Gurudev's Drumming Legacy: Music, Theory and Nationalism in the Mrdang aur Tabla Vadanpaddhati of Gurudev Patwardhan, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Gurudev's Drumming Legacy

Music, Theory and Nationalism in the Mrdang aur Tabla Vadanpaddhati of Gurudev Patwardhan, 1st Edition

By James Kippen


350 pages

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Hardback: 9780754654247
pub: 2006-08-28
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The 1903 Mrdang aur Tabla Vadanpaddhati is a revelatory text that has never been translated or analysed. It is a manual for playing the two most important drums of North Indian (Hindustani) music, the pakhavaj (mrdang) and the tabla. Owing to its relative obscurity, it is a source that has never been discussed in the literature on Hindustani music. Its author, Gurudev Patwardhan, was Vice Principal of V.D. Paluskar's first music school in Lahore from its inception in 1901 to 1908. Professor James Kippen provides the first translation of this immensely important text and examines its startling implications for rhythmic and metric theory. It is the earliest work on Indian drumming to contain a notation sufficiently precise to allow definitive reconstruction. The compositions are of considerable musical interest, for they can be readily realized on the tabla or pakhavaj. Kippen sets the work and objectives of the original author in the context of a rich historical, social and political background. By also discussing radical differences in the second edition of 1938, published by Gurudev's nephew, the vocalist Vinayakrao Patwardhan, Kippen illuminates the process by which 'tabla theory' was being created in the early 20th century. Both Patwardhans were enthusiastic supporters of Paluskar's nationalist imperatives, and active participants in his drive to institutionalize music, codify and publish notations of it, and promote a modern, Hindu vision of India wherein its identity could once again be linked to a glorious golden age in distant antiquity.


'As a whole, this book will be of use to historians searching for a musically grounded view on the transformations taking place in the theory, practice, and representation of Hindustani music in the twentieth century. It will enrich the understanding of south Asian music scholars in the emergence of today's common practice on the tabla. It is also a model of modern ethnomusicological scholarship in south Asia, combining careful archival research, close readings of texts, versatility in the language and terminology of relevant treatises, and a toolbox of musical expertise built from practical performance experience and some thirty years engagement with India as a field researcher.' Asian Ethnology

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface. Part 1 Music, Theory and Nationalism in the Mrdang aur Tabla Vadanpaddhati: Introduction; Gurudev, Paluskar and the history and context of the Mrdang aur Tabla Vadanpaddhati; Vinayakrao and the Mrdang-Tabla Vadanpaddhati; The structure, contents and language of the editions; Notation; Hindustani rhythmic theory; Gurudev's rhythmic theory; Vinayakrao's rhythmic theory; The repertoire; Conclusion. Part 2 Translation of the Mrdang aur Tabla Vadanpaddhati (1903) by Gurudev Patwardhan. Part 3 Translation of New Material from Mrdang-Tabla Vadanpaddhati (1938/1982) as edited by Vinayakrao Patwardhan. Appendices; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

James Kippen is Professor at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, Canada.

About the Series

SOAS Studies in Music Series

SOAS Musicology Series is today one of the world’s leading series in the discipline of ethnomusicology. Our core mission is to produce high-quality, ethnographically rich studies of music-making in the world’s diverse musical cultures. We publish monographs and edited volumes that explore musical repertories and performance practice, critical issues in ethnomusicology, sound studies, historical and analytical approaches to music across the globe. We recognize the value of applied, interdisciplinary and collaborative research, and our authors draw on current approaches in musicology and anthropology, psychology, media and gender studies. We welcome monographs that investigate global contemporary, classical and popular musics, the effects of digital mediation and transnational flows.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General