Ethnomusicologists and Indian musicologists have overwhelmingly studied Hindustani music as classical music, focusing on khyal, dhrupad, and instrumental solo, and its transmission in lineages. In my research, rather than following genre, I followed people, a ground-up method that equates to basic principles of practice theory. Focusing on the extended family of the Rampur-Sahaswan gharana, known for khyal, I looked for musicians regardless of the kind of music they were doing. This brought numerous “hidden musicians” (Finnegan 1989) and genres into view as an integral part of a “classical” lineage: singers of ghazal, qawwali, fusion, or commercial music. The greatest musicians of the past were in fact not “classical” ones, but versatile or chaumukhi artistes who sang “all genres.” My approach is also historical and political-economic, focusing on the lives and livelihoods of musicians and mobility. This enables me to map Hindustani music not just in the famous centers where classical music flourishes today, but in smaller cities and towns. Inspired in particular by Erik Wolf's (1982) history of capitalism, which revealed cultures and societies as interrelated and unbounded, I explore the shifts in and connections of centers and peripheries of Hindustani music—for example, the key role played by semi-classical and light genres in sustaining classical music. I critique genre as a frame for research, showing it as contributing to an ongoing process of classicizing Hindustani music. I show Hindustani music, rather, to be a sprawling, unbounded, but organically interconnected phenomenon created by people and their navigation of life's opportunities, resources, and structures.

You do not currently have access to this content.