An exploration of vocal change and ethical dynamism
Ways of Voice explores techniques of voice production in North India, from Bollywood to raga music to ghazal to devotional hymns and Sufi song. The voices in play here are not merely given, but achieved. Singers consciously train themselves to cultivate characteristic vocal gaits, sonorities, and poetic attunements; they adopt postures of the vocal apparatus; they build habits of listening, temporality, and social relations. The action in Ways of Voice revolves around several dozen North Indian popular, devotional, classical, and folk singers engaged in projects of vocal striving. Like most singers, they are strategically working on changing, refining, and making their own voices. The book thus highlights the ways in which singers not only have voice, but actively acquire, cultivate and contest particular vocal dispositions for particular kinds of listeners. In framing a Hindustani vocal ecumene that encompasses a diverse range of classical, popular, and spiritual-devotional musical styles and practices, it offers an expansive look at ways of voice that extend far beyond commonsense boundaries of genre and place. A rich archive of audio and video examples are provided on the online companion site, which can be found at https: //www.weslpress.org/readers-companions/.
About the Author
MATTHEW RAHAIM (Minneapolis, MN) is professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Minnesota; he is affiliate faculty in Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature and the program in Religious Studies. Rahaim is the author of Musicking Bodies: Gesture and Voice in Hindustani Music. He is also a performing Hindustani vocalist in the Gwalior lineage.