Stanley Scott Published in Routledge’s The Modernist Reader
Dr. Stanley Scott, Lecturer in South Asian Studies and Music, authored an essay entitled “Modernism in South Asian Art Music” in The Modernist World (2015), part of the Routledge Worlds series. Reviewers describe The Modernist World as “a truly remarkable contribution to global modernist studies” (Laura Winkiel, University of Colorodo Boulder), an “indispensable resource for students and scholars working in the ‘new modernist studies” (Anna Snaith, King’s College London), and an “important collection” which “does more to show the reorientation in modernist studies since the turn of the century than any other volume currently available” (Peter Childs, Newman University, UK).
Scott traces modernism in South Asian art music from its eighteenth century roots to the twenty-first century. The examples, drawn from Pakistan, North India, and Bangladesh, represent parallel developments throughout South Asia. The seeds of South Asian modernism were sown in eighteenth century Calcutta, with the emergence of British orientalist scholarship and the development of the urban South Asian intelligentsia. The orientalist discovery of India’s “golden age” allowed Hindu nationalists to find inspiration in an India that predated both European colonization and Islamic rule. North Indian music, in particular, served sometimes as an icon of national identity, sometimes of revived Hindu hegemony, and sometimes of an Indo-Islamic synthesis.
The nineteenth century rise of Indian cities and decline of the courts led to radical changes in musical patronage and music education. In the twentieth century, public concerts supplanted court performances, and the traditional master-disciple tradition was transformed and/or replaced by the emergence of music schools, which catered to the new urban middle class. Women eventually were welcomed onto the concert stage, which had previously been reserved for courtesans and professional temple performers. These developments were promoted by the recording and broadcast media, which brought South Asian art music to a huge new listening public. These media, while ensuring the survival of South Asian art music, also had transformative effects on its style, form, and aesthetic values.