Music and Dances of Central Nepal
Subi Shah’s Works on Performance
A translation and video project
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We are delighted to be one of the recipients of a 2021 Scholarly Editions and Translations Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities! This grant provides three years of support for our team to translate Subi Shah’s works, make audio and video recordings of the music and dances he describes, and prepare them all…
We are very pleased to announce that Music and Dances of Central Nepal: Subi Shah’s Works on Pangdure (Maruni) Performance is now under contract with Open Book Publishers. This volume will include the six works of Subi Shah’s that we are translating, along with audiovisual recordings of live performances of the songs and dances discussed…
Anna Stirr presented “Subi Shah’s Holistic Theory of Nepali Performing Arts” at the International Transdisciplinary Performing Arts Conference 2020, hosted by Sultan Idris Education University of Malaysia. View the presentation video below:
Subi Shah’s Works
The Art of Dance
In this introductory work on dance, Shah’s article outlines the dances and dance-dramas performed by the Pangdure (Maruni) troupes and others in the central Nepali hills.
Musical examples feature song lyrics with notated Madal drum accompaniment, as the tal or rhythmic cycles and their patterns played on the Madal both dictate the dance steps and give their names to the genres.
Glimpses of Nepali Folk Song
In this book we learn about more kinds of folk songs, their genre classifications according to tal, their poetic meters, their rhythmic characteristics, their melodies, and their role in social life in Shah’s village of Jyamrung, Dhading, and the surrounding areas.
Over 100 notated musical examples include lyrics, melody, and tal, with notes on performance practice including dance.
This book provides the mythological and recent history of the Madal drum, tells how it is made and used in central Nepal, and gives information about playing for Pangdure (Maruni) and related dances, songs, and dramas, in the popular tals Jhyaure, Khyali, Chudka, as well as the tals for the Charitra and Sorati (Sorathi) dance-dramas. This information is unprecedented in its detail, and found nowhere else in the literature on Nepali folk performance.
Introduction to Nepali Tunes
This unpublished manuscript introduces a theory of melodic modes based on the bamboo flutes and shahnai, and followed in the central Nepali hills. Notated examples of unmetered and metered tunes are included for each mode, and their general uses and associations are described.
In this unpublished manuscript, Shah goes into great detail about dance steps. Using a dance notation of his own creation, he shows how the steps of different dances relate to tal, song form, and story.
This is Shah’s transcription of the entire oral text of the Sorati dance-drama as he knows it, prefaced by an analytical essay. While other transcriptions of Sorati exist, this one exemplifies its performance in Shah’s regional tradition.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.