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The Voice in the DrumMusic, Language, and Emotion in Islamicate South Asia$
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Richard K. Wolf

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038587

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038587.001.0001

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Beyond the Mātra

Beyond the Mātra

(p.81) Chapter 4 Beyond the Mātra
The Voice in the Drum

Richard K. Wolf

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the idea of classicism being connected with the counting of homogeneous time units, or mātras, and of local music being oriented to an irregular sequence of accents marked by syllables and claps. It considers the ways in which drum patterns might be linked to texts and accented syllables, as well as the importance of reciting drum syllables not only in the learning process but also in performances. Four principles for organizing drum patterns that do not depend on cycles with a fixed number of pulses are discussed: the number of stressed beats, repeating motives, tone melody, and verbal formulas. The chapter also presents four case studies: Kota and Aruntiyar (Cakkiliyar) drumming in Tamil Nadu; Dalit drumming in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh; Muhājir drumming in Hyderabad, Sindh, by men of Agra heritage; and Mamraj's dhol-tāshā group, associated with the Nizamuddin shrine in Delhi.

Keywords:   classicism, mātras, syllables, drum patterns, text, beat, tone melody, drumming, dhol-tāshā group

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