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Clayton, Martin (1993) The rhythmic organisation of North Indian classical music: Tal, lay and laykari. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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North Indian (Hindustani) classical music is remarkable for both the sophistication and the diversity of its rhythmic organisation. Rhythm and metre are controlled by a number of concepts which, although developed over the course of many centuries, have acquired new meaning as a result of radical changes in performance practice over the last century. This work examines the rhythmic organisation of North Indian music on all levels- from large scale performance scheme, to metric structure, to the generation and variation of surface rhythm patterns. It does so by synthesising two research methodologies- combining the study of indigenous concepts and hence of the music's wider cultural context, with objective and empirical analytical techniques- in order to build up a comprehensive and culturally appropriate model of rhythmic organisation. Section I looks at various aspects of rhythmic organisation, proposing a flexible theoretical model of metric structure, and demonstrating its relevance with sudies of key rhythmic parameters. Chapter 1 puts forward the principal arguments for this theoretical model. The next four chapters cover the following topics in turn- tal (metric structure), lay (tempo, rhythmic density), performance practice and surface rhythm (including composition structure, and development techniques), and finally laykari (rhythmic variation). Section II illustrates the findings of Section I, by means of a case study. This study shows how two instrumental forms- the madhya lay gat and vilambit gat as performed in the repertoire of sitarist Deepak Choudhury- may be characterised in terms of rhythmic parameters. This characterisation is used to inform a discussion of the status of these gats as independent genres, and of their relationship with analogous vocal forms. The research generates a wide range of insights into North Indian classical music, demonstrating the application of Section I's theoretical model, and of the the analytical approach developed in the thesis as a whole.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:10

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