The Modernization of Hindustani Music and the Adaptive Strategies of Hereditary Musicians: The Case of the Tabla Notebooks of Abid Hussain Khan
James Kippen, Visiting Professor from The University of Toronto *NOTE DATE CHANGE*
Friday, May 02, 2008
1659 Schoenberg Music Building
In the late 1920s, the hereditary tabla drummer Abid Hussain Khan (1867-1936) became the first Professor of Tabla at India's premier music school: the Marris College of Music in Lucknow (later renamed Bhatkhande College). He left behind him many pages of notes and notations. Now, with the help of his great-grandson Ilmas Hussain, these faint and decaying pages have been deciphered to reveal a superb drumming repertoire that was almost certainly notated in order to teach Indian rhythmic theory and practice at the college. This presentation reveals what Abid Hussain's notebooks say about the man and his music, and it explores his place within the Reformist tradition of writing theoretical and practical manuals for a music that even today continues to be largely unwritten.
James Kippen has taught at the University of Toronto since 1990, and is currently the Mohindar Brar Sambhi Visiting Professor in Indian Music at UCLA. He studied music as an undergraduate at the University of York, England, and social anthropology and ethnomusicology under John Blacking and John Baily at Queen's University, Belfast. His doctoral research was based in Lucknow, India, was subsequently published as The Tabla of Lucknow: A Cultural Analysis of a Musical Tradition (Cambridge University Press, 1988). He has been awarded three major research grants from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada to pursue investigations into cultural concepts of time in Indian music and society, and the changing theory and practice of rhythm and metre in Hindustani music. Part of this work led to the publication of the book Gurudev's Drumming Legacy (Ashgate 2006). He continues to study and practice both tabla and pakhavaj drums.
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