Khyal: Music and Imagination

Lead Research Organisation: Durham University
Department Name: Music

Abstract

"Khyal: Music and Imagination" builds on fundamental research into the ways in which Indian musicians and audiences experience and imagine classical vocal performance, using its insights to generate new kinds of engagement and creativity. The project brings together, first of all, musicians, ethnomusicologists and visual artists to explore the khyal genre and stimulate the artists to produce original works of visual art inspired by the music and by existing interview material. This new artistic production in turn facilitates new forms of engagement accessible to a wide range of people: in schools, at concerts and festivals, and at museums and galleries.
In the first instance we will bring together a diverse group of people into a project team: visual artists based in both the UK and India, ethnomusicologists, and performing musicians. We will discuss findings of our earlier research, particularly as it relates to the moods and emotions expressed in the music and the role of visual imagery in both performance and listening. Artists will be introduced to our extensive collection of audiovisual recordings and interview transcripts, from which relevant source material will be selected. They will be commissioned to produced original artwork in media of their choice (e.g. paintings, video installations) inspired by this material. While this work continues, we will run a series of school workshops with a local arts organisation with a strong track record in this area, Gem Arts, in the course of which school children too will be encouraged to engage with the idea of music and visual imagery and to produce their own art works. At the same time, we will develop a simple interactive app which allows users to engage with audiovisual recordings of Indian music.
All of these elements - original research materials, interactive app, professional and school children's artwork - will be combined in a public exhibition presented at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle. We will also give public presentations drawing on this material at other venues, including the Darbar Festival in London, the UK's largest festival of Indian music. The aim is to increase engagement with this genre of music and with the interface between music and visual arts more generally, to facilitate new forms of creative engagement amongst school children, and to foster dialogue between academics and creative artists.

Planned Impact

This projects aims to engage a range of beneficiaries. These include the third sector (in particular galleries and music venues, and professional musicians and visual artists), the commercial sector (in particular IT developers), local communities (including secondary school teachers and children), and the wider public of music and art lovers in general.

In order to maximize the impact of our project we intend to work in close collaboration with three partners as well as our beneficiaries to the extent that we envisage our activities and outputs to be co-produced with them as much as possible.

The activities/outputs through which our work will generate impact include:

1) The commission of original artworks and of an original interactive application;
2) The delivery of school workshops and the preparation of didactic materials for schoolteachers;
3) The organisation of music performances and a multimedia exhibition;
4) The preparation of a multimedia website as well as printed materials;
5) The delivery of public talks and engagement events.

Different groups of people will benefit from specific activities in different ways. Detailed examples include the following:

a) The visual artists and singers' artistic development will benefit from the engagement in a new form of interdisciplinary dialogue, while their careers will benefit from the exposure provided by the project. The visual artists' careers will also benefit from the preparation of a commissioned work and the experience of engagement in workshops.
b) The school children's creativity will benefit from the exposure to new music, and from the engagement in an interdisciplinary exercise which will provide them with an opportunity to reflect on cross-modal experiences; their confidence will be encouraged by the ambitious but realistic prospect to have their artwork exhibited alongside that of professional artists in a public exhibition.
c) Music and Art teachers will benefit from a new interdisciplinary collaboration, while the wider community of educators will benefit from the didactic materials which will result from this experience and which we intend to make widely available.
d) Our project will contribute to the development of a new way of understanding music and its intersection with the visual arts: through a range of engagement events, talks, music performance, the preparation of a multimedia exhibition, and through a dedicate multimedia project website as well as readers of magazines which popularize research, our work will benefit the wider public of music and art lovers, arts promoters, venues and programmes.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title Original artwork by Adinda van 't Klooster 
Description "Bihag" - digital animation inspired by a performance of Rag Bihag by North Indian khyal singer Sudokshina Chatterjee. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact The work represents the second opportunity for the visual artist to work with North Indian Classical music, and the first opportunity to do this by directly interacting with a North Indian singer. Both artist and performer claim to have benefited - in their approach to creative practices in their respective fields - from their dialogue. The work is part of the multimedia "Khyal: Music and Imagination" exhibition. 
URL http://www.dur.ac.uk/music/khyal
 
Title Original artwork by visual artist Mahjabin Imam Majumdar 
Description "Marwa" - tryptic, acrylic on canvas - inspired by a performance of Rag Marwa by khyal singer Ranjani Ramachandran. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact The work represents the first opportunity for the visual artist to work with a North Indian singer and using khyal music as a source of creative inspiration Both artist and performer claim to have benefited - in their approach to creative practices in their respective fields - from their dialogue. Before the artwork was imported in the Uk, they decided to share their reflection on the collaboration and creative processes in a public event, which was held in Santiniketan, India, in June 2016. The work is part of the multimedia "Khyal: Music and Imagination" exhibition. 
URL http://www.dur.ac.uk/music/khyal
 
Title Original artwork by visual artist Theresa Poulton 
Description "Khyal - Past, Present and Future" and "Khyal - Combined Strengths" - set of two works - acrylic and pencil on paper, inspired by a performance of Rag Rageshree by Surashree Ulhas Joshi. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact The work represents the first opportunity for the visual artist to produce a work inspired by music, and to interact with a North Indian singer. Both artist and performer claim to have benefited - in their approach to creative practices in their respective fields - from their dialogue. The artist in particular claimed this experience made her revised previous artworks and has influenced successive works. The work is part of the multimedia "Khyal: Music and Imagination" exhibition. Other works inspired by khyal music and studies prepared for the "Khyal" project has featured at another exhibition help independently by the artist in Newcastle in November 2016. The "Khyal: Music and Imagination" project also represented the first opportunity for the artist work work as part of a large project team. 
URL http://www.dur.ac.uk/music/khyal
 
Description This project's focus was on the development of a range of engagement and impact-generating activities stemming from the PI and CoI's previous research, rather than on new academic research. The project was innovative in bringing together ethnomusicologists, musicians and visual artist to stimulate new interdisciplinary dialogue and develop a range of activities (including the production of original artworks, public music performances, interdisciplinary workshops) as well as an interactive iPad app and - ultimately - a multimedia public exhibition.
Exploitation Route It is stille early to fully assess the impact of this project. However, our outputs have been so far positively received and some participants have developed further work and activities stemming from the project through independent initiative (an example being one of the visual artists featuring in an independent exhibition with work developed as part of our project).
Sectors Creative Economy,Education,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL http://www.dur.ac.uk/music/khyal
 
Description The main aim of this project (Laura Leante PI and Martin Clayton CoI) was to develop impact activities stemming from the findings of the previous AHRC-funded projects "Experience and Meaning in Music Performance" (Martin Clayton PI) and "The Reception of Performance in North Indian Classical Music" (Laura Leante PI and Martin Clayton CoI). The "Khyal: Music and Imagination" project's main goal was therefore not to carry out new research, but to build on existing work in order to deliver a number of outcomes focussed on engagement with a number of different potential beneficiaries (including for example musicians, visual artist, the general public of art and music lovers, school children and teachers, venues, art promoters, app developers). The activities carried out to date have been received positively and several participants have claimed that the project has contributed in opening new perspectives and stimulating new ideas. Further impact evidence is likely to be collected in the coming months/years.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Impact Types Cultural

 
Description Collaboration with Komodo Digital 
Organisation Komodo Digital Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Komodo digital is a company specialising in web and app development. Our project has offered the opportunity to tackle and solve challenges new to them (i.e. developing a music app with a number of synched audio and video channels).
Collaborator Contribution Komodo have collaborated with the project team in the development of one of the project's outcomes - an interactive application for iPad which is freely available to download from the App Store.
Impact iPad App
Start Year 2016
 
Description Project Collaboration - New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester 
Organisation New Walk Museum
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Durham University Music Department and Museums staff collaborated in the preparation and set up of the "Khyal: Music and Imagination" exhibition at the New Walk Museum (Leicester). Durham provided the artworks and multimedia exhibition materials on loan as well as staff time. The "Khyal" exhibition on display in Leicester presented some significant development compared to the version hosted by the Laing Gallery (Newcastle) in 2016 in that it included new works produced by Indian artists and amateurs during a workshop held in Pune (India) in January 2017.
Collaborator Contribution New Walk Museum and Art Gallery (Leicester) hosted the "Khyal: Music and Imagination" exhibition from 15 July until 5 November 2017. The Museum provided space, staff time and opportunity for publicity. Most crucially, the Museum provided an important platform for the project to reach the communities based in and around Leicester. This opportunity was not part of the original AHRC project application and represented a particularly welcome development.
Impact "Khyal: Music and Imagination" multimedia exhibition
Start Year 2017
 
Description Project partnership 
Organisation Gem Arts
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We have provided the academic leadership in the project and the research background, including the academic content to events and publications.
Collaborator Contribution GemArts have been a key partner in the development and delivery of the "Khyal: Music and Imagination" project, and in particular in the selection process of one visual artist, organisation of school workshops and public events. The director of GemArts has joined the project steering committee. Our partnership with GemArts started before the project, but was highly strengthened by it.
Impact Public events (concerts and exhibition) - workshops
Start Year 2012
 
Description Project partnership 
Organisation Laing Art Gallery
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Our team provided the exhibition multimedia materials (including original artworks), the organisation of an exhibition launch event, and a seminar.
Collaborator Contribution The Laing Gallery hosted the exhibition and provided support by their learning department and support staff.
Impact Public exhibition Exhibition launch event (including a performance of North Indian classical music) Seminar The collaboration is multidisciplinary (music and visual art)
Start Year 2016
 
Title Khyal - interactive iPad application 
Description The app uses multitrack AV recordings of North Indian music performancesoriginally made for research purposes and extends the intended function of these recordings in a novel and unique format. The app allows users to explore two performances of khyal (from 2010 and 2016) and learn about its form, style, and technique. Initially planned as an integral part of the "Khyal: Music and Imagination" project exhibition, the app is freely available for download from the App Store. Moving their fingers over four mixers sliders, or on the video window itself, users are able to hear the different sound elements in their preferred mix (voice, tabla, harmonium, and tanpura). This is a unique chance to hear the singing voice alone, for instance, or to experience the difference made by the tabla, harmonium or tanpura, when added in. Key points in each performance are marked as selectable "clips": selecting a clip takes the user to a particular point in the performance and opens up information abut the techniques the musicians are using at that specific moment. Taken as a whole, the app offers an overview of the musical form: it is designed as a flexible educational tool for those getting to know khyal, as well as for the enjoyment of Indian music lovers. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact The app has only recently being launched. It has so far received very positive feedback from a range of audiences. 
URL http://www.dur.ac.uk/music/khyal
 
Description An evening of presentation, dialogue and music - Santiniketan, India - 28 June 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact As an initiative of two project team artists, Hindustani Classical Vocalist Ranjani Ramachandran and visual artist Mahjabin Imam Majumdar organised an evening of presentation, dialogue and music based on their collaborative work at the Nandan Museum Gallery, Santiniketan (India). The event stimulated debate between music and the visual arts and feedback has been extremely positive.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.dur.ac.uk/music/khyal
 
Description Art workshop - Studio 7 - Pune, India - 4 January 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 7 people of different age groups, mostly art amateurs participated in an interdisciplinary workshop led by khyal singer Surashree Ulnas Joshi and artist Mahjabin Majumdar, which involved reflection on music and the visual arts. Original artworks inspired by music were produced by the participants: these works were displayed at a public event in Pune on 7 January 2017 - and will be displayed again in the UK at public exhibitions in 2017 and 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.dur.ac.uk/music/khyal
 
Description Khyal: Music and Imagination - Public multimedia exhibition 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Khyal: Music and Imagination is a multimedia exhibition that brings together visual artists and musicians to explore diverse visual responses to Indian classical music.
The exhibition features original artworks by Adinda van 't Klooster, Mahjabin Imam Majumdar, and Theresa Poulton, which can be viewed while listening to the music that inspired them. Works by professional artists are displayed alongside pieces by school children from the north east of England, who were invited to respond to the same music. A newly-developed i-pad app is also displayed.
Featured singers include Veena Sahasrabuddhe, Ranjani Ramachandran, Sudokshina Chatterjee, Surashree Ulhas Joshi and Atul Khandekar.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.dur.ac.uk/music/khyal
 
Description Khyal: Music and Imagination - project team workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact As part of the "Khyal: Music and Imagination" project, a workshop for team members was held in Durham, in March 2016. The workshop brought together musicologists, Indian singers and visual artists (from both the UK and India) to develop dialogue and ultimately inform the creation of original artworks.
Both singers and visual artists described the workshop as an experience which contributed to developing a new perspective on their art and respective forms of artistic production.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.dur.ac.uk/music/khyal
 
Description Khyal: Music and Imagination - public exhibition (Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, London) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Khyal: Music and Imagination multimedia exhibition was hosted, in collaboration with Sama Arts Network, by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (London) from 21 June until 10 July 2018. The exhibition featured original artworks by Adinda van 't Klooster, Mahjabin Imam Majumdar, and Theresa Poulton, which could be viewed while listening to the music that inspired them. Works by professional artists were displayed alongside pieces by school children from the north east of England as well as art lovers from Pune, India, who were invited to respond to the same music. Featured singers include Veena Sahasrabuddhe, Ranjani Ramachandran, Sudokshina Chatterjee, Surashree Ulhas Joshi and Atul Khandekar. The Khyal interactive app was also on display. Feedback received was extremely positive and included expressions of interest by Sama Arts Network in taking the exhibition on tour in other UK locations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.dur.ac.uk/music/khyal/
 
Description Khyal: Music and Imagination - public exhibition (New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The Khyal: Music and Imagination multimedia exhibition was hosted by the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery from 15 July until 5 November 2017.
The exhibition featured original artworks by Adinda van 't Klooster, Mahjabin Imam Majumdar, and Theresa Poulton, which could be viewed while listening to the music that inspired them. Works by professional artists were displayed alongside pieces by school children from the north east of England as well as art lovers from Pune, India, who were invited to respond to the same music. Featured singers include Veena Sahasrabuddhe, Ranjani Ramachandran, Sudokshina Chatterjee, Surashree Ulhas Joshi and Atul Khandekar. The project Khyal interactive app was also on display. Feedback received was extremely positive and included expressions of interest in taking the exhibition on tour in other UK locations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.durham.ac.uk/music/khyal
 
Description Khyal: Music and Imagination - public exhibition (The Nehru Centre, London) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Khyal: Music and Imagination multimedia exhibition was hosted, in collaboration with Sama Arts Network, by the Nehru Centre (the cultural wing of the Indian High Commission in London) from 4 until 14 December 2018. The exhibition featured original artworks by Adinda van 't Klooster, Mahjabin Imam Majumdar, and Theresa Poulton, which could be viewed while listening to the music that inspired them. Works by professional artists were displayed alongside pieces by school children from the north east of England as well as art lovers from Pune, India, who were invited to respond to the same music. Featured singers include Veena Sahasrabuddhe, Ranjani Ramachandran, Sudokshina Chatterjee, Surashree Ulhas Joshi and Atul Khandekar. The Khyal interactive app was also on display. Feedback received was extremely positive and included expressions of interest by Sama Arts Network in taking the exhibition on tour in other UK locations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.dur.ac.uk/music/khyal/
 
Description Public concert by Khyal singer Mowna Ramachandra - Newcastle, 4 November 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact As part of the "Khyal" exhibition launch event, a performance by khyal singer Mowna Ramachandra was held at the Laing Gallery, Newcastle.
More than 60 people attended, who provided extremely positive feedback.
This concert represents the first acoustic performance of Khyal music in Newcastle.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.dur.ac.uk/music/khyal
 
Description Public concert by Khyal singer Ranjani Ramachandran - Durham, 23 February 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact As part of the "Khyal: Music and Imagination" project - in collaboration with GemArts and Durham University MUSICON concert series, a performance of Khyal by Ranjani Ramachandran was organised. Feedback from the audience was extremely positive. The number of attendees (more than 60) was also particularly high for the standards of this concert series.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.dur.ac.uk/musicon.concerts/concerts1516/ranjani/
 
Description Public concert by Khyal singer Sudokshina Chatterjee - Durham, 2 March 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact As part of the "Khyal: Music and Imagination" project, a public performance by khyal singer Sudokshina Chatterjee was organised.
The audience's feedback was extremely positive and welcomed the "new music in Durham".
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.dur.ac.uk/music/khyal
 
Description Public concert by Khyal singer Surashree Ulnas Joshi - Durham, 2 March 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact As part of the "Khyal: Music and Imagination" project, the first international public performance by khyal singer Surashree Ulnas Joshi was organised.
The audience's feedback was extremely positive and welcomed the "new music in Durham".
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.dur.ac.uk/music/khyal
 
Description Public concert by khyal singer Surashree Ulnas Joshi and tabla soloist Kishor Korde - Pune (India), 7 January 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact As part of the "Khyal: Music and Imagination" project, a public performance by khyal singer Surashree Ulnas Joshi and tabla player Kishor Korde was organised in Pune (India).
The event features performances by the two artists, as well as a presentation on the project by PI Laura Leante and CoI Martin Clayton.
The original artworks produced at a workshop led by Surahsree Joshi on 4 January were displayed.
The audience feedback was extremely positive.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.dur.ac.uk/music/khyal
 
Description Public talk - The Oriental Museum, Durham - 13th February 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Prof Martin Clayton (project CoI) gave an invited talk to the Friends of the Oriental Museum (Durham) focussing on music and imagination in North Indian classical music and discussing the "Khyal: Music and Imagination". Feedback was extremely positive and suggested that new interest was generated by the event among participants who were previously unfamiliar with Indian music.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum/
 
Description School workshop - Kelvin Grove Primary School, Gateshead - June 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact About 28 primary school children attended the interdisciplinary workshop which involved discussion on North Indian khyal vocal genre and reflection of the visual arts. Original artworks inspired by music were produced by the children: these works were later displayed at the Laing Gallery at the "Khyal: Music and Imagination" public exhibition (November 2016).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.dur.ac.uk/music/khyal
 
Description School workshop - Kingsmeadow Secondary School, Gateshead - June 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact About 20 secondary school children attended the interdisciplinary workshop which involved discussion on North Indian khyal vocal genre and reflection of the visual arts. Original artworks inspired by music were produced by the children: these works were later displayed at the Laing Gallery at the "Khyal: Music and Imagination" public exhibition (November 2016).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.dur.ac.uk/music/khyal
 
Description Visual art workshop - 19th May 2018 - Oriental Museum, Durham 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact As part of the Khyal: Music and Imagination project we run a workshop organised in collaboration with Durham University's Oriental Museum. A group of adult art lovers and non-professional artists met and, together with visual artist Theresa Poulton and ethnomusicologist Laura Leante, created a collective artwork inspired by khyal music.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.dur.ac.uk/music/khyal/
 
Description Visual art workshop - Pune, India 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact As part of the Khyal: Music and Imagination project we run a workshop organised by Mrs Durga Tilak at Studio 7, Pune. A group of art lovers (ages ranging from 13 to over 60s) met and, together with visual artist Mahjabin Majumbar and singer Surashree Ulhas Joshi, created works inspired by khyal music. Their original works were displayed on 7 January at a public event featuring a khyal performance by Surahsree Ulhas Joshi. The works were subsequently brought to Durham University and have featured in two public exhibitions: at the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery (Leicester - July to November 2017) and at the Oriental Museum (Durham - January to June 2018).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.durham.ac.uk/music/khyal