Gesture, imagery and meaning in North Indian classical music.

Wednesday 20 February 2019, 4.00PM

Speaker(s): Dr Laura Leante (Durham University)

In this seminar I will look at the connection between sound, discourse and gesture in North Indian Classical music.

In particular I will argue that patterns of movement encoded in the music can be verbally articulated through images and expressed through gesture. Taking into account such a process of embodiment alongside consideration of culturally-embedded meanings associated with the music is key to understanding how North Indian musicians associate particular emotions with ragas, and ultimately make sense of their experience of music.

The research I will present lies at the intersection between ethnomusicology, studies of gesture in verbal communication, research on embodied metaphor, and semiotics, and is based extensive ethnography carried out among North Indian classical musicians in the UK and the Indian states of West Bengal and Maharashtra between 2005 and 2016.

Dr Laura Leante 

Dr Laura Leante is a Lecturer in Ethnomusicology. She studied ethnomusicology at the University of Rome "La Sapienza", where she was awarded both her first degree (1999) and her PhD (2003). Her doctoral research focussed on the issues of meaning and crosscultural reception of music in British Asian repertories. Her research interests range over Indian classical and folk music, music of the South Asian diaspora, performance analysis, music and globalisation, popular music, and music semiotics. Before joining Durham University, Laura worked as AHRC Fellow and Lecturer in Music at the Open University. Other past appointments include a Visiting Fellowship at the International Study Centre of Queen's University (Canada) at Herstmonceux Castle, East Sussex (2005) and a Lectureship at S.S.I.S., University of Rome, Italy (2003-2005). Dr Leante is Secretary General of ESEM (European Seminar in Ethnomusicology). In 2005-2009 Laura Leante was team member working on the AHRC-funded research project "Experience and meaning in music performance", developing her interest in processes of meaning construction in music through the analysis of performance in Hindustani classical music. In 2009-2012 she directed the AHRC-funded project "The Reception of Performance in North Indian Classical Music". She is currently directing the AHRC-funded project "Khyal: Music and Imagination".

Location: D/003, Sally Baldwin D Block