Music and Religion in South Asia
- Course Code:
- Unit value:
- Year of study:
- Year 2 or Year 3
- Taught in:
- Term 1
Objectives and learning outcomes of the course
At the end of this course, a student should be able to demonstrate…
- A knowledge and understanding of the relationship between music and some of the major religious traditions of South Asia.
- How religious and musical concepts, practices and experiences inform each other.
- An ability to bring evidence and critical thought to bear on the analysis of this relationship.
Two hours Lecture per week
Scope and syllabus
Geographical scope: India and the South Asian region.
Religious traditions: Any of the religious traditions practised in South Asia, especially Hinduism, but also including a selection from Islam (Sufi), Buddhism (Tantric), Judaism, Sikhism, Christianity, and Ādivāsī, Baul etc. traditions.
Topics such as: concepts of sacred sound; the musician as intermediary between human and divine realms; auspiciousness and impurity; gender roles; music for and as ritual; transmission and initiation; music as expression of devotion (bhakti) and power (tantra); music of ascetics and mendicants; sacred narrative, dance and drama; participatory versus presentational forms; and musical articulations of sacred time and space.
Case studies such as: Ādivāsī traditions (Pardhan, Gond, Kota etc), Vedic religion and chant, the Bauls of Bengal, Buddhist caryā dance, temple singing traditions of India and Nepal, Sufi music, classical musicians, the songs of Tyāgarāja in South India, dhrupad in North India etc.
Method of assessment
One 1 000 words essay (worth 10%);one 1 000 words essay (worth 20%);one 3 000 words essay ( worth 60%);one listening exam (worth 10%)