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Hindu Musical Traditions – A Cultural Immersion

Course Content:

While Indian music traditions are diverse, the core of the various traditions stands out as unique with their emphasis on ‘the raga’ and ‘the tala’ and a core of commonality that is rooted in spirituality.  In this course, our goal is to provide a nuanced understanding of ragas, talas, and compositional forms in Karnatic and Hindustani music traditions.

Course Learning Objectives:

The student should be able to:

  1. Obtain a basic understanding of the framework of Ragas and the Indian melodic framework and Talas and the cyclical nature of time
  2. Discuss the Melakarta Raga System of Karnatic Music and the That System of Hindustani music.
  3. Experientially understand the feel of ragas in Hindustani and Karnatic music.
  4. Experientially understand the feel of talas in Hindustani and Karnatic music
  5. Clearly distinguish between the Karnatic, Khyal, Dhrupad traditions.
  6. Clearly articulate the similarities and differences between the Kriti, the Khyal, and the Dhrupad
  7. Obtain a brief understanding of the Western world’s study and outlook on Indian music.
  8. Discuss issues facing contemporary Indian music

There will be a minimum of 1 contact hour every week. The class is structured in a way that promotes discussion and debate based on listening experiences and reading material. While the content being discussed in each class will be concluded within 60 minutes, the discussion time will be free format and can continue for an additional 30 minutes maximum. During the course, students will be required to complete one examination and submit one short essay.

Prerequisites: Enrollment into a Program of study and must have completed TAT 3102 – Hindu Musical Traditions – A Historical Perspective

Faculty / Instructor: Dr. Kanniks Kannikeswaran

Required / Elective: Elective

Start Date: 6th April 2021

End Date: 15th June 2021

Time: 08:00 pm est – 09:30 pm est

Day: Tuesday

Quarter Offered: Spring 2021

Hindu Musical Traditions – A Historical Perspective

Course Content:

While Indian music traditions are diverse, the core of the various traditions stand out as unique with their emphasis on ‘the raga’ and ‘the tala’ and a core of commonality that is rooted in spirituality with a history of over two millennia.  Our goals are:

  1. To provide a guided overview of the history and evolution of Indian music
  2. To provide an overview of the history of composers, sages, saints, emperors and luminaries who have contributed to the evolution of music.

Course Learning Objectives:

After completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  1. Discuss names and works of musicologists and musical luminaries
  2. Comprehend the contribution of ancient treatises (in Sanskrit and Tamil) such as the Natya Sastra of Bharata, the Silappathikaram of Illango Adigal and the Sangita Ratnakara of Sarangdev, the Chaturdandi Prakasika of Venkatamakhi and modern works such as the Sangita Sampradaya Pradarsini of Subbarama Dikshitar and the work of Pandit Bhatkhande.
  3. Obtain a brief understanding of the Western world’s study and outlook on Indian music.
  4. Discuss the contribution of the Bhakti movement and the Hindu Saints of Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra and Bengal  to Indian Art Music.
  5. Discuss the contribution of Vaggeyakaras and the sacred geography of India to Art music.
  6. Discucss the impact of Islamic and Persian traditions on Indian music
  7. Discuss the contribution of the Devadasi tradition to Indian Art
  8. Discuss issues facing contemporary Indian music

Class Structure

There will be a minimum of 1 contact hour every week. The class is structured in a way that promotes discussion and debate based on listening experiences and reading material. While the content being discussed in each class will be concluded within 60 minutes, the discussion time will be free format and can continue for an additional 30 minutes maximum. During the course, students will be required to submit two short essays. They need not be academic quality papers – but should be based on students’ self-reflection on what they have learned and assimilated so far.

Prerequisites: Enrollment into a Program of study

Faculty / Instructor: Dr. Kanniks Kannikeswaran

Required / Elective: Elective

Start Date: 12th January 2021

End Date: 23rd March 2021

Time: 08:00 pm EST – 09:30 pm EST

Day:  Every Tuesday

Quarter Offered: Winter 2021

Hindu Temples and Traditions

Course content:

Our goals are:

  1. To provide an overview of the various temple architectural styles across India.
  2. To provide an introduction to the history of temple building, patronage across the ages
  3. To provide an introduction to sthala-puranas and related local traditions
  4. Study temple clusters and the sacred geography of India
  5. Introduce basic vocabulary related to temple culture
  6. Introduction to the influence of Hindu Temple culture on the far East.
  7. A perspective on the Temple culture in the modern Hindu diaspora. 

After completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  1. Discern the antiquity  and of Indian temple traditions
  2. Reflect on the significance of Hindu temples for Hindu life
  3. Acquire a simple vocabulary of terms related to Hindu temples
  4. Recognize basic elements of temple architecture
  5. Appreciate the Hindu calendar as it relates to temples
  6. Place the lives of Kings, Yogis and Musicians in the context of Hindu temple traditions
  7. Develop an appreciation for temple related literature 

Curriculum Overview:

This course will provide a cultural immersion into the world of Hindu Temples with a set of reading and guided research assignments. The overview course will perform the ambitious task of integrating various piceces of history related to temples covering the diverse sacred geography of India. It will strive to emphasize commonalities across diverse regions.

Course Description

Module 1 Overview of Hindu Temples Topics:

  1. A geographical overview of temples and traditions across India
  2. A historical overview of the temples of India
  3. Diaspora temples

Module 2 Hindu Temple Architecture and History Topics:

  1. The Nagara Style of Temples
  2. The Dravida Temple Architecture
  3. The Vesara style of temples
  4. Temples of the Western Ghats
  5. Evolution of Temple Architecture
  6. The Pallava, Chola, Pandya, Hoysala and Vijayanagar Contribution to temples
  7. The Kalinga, Rashtrakoota, Chandela contribution to temples
  8. The Bhakti movement in Tamilnadu
  9. The Bhakti movement of the 2nd millennium.

Module 3: Hindu Temple Traditions Topics:

  1. Temples and references in Puranas
  2. Sthala Puranas or Local Traditions
  3. Temple Clusters – Abodes of Shiva
  4. Temple Clusters – Abodes of Vishnu
  5. Temple Clusters – Shakti Pitham
  6. Temple Clusters – Other
  7. Festival Traditions – The Bhrahmotsavam
  8. Worship Traditions – Agamas
  9. Temples and Music
  10. Temples and Dance – The Devadasi Tradition
  11. Current State of Temple Worship

Area of Study: Texts and Traditions

Prerequisites: None

Faculty/InstructorDr. Kanniks Kannikeswaran

Start Date: October 12, 2021

End Date: December 21, 2021

Day: Every Tuesday

Time: 08:00 pm EST – 9:30 pm EST

Quarter Offered:  Fall 2021

Indian and Western Music Traditions – A Comparative Study

Course content:

While Hindu music traditions are diverse, the core of the various traditions originating in India stands out as unique with their emphasis on ‘the raga’ and ‘the tala’ and a core of commonality that is rooted in spirituality.  Our goals are:

  1. To provide an overview of the various Art and Folk music traditions and the core of commonality across traditions (especially between the Hindustani and Karnatic traditions)
  2. To provide a nuanced understanding of the vocabulary used in Karnatic and Hindustani music traditions
  3. To provide a clear contrast between Indian and Western Musical Traditions.

Course Learning Objectives:

After completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  1. Discover the antiquity and spiritual basis of Indian music traditions;
  2. Articulate the differences between Indian and Western musical traditions;
  3. Obtain a clear understanding of the core of commonality across various Indian music traditions and their place in the Hindu way of life;
  4. Distinguish the commonalities and differences between Hindustani and Karnatic music;
  5. Discuss terminologies used in Karnatic and Hindustani music;

Class Structure

There will be a minimum of 1 contact hour every week. The class is structured in a way that promotes discussion and debate based on listening experiences and reading material. While the content being discussed in each class will be concluded within 60 minutes, the discussion time will be free format and can continue for an additional 30 minutes maximum. During the course, students will be required to submit two short essays. They need not be academic quality papers – but should be based on students’ self-reflection on what they have learned and assimilated so far.

Prerequisites: Enrollment into a Program of study

Faculty / Instructor: Dr. Kanniks Kannikeswaran

Required / Elective: Elective

Area of Study: Texts & Traditions

Start Date: TBD

End Date: TBD

Time: TBD

Day: TBD

Quarter Offered:TBD