In India, a country of more than 1.4 billion people, how is that North Indian classical music, known as Hindustani, is understood as a national tradition even though it exists in just four or five major areas?

That question is what’s been driving the scholarship of UCLA ethnomusicology professor Anna Morcom.

“Peripheries may be minorities or places that have less power, but you don’t have the whole as such without them,” said Morcom, who is the Mohindar Brar Sambhi Professor of Indian Music at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and director of the UCLA Center for India and South Asia. “Systems are never about just about their centers, you have to look at the connections.

“I thought it was time for a new book on Hindustani music, given the level of change in India since many of the classic studies were written. There’s been this huge economic boom, urbanization, globalization. I wanted to see how this music is working in the current context.”

Morcom is finishing a monograph that “looks at classical music from the peripheries, trying to see how it all works. It joins the elite world of classical Indian music to a much larger musical world, which is how it operates.”

Read the full story about Morcom’s research on the UCLA International Institute website.