Chennai Mathematical Institute


3.30 p.m.
THE WEB OF MUSIC: An examination of the many facets through which music may be thought about

David Beck



For most of us music is an aesthetic experience. Our response may be emotional and perhaps intellectual to a degree, and it is certainly pleasurable. We will be familiar with how music is presented within our own or others' cultures. And we may be familiar with the personalities and heroes and heroines of the concert stage. This talk will circle around music as it may be viewed from a variety of angles, and will draw examples from a variety of musical cultures around the world.

What are some of the lenses through which music can be examined? An informal list might include music as abstract structure and the architecture of sound, words and music, music and the highs and lows of social status, music and politics (music as subversive), women's issues and music, music in relation to visual art, literature, or theater and film, music and revolution, the musician and composer, music as a business, music and technology, musical instruments as sound-making machines, music and psychology/therapy, the ritual on concert contexts, music and religion.

David B. Reck is retired professor of Music, and Asian Languages and Civilizations, at Amherst College (USA). He first came to then Madras in 1968 with his wife, photographer Carol Reck, and has studied veena and Carnatic Music since that time, primarily under his major guru, Veena Ranganayaki Rajagopalan. A graduate of the University of Texas (Western music), he received his PhD from Wesleyan University in World Music. His publications include 'Worlds of Music', 'Music of the Whole Earth', and numerous articles on Indian music and the West. A chapter on the 'Beatles and Indian music' is forthcoming in the volume 'It Was Twenty Years Ago Today (forthcoming) from the Sorbonne'.