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The Otha Turner Family Picnic: Occupying Musical and Social Space In-Between Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

Description: This thesis concerns African-American fife and drum band music, a pre-blues genre that was a fixture at summer picnics in the Mississippi hill country from the late nineteenth century through most of the twentieth century. The picnics held a unique place in African-American life, a crossroads of juke joints and churches, blues and gospel, individuality and family. Using the African-American paradigm of a Saturday night / Sunday morning people, I describe the Otha Turner Family Picnic, the last picnic to feature fife and drum band music, locating it and the music in-between the secular and sacred aspects of African-American life from both a musical and a social standpoint.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Vermilyea, Carl P.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Performing the “Classical”: the Gurukula System in Karnatic Music Society

Description: Recent scholarship has revealed that the representation of Karnatic music as a “classical” art form in South Indian society was a complicated process bound to the agendas of larger early twentieth-century nationalist projects in India. This thesis explores the notions of classicalness as they are enacted in Karnatic music society through the oral transmission process from guru to shishya, or disciple. Still considered one of the most important emblems of the “classical,” the gurukula (lit. “guru-family”) system has been transformed to accommodate more contemporary lifestyles and reinscribed within many other social and musical processes in South Indian classical music society. This thesis examines the everyday interactions between members of Karnatic music society, particularly the clapping of t?la during a Karnatic music concert and the musical exchanges between percussionists onstage during the tani ?vartanam (Karnatic percussion solo), as public performances reminiscent of the relationship between guru and shishya.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Harris, Myranda Leigh
Partner: UNT Libraries