Sikh Sabad Kirtan as a Musical Construction of Memory

Thumbnail Image


Protopapas_umd_0117E_12361.pdf (19.73 MB)
No. of downloads: 2518
Shan.mp3 (712.98 KB)
No. of downloads: 93
BasantChariyaPhuliBanrai.mp3 (2.84 MB)
No. of downloads: 109
BasantChariyaPhuliBanrai.mp3 (2.84 MB)
No. of downloads: 460
Harabinjeeojalabala.mp3 (8.21 MB)
No. of downloads: 176

Publication or External Link






The performance of devotional music in India has been an active, sonic conduit where spiritual identities are shaped and forged, and both history and mythology lived out and remembered daily. For the followers of Sikhism, congregational hymn singing has been the vehicle through which text, melody and ritual act as repositories of memory, elevating memory to a place where historical and social events can be reenacted and memorialized on levels of spiritual significance. This dissertation investigates the musical process of Shabad Kirtan, Sikh hymn singing, in a Sikh musical service as a powerful vehicle to forge a sense of identification between individual and the group. As an intimate part of Sikh life from birth to death, the repertoire of Shabad Kirtan draws from a rich mosaic of classical and folk genres as well as performance styles, acting as a musical and cognitive archive. Through a detailed analysis of the Asa Di Var service, Shabad Kirtan is explored as a phenomenological experience where time, place and occasion interact as a meaningful unit through which the congregation creates and recreates themselves, invoking deep memories and emotional experiences. Supported by explanatory tables, diagrams and musical transcriptions, the sonic movements of the service show how the Divine Word as Shabad is not only embodied through the Guru Granth Sahib, but also encountered through the human enactment of the service, aurally, viscerally and phenomenologically.



NOTICE: Recordings accompanying this record are available only to University of Maryland College Park faculty, staff, and students and cannot be reproduced, copied, distributed or performed publicly by any means without prior permission of the copyright holder.