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Williams, Richard David (2024) 'Querying ‘Global’ Music History: Significant Geographies between Goswami Pannalal and Queen Victoria.' Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle. (Forthcoming)

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Global music history projects have become increasingly popular in recent years. Going global has its advantages: it develops conversations between researchers working on disparate regions; it sheds light on larger frameworks that are less evident on smaller scales of analysis; it decentres how we teach music history; and it retraces a global hinterland for music systems that have conventionally been called ‘Western’. At the same time, the global history approach raises challenges for researchers working on the world beyond Europe. In particular, there is the danger of unintentionally reinstating Eurocentrism, either by uncritically exporting research questions based on the European experience to the wider world, or by narrowing our focus onto those musicians and scholars who engaged with European ideas and practices, especially in colonial settings. This work is valuable, but it also comes with risks. This essay considers these problems through a case study: a largely forgotten music scholar, Goswami Pannalal, who travelled and taught across north India in the late nineteenth century. Examining his musicological study in Hindi, the Nād Binod (‘Sonic Delight’, 1896), I consider how far asking ‘global’ questions might shed light on his work, and offer an alternative reading based on a ‘significant geographies’ approach.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: global history, music history, significant geographies, Indian music, colonial India
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Arts > Department of Music
ISSN: 14723808
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2024 07:38

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