Resonances of the Raj: India in the English Musical Imagination,1897-1947

Resonances of the Raj: India in the English Musical Imagination,1897-1947

by Nalini Ghuman


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During the century of British rule of the Indian subcontinent known as the British Raj, the rulers felt the significant influence of their exotic subjects. Resonances of the Raj examines the ramifications of the intertwined and overlapping histories of Britain and India on English music in the last fifty years of the colonial encounter, and traces the effects of the Raj on the English musical imagination. Conventional narratives depict a one-way influence of Britain on India, with the 'discovery' of Indian classical music occurring only in the post-colonial era. Drawing on new archival sources and approaches in cultural studies, author Nalini Ghuman shows that on the contrary, England was both deeply aware of and heavily influenced by India musically during the Indian-British colonial encounter.

Case studies of representative figures, including composers Edward Elgar and Gustav Holst, and Maud MacCarthy, an ethnomusicologist and performer of the era, integrate music directly into the cultural history of the British Raj. Ghuman thus reveals unexpected minglings of peoples, musics and ideas that raise questions about 'Englishness', the nature of Empire, and the fixedness of identity. Richly illustrated with analytical music examples and archival photographs and documents, many of which appear here in print for the first time, Resonances of the Raj brings fresh hearings to both familiar and little-known musics of the time, and reveals a rich and complex history of cross-cultural musical imaginings which leads to a reappraisal of the accepted historiographies of both British musical culture and of Indo-Western fusion.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199314898
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 06/12/2014
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Nalini Ghuman is Associate Professor of Music and affiliated Asian studies faculty at Mills College where she teaches courses on women in music, orientalism, and music of the Indian subcontinent. She publishes on early twentieth-century British music and its relation to nationalism and imperialism, and has presented programmes for BBC Radio 3.

Table of Contents

Note on Companion Website
Note on Spelling and Pronunciation
List of Figures
Permissions and Credits

1 A Subtle and Exquisite Spirit: Maud MacCarthy and Indian Music in Britain
2 Elephants and Mughals, Contraltos and G-Strings: How Elgar got his Englishness
3 From India to the Planet Mars: Gustav Holst
4 Songs that Moved the World: Amy Woodforde-Finden's Four Indian Love Lyrics
5 Persian Composer-Pianist Baffles: Kaikhosru Sorabji
6 Modes, Mantras, and Gandharvas: John Foulds' Passage to India

Selected Bibliography

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