Drumming in Bhaktapur: Music of the Newar People of Nepal
by Gert-Matthias Wegner

This groundbreaking publication provides unique information about one of the Himalayan region’s greatest and most diverse musical cultures: the numerous drumming traditions of Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley are an important aspect of the traditional Newar culture, which flourished between the 13th and 18th centuries. The three Malla kingdoms of Bhaktapur, Lalitpur and Kathmandu competed in art, architecture, music, dance and opulent urban rituals celebrating the presence of the gods. Music served as a portal between the world of men and the realm of the gods.

The present study documents the role and repertoire of the various percussion genres in transcribed and commented form; it is suitable for both practical use and as teaching material. It also contains a dictionary of Newari terms from the field of music. Since the study focuses on musical life in Bhaktapur in the decade from 1983, it can serve as a reference point for comparison with the situation today. This publication is an excellent contribution to the preservation of Newar culture.

Gert-Matthias Wegner is a German ethnomusicologist. He founded and headed the Department of Music at Kathmandu University and also taught at the Free University of Berlin. He published primarily on drumming traditions in India and Nepal.

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