrī, and jhūlā

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Dokumentart: PhDThesis
Date: 2022-03-08
Language: English
Faculty: 5 Philosophische Fakultät
Department: Asien- und Orientwissenschaften
Advisor: Oberlin, Heike (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2021-08-03
DDC Classifikation: 290 - Other religions
490 - Other languages
780 - Music
890 - Literatures of other languages
950 - History of Asia; Far East
Other Keywords: Indische/Hindustani Musik
Indische Volksmusik
Braj bhasha
Hindi Literatur
Hindi literature
semi-classical music
Indian folk music
Indian/Hindustani music
Braj bhasha
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The PhD dissertation investigates the so-defined ‘intermediate sphere’ of Hindustani music as characterised by a variety of heterogeneous forms and focuses on texts as a privileged ground for observation. The research is based on an interdisciplinary approach drawing from multiple domains within the main Indological field, including literary studies, ethnomusicology, and linguistics. I integrated this outlook with extended participant observation, being myself a student of Hindustani music within the traditional guru-śiṣya-paramparā (master-disciple knowledge transmission) system with proponents of the Banāras gharānā (music school). The dissertation outlines the ‘intermediate’ and ‘semi-classical’ music genres of Hindustani music as a result of constant interaction between complex dimensions: vernacular and Sanskritic tradition, bhakti and courtly literature, art and folk music. Furthermore, special attention has been devoted to the implications of applying the terminology and concepts drawn from Western categories of thoughts to the Indian milieu, informed by multi-layered interlocking contexts. Three among intermediate, ṭhumrī-related forms–namely caitī, kajrī, and jhūlā–have been studied in their origins, idiosyncrasies, and within their performative settings. Song texts featuring different idioms–such as Hindi, Bhojpuri, Braj bhāṣā, Awadhi, and Sādhukkarī bhāṣā—have been translated and analysed from structural, linguistic, and stylistic points of view. Imagery, motifs, intra-textual and contextual references have been examined as enactments of interweaving aspects embracing, among others, literary, social, ritual, and religious meanings. Elements related to bhakti and courtly models have been considered in the influences they exerted on formal features, contents, and performative contexts. The dissertation is completed with reference tools—such as a table of the main characters and key motifs of the genres analysed, a chart of synonymic expressions found in the texts, and a glossary of technical terms. This work aims at shedding light on music forms rather neglected by scholarly attention by suggesting new interpretative and critical perspectives. Musical expressions reveal some fundamental cultural and social dynamics and are paradigmatic of the fluidity of certain categories and conceptualisations in the Indic context.

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