Final Project Proposal: Northern India Research Trip

Hey guys. For my final project I will be planning an educational and research trip to India, focusing on some larger cities, towns and rural areas in the Northern region of the country. My goal will be to immerse myself in, and record masters of Hindustani classical music both in ensembles and as soloists. Additionally I will seek out several of the top instrument makers in the region, trying to better understand what about process, history and traditions of these craftsmen that create the excellence in sound and function. I hope to present my findings in an educational presentation at the University of Washington and The Art Institute of Seattle.
My trip will start in more populated areas and with more popular musical traditions. I will fly into Jaipur on New Years Day, 2015. I’ve selected January and February as my time to travel for mostly climate related issues. I hope to avoid the brutal heat of the summer months (which can start as early as March) and the rains of the monsoon season (typically between June and October). I will arrange for a guide in Jaipur who specializes in Hindustani musical instruction (instrument to be determined) who will help me create an itinerary for concerts and musical events in the city. My estimate at this time is that I will spend up to 10 days in Jaipur before traveling by train North to New Delhi and Faridabad.
In New Delhi I hope to meet with my first instrument maker. Ideally I’d like to stay with this craftsman so I am completely immersed in the process. I want to document the process not only with photographs, but I hope to also record the sounds of the instrument throughout various stages of the process. Extensive research will also be done by spending time at local universities including, Jawaharla Nehru University, and the Delhi Collage of Art.

After about a month in city environments, I hope to develop connections and foster friendships which will enable me to spend the second half of my trip in more rural environments. I purposely want to keep my second month of my trip open to whatever music and cultural traditions I may stubble upon. This spontaneity is key to my overarching goal of discovery. The other major goal I have for my second month in northern India is to better understand and to record the “folk” music traditions in smaller communities that are more cut off from city culture. In this way I hope when I return home I can present the contrasting styles and traditions of the musical masters who thrive in the city, as well as the ‘everyday’ musicians who play simply for their families and communities, and for their own personal fulfillment.

Obviously this is a pretty broad overview of what I hope to capture and experience on this trip. In the coming weeks, my goal is to make some contacts as well as conduct some additional logistical research which will begin to frame my trip from a vision to a clearer reality. Thanks for reading my proposal!


One thought on “Final Project Proposal: Northern India Research Trip

  1. Nice plan, Chris. Good work taking weather and climate into consideration, and I appreciate what you write about spontaneity. Hopefully in your next step you can hone in a bit on the specific music/s that you are interested in exploring.

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