Matthew Rahaim


Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

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.

Research interests

  • phenomenology
  • voice
  • indian music
  • virtue ethics
  • prosody
  • raga
  • levinas

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Research Output

Otherwise than participation: Unity and alterity in musical encounters

Rahaim, M., Jan 1 2017, Music and Empathy. Taylor and Francis, p. 175-193 19 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations

Imagery, melody and gesture in cross-cultural perspective

Fatone, G. A., Clayton, M., Leante, L. & Rahaim, M., Apr 29 2016, New Perspectives on Music and Gesture. Taylor and Francis Inc., p. 203-220 18 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Musicking bodies: Gesture and voice in hindustani music

Rahaim, M., Dec 1 2012, Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press. 182 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBook

  • 31 Scopus citations

    Beethoven as Khyaliya, Nagarjuna as Musicologist: Are Western and Indian Compositions Comparable?

    Rahaim, M., 2011, Punyaswar. Pune: Lalit Kala Kendra

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Fellowships, Honors, and Prizes

    Institute for Advanced Study Faculty Fellows, Fall 2013

    Elliott, Carl (Recipient), Castellanos, Bianet (Recipient), Rahaim, Matthew (Recipient) & Graff, Richard J (Recipient), Sep 1 2013

    Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

    Talle Faculty Research Award, 2019-2020

    Yahav, Amit S (Recipient), Lovejoy, Alice O (Recipient), Rahaim, Matthew (Recipient), Ma, Ning (Recipient), Syed, Moin (Recipient), Viestenz, William R (Recipient) & Grace, Kathryn L (Recipient), 2019

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)