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Resonances of the RajIndia in the English Musical Imagination,1897-1947$
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Nalini Ghuman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199314898

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199314898.001.0001

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A Subtle and Exquisite Spirit

A Subtle and Exquisite Spirit

Maud MacCarthy and Indian Music in Britain

(p.11) Chapter 1 A Subtle and Exquisite Spirit
Resonances of the Raj

Nalini Ghuman

Oxford University Press

Prior to the early twentieth century Indian music had remained, other than the object of a few theoretical studies, little-known in Britain. This chapter examines Maud MacCarthy’s role as a pioneer in the story of Indian music in Britain, the reception of her work, and her significance in the early history of comparative musicology (ethnomusicology). Drawing on an extensive, unexplored family collection of materials—including precious century-old ethnomusicological field notes and transcriptions from India, and her own unofficial ‘memoir’ which opens a unique window onto Indian-British musical encounters—this chapter brings into focus for the first time how MacCarthy travelled independently to India, absorbed the music through immersion and practice, and returned to take on a significant (unofficial) role at the centre of the English musical establishment. This story challenges conventional images of the Indo-British colonial encounter, of women in twentieth-century music, and of the history of British music itself.

Keywords:   Indian music, Maud MacCarthy, reception, ethnomusicology, field notes, memoir, Indian-British musical encounters, Indo-British colonial encounter, British music, Women in twentieth-century music

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