A lecture by Allyn Miner, Visiting Professor from the University of Pennsylvania*
The Mrgavati is an epic written in the colloquial language of the Jaunpur area in central north India in 1503. Its richly imagined depiction of a court music performance is the starting point for this paper, which follows a web of references in Sanskrit, Hindi, and Persian sources relating to emerging developments in performance practice at the time and place. This initial exploration of courtly, Sufi, and Hindu devotional milieus traces developments in raga and genre formation that would help shape later north Indian music culture. In a broader sense it is an exercise in reading music history in a moment of the distant past through the framework of contemporaneous sources.
Dr. Miner received a Ph.D. from Banaras Hindu University for her work on the early history of the sitar and sarod. She began a performance career at that time, appearing in a number of cities and on All India Radio before her return to the U.S. In 1985 she began performance training under Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. She joined the Department of South Asia Studies at the University of Pennsylvania as a Lecturer in 1988 while pursuing a Ph.D. in Sanskrit. She received her degree in 1994 from the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies for her dissertation on a 14th-century musicological text from Gujarat.
Miner has pursued an active teaching, research, and performance career. She teaches a roster of popular courses on South Asian classical and regional music and dance at Penn and has been visiting faculty at a number of other institutions including the University of Washington, New York University, and Temple University.
* Dr. Miner’s appointment at UCLA is made possible through funding provided by the Mohindar Brar Sambhi Chair in Indian Music.
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