We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

Gesture in Karnatak Music: Pedagogy and Musical Structure in South India

PEARSON, LARA,ANN (2016) Gesture in Karnatak Music: Pedagogy and Musical Structure in South India. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF - Accepted Version


This thesis presents an examination of gesture in Karnatak music, the art music of South India. The topic is approached from two perspectives; the first considers Karnatak music structure from a gestural perspective, looking both at the music itself and at the gestures that create it, while the second enquires into the role played by physical gesture in vocal pedagogy. The broader aims of the thesis are to provide insight into the musical structure of the Karnatak style, and to contribute to wider discourses on connections between music and movement. An interdisciplinary approach to the research is taken, drawing on theories and methods from the fields of ethnomusicology, embodied music cognition, and gesture studies.

The first part of the thesis opens with a discussion of differences between practical and theoretical conceptions of the Karnatak style. I argue for the significance in practice of svara-gamaka units and longer motifs formed of chains of such units, and also consider the gestural qualities of certain motifs and their contribution to bhāva (mood). Subsequently, I present a joint musical and motoric analysis of a section of Karnatak violin performance, seeking to elucidate the dynamic processes that form the style. The second part of the thesis enquires into the role played by hand gestures produced by teachers and students in vocal lessons, looking at what is indexed by the gestures and how such indexing contributes to the pedagogic process. This part of the thesis also considers how gestures contribute to the formation and maintenance of common ground between teacher and student. The final chapter brings the two strands of this thesis together to discuss the connections that exist between musical and physical gesture in Karnatak music.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Karnatak; South Indian; Music; Carnatic; Gesture; Pedagogy; Violin; Music and Movement;
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Music, Department of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:05 Oct 2016 14:10

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter