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Electric Strings of South India

Title: The Electric Strings of South India: A Case Study of Electric Guitar in South Indian Classical Music.
Name(s): Fludd, Andre Aaron, author
Bakan, Michael B., professor directing thesis
Erndl, Kathleen M., committee member
Gunderson, Frank D., committee member
Florida State University, degree granting institution
College of Music, degree granting college
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2016
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource (97 pages)
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: In this research I explore the use of electric plucked chordophones in South Indian classical (Carnatic) music through a case study of the renowned Carnatic electric guitarist Prasanna Ramaswamy. Electric instruments are commonly discussed as a means to produce sounds otherwise impossible on their acoustic counterparts, and as instruments that encourage movement away from traditional to more popular genres. However, within Carnatic music, electrification has facilitated the adoption of two Western instruments, the guitar and mandolin, into the tradition: whereas the acoustic guitar and acoustic mandolin lacked the capacity to function as Carnatic melodic instruments, their electric counterparts have proven to have that capacity. Both are now accepted in the tradition and recognized as instruments capable of facilitating the performance of nuanced Carnatic music, equal in these regards to the ancestral South Indian plucked chordophone, the veena. The major question addressed in this thesis, therefore, is how and why this has come to be the case. That question is addressed through both source-based research and musical ethnography. Regarding the latter, the primary data for the study was gathered during a five-week period of intensive private guitar study and participant-observation with Prasanna. Through this research, I learned how Carnatic music is applied to the guitar and vice-versa, as well as Prasanna's specific musical philosophy, which I refer to throughout as "musical practicality": the idea that everything related to understanding music should always refer to the simple pleasure of enjoying musical sound. Beyond addressing how and why the electric guitar and mandolin are embraced in the Carnatic music world, I extend the discussion to examine how guitar technologies other than the magnetic pickup have contributed to the development of both the electric veena and mandolin.
Identifier: FSU_2016SP_Fludd_fsu_0071N_13260 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Thesis submitted to the College of Music in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Music.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester 2016.
Date of Defense: March 22, 2016.
Keywords: Balachander, Carnatic, guitar, Prasanna, South India, Srinivas
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Michael B. Bakan, Professor Directing Thesis; Kathleen Erndl, Committee Member; Frank Gunderson, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Music
South Asia
Study and teaching
Persistent Link to This Record:
Host Institution: FSU

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Fludd, A. A. (2016). The Electric Strings of South India: A Case Study of Electric Guitar in South Indian Classical Music. Retrieved from