Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

<i>Sikh Śabad kīrtan</i> as a musical construction of memory
by Protopapas, Janice Faye, Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park, 2011, 272; 3478891
Abstract (Summary)

The performance of devotional music in India has been an active, sonic conduit where spiritual identities are shaped and forged, and both history and mythology lived out and remembered daily. For the followers of Sikhism, congregational hymn singing has been the vehicle through which text, melody and ritual act as repositories of memory, elevating memory to a place where historical and social events can be reenacted and memorialized on levels of spiritual significance.

This dissertation investigates the musical process of Śabad kīrtan, Sikh hymn singing, in a Sikh musical service as a powerful vehicle to forge a sense of identification between individual and the group. As an intimate part of Sikh life from birth to death, the repertoire of Śabad kīrtan draws from a rich mosaic of classical and folk genres as well as performance styles, acting as a musical and cognitive archive.

Through a detailed analysis of the Āsā Dī Vār service, Śabad kīrtan is explored as a phenomenological experience where time, place and occasion interact as a meaningful unit through which the congregation creates and recreates themselves, invoking deep memories and emotional experiences. Supported by explanatory tables, diagrams and musical transcriptions, the sonic movements of the service show how the Divine Word as Śabad is not only embodied through the Gurū Granth Sāhib, but also encountered through the human enactment of the service, aurally, viscerally and phenomenologically.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Provine, Robert C.
Commitee: Caughey, John, Haggh-Huglo, Barbara, Qureshi, Regula Burkhardt, Singh, Udjagar Bawa
School: University of Maryland, College Park
Department: Music
School Location: United States -- Maryland
Source: DAI-A 73/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Music, South Asian Studies
Keywords: Ethnomusicology, Gurmat sangit, Memory, Music, Shabad kirtan, Sikhism
Publication Number: 3478891
ISBN: 9781124968469