My book, "Musicking Bodies: Gesture and Voice in Hindustani Music," is an investigation of how the body works to manifest melody. It maps a discursive history of gesture, analyzes the parallel expression of melody in hand and voice, and paints a new picture of how singers physically navigate raga, space, and time in the course of performance. It also investigates the transmission of paramparic bodies (disciplined aesthetic/ethical modes of moving and singing) through face-to-face teaching lineages.
My current ethnographic project brings these intertwined aesthetic and ethical traditions into focus. I'm investigating various traditions of voice production in India, with a special focus on their ethical powers.
I am in the middle of a collaborative project with Srinivas Reddy and Lars Christiansen: a re-examination of Ramamatya's Svara-Mela-Kalanidhi in the context of the decline of Vijayanagara.
Other interests include speech melody, the interface of raga and maqam in the 16th-19th centuries, devotional performance, phenomenologies of listening, birdsong, and theories of tuning and temperament that bridge arithmetic, aesthetics, and politics.
I am particularly interested in music as a ground for integral dialogue between scientific and humanistic disciplines: in Jon Barlow's words, a meta-discipline. I am strongly committed to teaching and scholarship in the liberal arts tradition.
I have studied and performed Hindustani vocal music (Gwalior gayaki) in India for many years. I have recently started practicing oud as well, with Essam Rafea in Damascus and Ziad Al-Ahmedieh in Beirut.
I love teaching. I was inspired to be a teacher and scholar in the first place by my own generous teachers: Jon K. Barlow, Howard Bernstein, Bonnie Wade, Vasudha Dalmia, Richard Crocker, Don Willson, Ben Brinner, Eve Sweetser, Vikas Kashalkar--and of course my parents and older brother.
In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):