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North Indian Classical Music and Lerdahl and Jackendoff's Generative Theory - A Mutual Regard

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David ClarkeORCiD



This is the final published version of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Society for Music Theory, 2017.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


This article applies aspects of A Generative Theory of Tonal Music by Fred Lerdahl and Ray Jackendoff to the analysis of Hindustani (North Indian) classical music, with a double-edged purpose. On the one hand, the GTTM methodology is used to illuminate the workings of an ālāp (as performed by Vijay Rajput, a vocalist in the khyāl style). On the other hand, the analysis acts as a case study to assess the viability of this methodology for the analysis of Indian classical music, and in particular, to test out Lerdahl and Jackendoff’s claim that GTTM presents a universal musical grammar, transcending specific cultures.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Clarke D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Music Theory Online

Year: 2017

Volume: 23

Issue: 3

Pages: 1-30

Online publication date: 07/09/2017

Acceptance date: 06/12/2016

Date deposited: 24/10/2018

ISSN (electronic): 1067-3040

Publisher: Society for Music Theory