Encoding spatial experience in Garhwali popular music cassettes

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The connections between particular sounds and geographically conceived places/spaces are a recurrent feature of many musical repertoires from different parts of the Himalaya. A number of examples exist in which ritual repertoires are linked to pilgrimage pathways, to specific spiritual sites or to an ordering of space in relation to geomorphic realities. Within traditional ritual repertoire from the North Indian region of Garhwal, specific motivic elements are used in a number of ways to enhance the spatial experience of performers and listeners. In popular music idioms, connections between sounds and geomorphically imagined spaces are achieved in ways that borrow from traditional repertoire but also expand the symbolic use of sound through studio enhancement. In conjunction with more obvious regional identifiers, such as language, rituals, deities and costumes, sounds help construct a shared regional identity amongst listeners that is associated with the physical reality of mountains. This paper examines a selection of popular music songs from Garhwali cassettes from the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s and notes a number of consistent uses of particular sounds that prompt a spatial experience associated with a mountainous landscape.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12
Pages (from-to)71-80
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2018

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  • music
  • cassette
  • studio
  • geomorphology
  • geography
  • sound effects


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