This chapter describes Muharram Ali's observations of drumming and music traditions linked to the Shah Jamal shrine in Lahore, Pakistan. Shah Jamal was a Sufi who lived in the time of Shah Jahan in the seventeenth century. The mound where his shrine is located is called Damdamah, and Shah Jamal's durbar rose seven stories above it. Across stood a queen's palace and the royal garden and pool. Ali reflects on the relationship between verbal and manual articulations of drum patterns; the emotional subtleties and speechlike qualities created through manipulations of tempo and intonation; and the spiritual and musical hierarchies. Lesser musicians are mere imitators. Qualified musicians must transcend mere replication to produce an appropriate variation or response—and yet they must never violate music's truth by deviating from the ground pattern.
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