Published: March 25, 2008
By: Donna Armstrong

Dr. James Kippen, visiting professor from the University of Toronto, will present a lecture on May 2, 2008 entitled, "The Modernization of Hindustani Music and the Adaptive Strategies of Hereditary Musicians: The Case of the Tabla Notebooks of Abid Hussain Khan." Dr. Kippen is teaching two courses for the department this quarter, one on the classical music of India, and the other on the performance arts of South Asia. Dr. Kippen's appointment at UCLA is made possible through funding provided by the Mohindar Brar Sambhi Chair in Indian Music.

In the late 1920s, the hereditary tabla drummer Abid Hussain Khan (1867–1936) became the first Professor of Tabla at India's premier music school: the Marris College of Music in Lucknow (later renamed Bhatkhande College). He left behind him many pages of notes and notations. Now, with the help of his great-grandson Ilmas Hussain, these faint and decaying pages have been deciphered to reveal a superb drumming repertoire that was almost certainly notated in order to teach Indian rhythmic theory and practice at the college. Dr. Kippen's presentation reveals what Abid Hussain's notebooks say about the man and his music, and it explores his place within the Reformist tradition of writing theoretical and practical manuals for a music that even today continues to be largely unwritten.