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The Music RoadCoherence and Diversity in Music from the Mediterranean to India$
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Reinhard Strohm

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266564

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266564.001.0001

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Maud MacCarthy: ‘The Musicking Body’

Maud MacCarthy: ‘The Musicking Body’

(p.236) 12 Maud MacCarthy: ‘The Musicking Body’
The Music Road

Nalini Ghuman

British Academy

This chapter highlights the pioneering work of Maud MacCarthy and its reception. Drawing on century-old field notes, transcriptions and manuscripts, it demonstrates that MacCarthy absorbed Indian music through immersion and practice in India; upon her return to Britain in the 1910s, she initiated cross-cultural collaborations and influenced figures such as Arthur Fox-Strangways and Gustav Holst. Photographs, lecture-recital scripts and press cuttings suggest that MacCarthy became a ‘musicking body’, exemplified by the dynamic hand gestures which accompanied her singing. The chapter contextualises the dismissal of her work within the nationalist Indian and British colonial discourses which sought to proscribe gesture, the body and, by extension, women, in classical music. It was the MacCarthy-Foulds ‘Indo-European Orchestra’ which broadcast from 1930s Delhi, which Ravi Shankar took up, unacknowledged, when he became director of the station. Although erased from the history of East–West musical interactions, MacCarthy’s work has thus had an enduring effect.

Keywords:   Maud MacCarthy, musicking, authenticity, Indian music, John Foulds, Indian-British musical encounters

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