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Sikh Musicology


The course in Gurbani Sangit (the Sikh musical tradition) at Hofstra University is the first of its kind taught in a Western University. This course is designed to offer an appreciation of Sikh music, combining the aural and oral training in the repertoire, with the study of the cultural context in which it developed in North-West India between the late 15th and 20th centuries.

Each class is based on an introduction to the theoretical, historical and cultural aspects of the Sikh musical tradition, followed by vocal and instrumental practice of basic repertoires.

Classes incorporate modern technologies such as PowerPoint and Videos, with musical training imparted throught the native oral pedagogy.

This course meets the Cross-Cultural distribution criteria requirements, being particularly suitable to students who would partake in multidisciplinary studies that involve any of the following areas: Music, Anthropology, Global Studies, South Asian Studies, Religion and (Eastern) Philosophy.

Classes of Music around the World (MUS 004), Sikh Mysticism (RELI 157) and Warrior Saints: An Introduction to Sikh Religion (RELI 103) are highly recommended prior taking MUS 017, as these courses contribute to setting the vocabulary and a critical approach to the Sikh music culture. No previous musical training and no mandatory prerequisites are required. Among the activities of the Course: lectures and concerts of visiting scholars from abroad, research projects and fieldwork among the local Sikh community.

GOALS:  The aim of the course is to develop an appreciation of the Sikh musical tradition, in relation to the cultural context, meaning and philosophy of performance. Native vocabulary and musical language will be introduced, along with the peculiar instruments and vocal techniques used in the past and in the contemporary Sikh tradition.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: MUS 017 follows the distribution course standards in regard to substantial reading and written work, giving an equally important role to the ear-training in the Sikh musical language (Gurbani Sangit) and its musical practice.

  • Sikh Music Class 2016
  • SIKH Music Class
  • Workshop on pakhāwaj with Parminder Singh Bhamra, Sikh Musicology course, Spring 2012
    A Sikh Musicology class, Spring 2012
  • A Sikh Musicology class, Spring 2012
    Workshop on pakhāwaj with Parminder Singh Bhamra, Sikh Musicology course, Spring 2012