Hindi Poetry in a Musical Genre

Thumri Lyrics

By Lalita du Perron

© 2006 – Routledge

234 pages | 8 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415759441
pub: 2014-05-19
US Dollars$54.95
Hardback: 9780415394468
pub: 2007-02-13
US Dollars$178.00

About the Book

Indian classical music has long been fascinating to Western audiences, most prominently since the Beatles' sessions with Ravi Shankar in the 1960s. This fascination with the musical genre still prevails in the twenty-first century.

Hindi Poetry in a Musical Genre examines Thumri Lyrics, a major genre of Hindustani music, from a primarily linguistic perspective. On a cultural level, it discusses the interface between devotional and secular poetry. Furthermore, it explains the impact of social and political change on the musical life on North India.

Well-written and thoroughly researched, this book is a valuable contribution to the field of South Asian studies. It will be interesting to academics across the discipline, including linguistics, politics, sociology, cultural and gender studies.


"I approached this study with high expectations and am glad to say that my anticipations were not disappointed… The main corpus of texts makes this book eminently useful not only for academics but also for dancers and singers, for whom such wonderful material is not easily available. A glossary, useful notes, a bibliography and a decent index complete this fine book." Nilima Devi, Centre for Indian Classical Dance, Leicester; South Asia Research Vol. 28:3 (November 2008)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. "I Get No Peace": The Female Voice in Thumri 3. Pining & Pranking: The Themes of Thumri 4. Courtesans & Patrons: The Context of Thumri 5. "My Little Bed is Empty": The Language of Thumri 6. Rhyme & Metre: The Form of Thumri 7. Genre, Authenticity, and Tradition 8. Conclusion. Main Corpus

About the Author

Lalita du Perron received her PhD from SOAS, University of London. She is currently a Research Fellow at the Department of Music, SOAS, and she specialises in music and poetry of the classics of Hindustani music 1903-75.

About the Series

Royal Asiatic Society Books

The Royal Asiatic Society was founded in 1823 ‘for the investigation of subjects connected with, and for the encouragement of science, literature and the arts in relation to, Asia’. Informed by these goals, the policy of the Society’s Editorial Board is to make available in appropriate formats the results of original research in the humanities and social sciences having to do with Asia, defined in the broadest geographical and cultural sense and up to the present day.

Editorial Board:
Professor Francis Robinson, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK (Chair); Professor Tim Barrett, SOAS, University of London, UK; Dr Evrim Binbaş, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK; Professor Anna Contadini, SOAS, University of London, UK; Professor Michael Feener, National University of Singapore; Dr Gordon Johnson, University of Cambridge, UK; Professor David Morgan, University of Wisconsin–Madison, US; Dr. BMC Brend; Dr. R. Llewellyn Jones MBE

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / Ethnic
RELIGION / Hinduism / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General