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Khyal, Improvisation, and Social Change

Wasanti Paranjape

Published: 2012-05-08

In this essay, Wasanti Paranjape takes as a starting point the assumption that music forms an integral part of its culture and is therefore inextricably linked to the artistic and also the social and political context of that culture. This article observes changes in North Indian Classical music that came about with the emergence of Khyal (a distinct branch of North Indian Classical music) and the social changes that occurred as a result.

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Listening itself, an improvisative act engaged in by everyone, announces a practice of active engagement with the world, where we sift, interpret, store and forget, in parallel with action and fundamentally articulated with it ("Mobilitas Animi" 113).

– George E. Lewis