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Title: Analysing ṭhumrī
Author: Alaghband-Zadeh, Chloë
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis is a music-analytical study of the North Indian semi-classical vocal genre ṭhumrī. I am interested in the musical style of ṭhumrī, in its social environment and in how the two are related. In order to address this relationship, I advocate a multifaceted, interdisciplinary approach to music analysis, incorporating theoretical concepts from linguistics, semiotics and gender studies. Early in the thesis, I analyse the structural building blocks of ṭhumrī, drawing attention to parallels with language and other musical traditions. I then apply theories of semiotics to ṭhumrī in order to tackle age-old questions about how and why music comes to be meaningful for the people who perform and listen to it. This lays the foundations for the remaining chapters of my thesis, in which I look at how ṭhumrī participates in broader social processes. I argue that singers' musical decisions form part of social strategies, through which singers attempt to improve their own status and negotiate a better position for ṭhumrī within North Indian classical music. Finally I consider ṭhumrī's gendered associations and the role musical performance plays in the social construction of gender. Overall this study is an exercise in doing analysis 'in context': I suggest that the musical style of ṭhumrī best makes sense when considered in relation to issues of transmission, prestige, respectability, connoisseurship, spirituality and gender. Ultimately I argue that the musical features of ṭhumrī are not merely abstract phenomena, but are thoroughly embedded in particular historical, social and cultural circumstances.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral