Listening to North Indian classical music: How embodied ways of listening perform imagined histories and social class

2017-12-04T14:58:24Z (GMT) by Chloe Alaghband-Zadeh
With this article, I theorize the sociality of embodied ways of listening to North Indian classical music. I focus on rasikas (connoisseurs): these expert listeners are conspicuous at live performances, where they gesture and comment to express their enjoyment of the music. Based on ethnography and interviews with musicians and music lovers in Delhi, Mumbai, and Pune, I argue that rasikas’ embodied, audible listening practices enact shared imagined histories and perform expertise and social status. Moreover, these listening behaviors also sustain values of the so- called old middle class in India in the face of economic and social change.