'Folksong and Classical Song: The Discursive Formation of Dividing Practice'

Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay

Indian Statistical Institute

March 7, 2000

Pondicherry Institute of Language and Culture Journal of Dravidian Studies, pp. 63-70, 2000

When Guha (1985) narrated the Rahu-narrative in the light of some sub-altern-oral texts, we found that the hero-villain relationship between Bisnu, the god and Rahu, the anti-god or demon was totally inverted from the subalterns' gaze. What is more important was that the supposed hero from the standpoint of super-ordinates' dominant and fantastic gaze is turned out to be the "hero" of thieves or rather dacoits (thus a villain from the subalterns' gaze) who could subsume the others' share of the property (nectar that comes out of churning the ocean) without acknowledging others' toil. The same case of "snatching nectar" is also visible in the classical-folk song dichotomy. A type of hegemonic and coercive selving or subsumption from the part of super-ordinate is seen in the category of "classical song" in contrast to so-called folk-song. The problem is with the imaginative boundary between these two types of songs. We must keep in mind, from the standpoint of enlightened science, that the limit or boundary of different epistemological fields needs to be enumerated or well defined, i.e., in this case, determination of folksong and non-folksong must be determined according to the existing enlightened logic. However the construction of such boundary, diachronically, is not always transparent, but rather fuzzy; and on the other hand it reflects a tension of maintaining the boundary, though it cannot eliminate the fuzziness of boundaries.

Reiterating the "logic" of such dividing practices from Bandyopadhyay,1995, the Folk song-Classical song dichotomy will be (re)examined by analyzing the epistemological discourse on such divisions in the context of Vedic and Bangla songs mainly taking references from Rabindranath Tagore- D. P. Mukherji correspondences on this issue.

Furthermore, songs, from the epistemological perspective, can be seen as thing-in-itself (ding an sich) or can be seen as a permutation and combinations of physical notes. Different schools permute and commute these notes to give birth to different genres of music. This type of objectification of songs needs no such division such as classical-folk. In this exposition, I will examine two broad genres of music, viz. classical and folksongs, though this division does not consider the physical notes as thing-in-itself, instead some other criteria are deployed to make it visible.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 5

Keywords: Dividing Practice, birth of disciplines, hegemonic selving

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Date posted: March 12, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Bandyopadhyay, Debaprasad, 'Folksong and Classical Song: The Discursive Formation of Dividing Practice' (March 7, 2000). Pondicherry Institute of Language and Culture Journal of Dravidian Studies, pp. 63-70, 2000 . Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2018055

Contact Information

Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay (Contact Author)
Indian Statistical Institute ( email )
203 B.T. Road
Kolkata, West Bengal 700108
+919830630707 (Phone)
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