- Improvisation versus reproduction, India and the world
- New Sound
- Volume | Issue number
- 32 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
India has been particularly resistant to the infiltration of Western culture. Conversion to Christianity has been quite ineffective, and many other Western ideas, values and institutions have only been appropriated to a limited extent. Music is no exception and over the past centuries a controversy has arisen about the superiority of Indian versus Western music. Indian musicians and musicologists have championed improvised music as part of a living oral tradition, whereas Western music has been derided as a dead tradition of replicating written scores. This discourse may be seen as a reaction to earlier attempts of ‘proving’ the superiority of Western music with its imposing symphonic orchestras. At the same time, Indian music (and jazz) may well have been instrumental in the ‘rediscovery’ of improvisation in Western classical music.
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