Exploring a wealth of rhythmic and melodic motifs: Interactive music session for and with Montessori teachers – Zurich

At the invitation of Christine Urand (Director, Rietberg Montessori School) Ludwig Pesch took the full assembly of teachers on a musical journey across South India: exploring a wealth of rhythmic and melodic motifs suitable for young learners while enabling parents, teachers and care-givers to enjoy music making themselves (even as “lay people”, musically speaking).

This event was also an occasion to explore and discuss the scope for actively participating in an intercultural dialogue, something the presenter has long been known for, while paying homage to Maria Montessori (*): be it as contributor to ISME World Conferences or in association with educational and cultural institutions across the entire spectrum: teacher training, kindergarten, schools, rehabilitation just as staff integration programmes; conservatoria and universities in several countries; and creative projects developed in association with the Goethe Institute and exhibition makers at internationally renowned museums.

Date: 1 March 2018. Events on similar lines have been developed in conjunction with Museum Rietberg (Zurich) on the occasion of exhibitions of rare Indian art (in collaboration with art education staff).

Deutsch: Eine musikalische Reise für alle >>

* From 1939 until 1947 Dr. Maria Montessori worked closely with Rukmini Devi, founder of Kalakshetra (est. in 1936 in Adyar/Madras, now part of Chennai), an institution established for the integration of India’s cultural heritage and learning. Kalakshetra stands for an integrated approach to education all realms education – social, economic, crafts and performing arts, being both inspired and guided by India’s first Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore whose  pioneering concept for informal learning was first tested and further developed at Santiniketan (“abode of peace”).

These pioneering efforts remain as relevant today as in the early 20th century when Maria Montessori and her associates realized that true education is more than a tool for succeeding in life as an individual or member of one’s own society: it is the very key to world peace and social justice (see, for example, her 1932 “Peace and Education” lecture published by the International Bureau of Education, Geneva).

Contribution to the world conference of the International Society for Music Education in Glasgow – ISME 2016

“Yours figuratively: Indian music in intercultural education”


Music counts among the proverbial “64 arts and skills” of ancient India where it became synonymous with “leading a fulfilled life”. Thus, having evolved along with other pursuits, Indian music is an interdisciplinary concept that connects people irrespective of age and cultural background. It is in this context that we explore the world of musical figures: figures that convey subtle meaning while symbolizing the very joy of participating in music making of a high order.  Rather than borrowing sounds from a supposedly exotic culture, we apply the building blocks of Indian music for several good reasons: for their accessibility in the context of intercultural education and, of course, for their intrinsic value and beauty.

Learners tap into the mind-boggling world of India’s musical ideas. Tiny musical figures are adapted in a manner that has stood the test of time. While being fun on first hearing they also lend themselves to being visualized and analyzed for non-musical purposes.

This teaching method lends itself to classroom and lifelong learning across the entire social spectrum: it adds colour to other school subjects like maths, languages, geography or physical fitness; and requiring no more than voices, hands and open-mindedness, it kindles communication where there is a lack of time and resources, or even a common language. Figuratively yours, ours truly!

Ludwig Pesch studied at Freiburg University from where he went to India in order to be trained and perform as bamboo flautist. Since then he develops intercultural activities that suit the needs of children, music students and teachers; and also for museum education (e.g. family programmes for Museum Rietberg Zurich in conjunction with Indian art exhibitions).

He authored The Oxford Illustrated Companion to South Indian Classical Music and among other writings, contributed to the journal of the Gesellschaft für Musikforschung (Goettingen University “Music | Musics. Structures and Processes“) and to Integrated Music Education. Challenges for Teaching and Teacher Training by M. Cslovjecsek and M. Zulauf, forthcoming). Among his research projects are “Sam, Reflection, Gathering Together!” (Bern University of the Arts in collaboration with Natanakairali, Research and Performing Center for Traditional Arts in Kerala). His ideas on collaborative work are summarized by the acronym AIUME for “Adapting Indian Universals in Music Education”. (www.aiume.org)

Find publications by Ludwig Pesch on worldcat.org >> >>

“Unity in Diversity, Antiquity in Contemporary Practice? South Indian Music Reconsidered

Musik_Politik_Identität_Cover-2016“Unity in Diversity, Antiquity in Contemporary Practice? South Indian Music Reconsidered” by Ludwig Pesch (Amsterdam) in Gardner, Matthew; Walsdorf, Hanna (Hrsg.). Musik – Politik – Identität. Göttingen: Universitätsverlag, 2016 (Musikwissenschaften)

This essay evolved from a presentation for participants at the music conference “Music | Musics. Structures and Processes” held at Goettingen University (4-8 September 2012); with due credits to the editors.

ISBN13: 978-3-86395-258-7

Softcover, 17×24, 218 S.: 24,00 € Online Ausgabe, PDF (3.681 MB)

© 2016: Creative Commons licence Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International


The “classical” music of South India is an amalgam of regional traditions and practices. Increasingly codified in the past five centuries, it is now known as Carnatic or Karnatak music. Like the Sanskrit term Karnâtaka Sangîtam, these Anglicisms denote “traditional” music besides distinguishing South Indian music from its northern (Hindustani) counterpart. Progressive scholars have long espoused the common goal of making teaching more effective for both idioms while safeguarding “authentity”. It may therefore seem odd that detailed notation has not been embraced by practitioners.

This paper probes the resilience of oral transmission in the face of modernity. It looks into the concerns shared by musicians who, while belonging to different cultures and periods, have much in common as far as performing practice is concerned: close integration of vocal and instrumental music. The role of manuscripts in Minnesang, as described by McMahon, also applies to Carnatic music: “songs were handed down in an oral tradition [and] the manuscripts were not intended to be used by performers.” (The Music of Early Minnesang Columbia SC, 1990.)

It will be argued that this fact is not just a question of some musicians’ conservatism, ignorance or irrationality; nor would it put the continuity of a living tradition at risk. On the contrary, Carnatic music reaches global audiences today while “ancient” roots are claimed even by those who cherish its association with musicians from other cultures throughout the 20th century.

About this publication

Music – Politics – Identity

Music always mirrors and acts as a focal point for social paradigms and discourses surrounding political and national identity. The essays in this volume combine contributions on historical and present-day questions about the relationship between politics and musical creativity.

The first part concentrates on musical identity and political reality, discussing ideological values in musical discourses.

The second part deals with (musical) constructions, drwawing on diverse national connections within our own and foreign identity.

Matthew Gardner & Hanna Walsdorf (eds.)

Musik – Politik – Identität

Musik ist immer auch Spiegel und Kristallisationspunkt gesellschaftlicher Paradigmen und politisch-nationaler Identitätsdiskurse. Der vorliegende Sammelband vereint Beiträge zu historischen und gegenwärtigen Fragestellungen, die um das Verhältnis von Politik und musikalischem Schaffen kreisen.

Im ersten Teil sind Beiträge zusammengefasst, die sich mit „Musikalischer Identität und politischer Realität“ befassen und dabei ideologische Zuschreibungsprozesse im Musikdiskurs thematisieren.

Der zweite Teil des Bandes umfasst Betrachtungen über „(Musikalische) Konstruktionen von eigener und fremder Identität“ aus verschiedensten nationalen Zusammenhängen.

Matthew Gardner & Hanna Walsdorf (Hg.)

Inhalt / Contents

Hanna Walsdorf und Matthew Gardner

I Musikalische Identität und politische Realität

Hanna Walsdorf
Deutsche Nationalmusik? Ein diskursgeschichtlicher Annäherungsversuch

Mauro Fosco Bertola
„Die Musik ist mediterran“: Orient, Latinität und Musikgeschichte, oder: Wie Nietzsche 1937 Italiens koloniale Macht legitimieren sollte

Yvonne Wasserloos
„Nordische Musik“ als Faktor der Propaganda der Nordischen Gesellschaft und der DNSAP in Dänemark um 1940

Simon Nußbruch
„Was ließen jene, die vor uns schon waren…?“ Musik in der Bündischen Jugend nach 1945

Gilbert Stöck
Methoden musikalischer Opposition in Portugal während der Salazar-Diktatur bei Jorge Peixinho und José Afonso

Paul Christiansen
‘The Stakes Are Too High For You to Stay Home’: Divergent Uses of Music in TV Political Ads in the 1964 U.S. Presidential Election

II (Musikalische) Konstruktionen von eigener und fremder Identität

Matthew Gardner
‘Das Land ohne Musik’? National Musical Identity in Victorian and Edwardian England

Rebekka Sandmeier
Reflections of European Culture in the Grey Collection (National Library of South Africa)

Mario Dunkel
Jazz and the Emergence of the African-Roots Theory

Dorothea Suh
Achim Freyers Mr. Rabbit and the Dragon King: Eine Interpretation des koreanischen P’ansori Sugungga

Ludwig Pesch
Unity in Diversity, Antiquity in Contemporary Practice? South Indian Music Reconsidered

Search for other publications by these authors in a library near you: 
WorldCat.org >>

Manickam Yogeswaran in World Premiere: “Ode an die Nacht” by Harald Weiss

Yoga_PR_Portrait_B_webPostponed – check here for updates or view Manickam Yogeswara’s  Facebook page

Original schedule: Bremen, Sonntag, 31.05.2015 | 18:00 Uhr | Glocke, Großer Saal
Harald Weiss: »Ode an die Nacht« (Uraufführung)
»Und das Licht scheint in der Finsternis«

Manickam Yogeswaran Indischer Gesang
Elsbeth Moser Bajan
Peter Müller Synthesizer und Klavier
Kinderchor aus Bremen
Joshard Daus Dirigent

“Beginnend und endend in der Dunkelheit beschreibt die »Ode an die Nacht« die Evolution des Daseins in den verschiedensten musikalischen Formen, stets getragen von der menschlichen Stimme. Allein die Verbindung von dem indischen Sänger Yogeswaran mit den schönen Chorstimmen der EuropaChorAkademie zeigt die Mannigfaltigkeit des Werkes. Dazu wird das Publikum nicht nur klanglich in die Nacht eingeladen, sondern durch ein beeindruckendes Lichtkonzept wird die »Ode an die Nacht« eine audiovisuelle Gesamterfahrung.”

Mehr Informationen und Reservierung >>

Bambusquerflöte & Tambura (Konzert mit Workshop) – Deutsch-Indische Gesellschaft

Ludwig Pesch (Bambusquerflöte) & Arnulf Merckens (Tambura)

Datum: Di 8. April 2014 (19:00)

Ort: Kulturzentrum KoKi (Pumpe) Raum 1, Haßstraße 22, 24103 Kiel – Anfahrt

VeranstalterDeutsch-Indische Gesellschaft Kiel e.V. – digkiel@googlemail.com

Die Musiker

Ludwig_Pesch_0726webLudwig Pesch (1955) spezialisierte sich auf die südindische Bambusquerflöte, als er am  Kalakshetra College bei Ramachandra Shastry (1906-92) studierte. Gemeinsam mit ihm konzertierte er bei zahlreichen Anlässen.

In Zusammenarbeit mit den Universitäten von Lüneburg und Würzburg entwickelte er e-Learning Angebote. Er verfasste das Handbuch The Oxford Illustrated Companion to South Indian Classical Music und gestaltet Programme, bei denen Gestaltungselemente aus der indischen Musik für den pädagogischen Alltag nutzbar gemacht werden. Mehr >>

Arnulf Merckens (1952) ist ein Schüler des Sitar-Spielers Ashraf Sharif Khan aus Lahore. Von 2000 bis 2007 erlernte er zunächst das Tambura- und Tablaspielen. Ab 2003 erhielt er auch Sitar- und Urdu-Unterricht von ihm. Er hat seinen Lehrer mehrfach bei Konzerten auf der Tambura begleitet.


In ihrem einstündigen Konzert präsentieren die Musiker eine Auswahl karnatischer Ragas und Kompositionen.

Anschließend bieten sie ihren Zuhörern die Gelegenheit zum informellen Austausch. Neben Fragen zum Konzert besteht die Möglichkeit, die Tambura auch selbst zu spielen sowie rhythmische Silben und die für Talas gebräuchlichen Finger- und Handgesten auszuprobieren.

Die Teilnahme am Workshop erfordert keinerlei Vorkenntnisse und ist für alle Altersgruppen geeignet.

Flute sculpture in Somnathpur (Karnataka) – Photo © Ludwig Pesch
Flute sculpture in Somnathpur (Karnataka) – Photo © Ludwig Pesch

Karnatische Musik

Südindien ist für seine melodische Musik und mitreißenden Rhythmen bekannt. Eine Musiklehre und auch die dort gebräuchliche Art des Musizierens lassen sich bis in das Altertum zurückverfolgen. Seither haben Maler, Bildhauer und die Autoren der klassischen Tamil- und Sanskritliteraturen gerne das Musizieren mit Instrumenten dargestellt. Gesang- und Instrumentalrepertoire sind so zu einem Ganzen verschmolzen.

Eine vergleichbare Auffassung liegt dem schöpferische Mitgestalten zugrunde. Musikschaffende, Amateurmusiker wie Musikliebhaber nehmen daran auch im “Internet-Zeitalter” teil – vielleicht mehr denn je.

Artikel zur südindischen Musik und ihrer Vermittlung 

What Makes Music European: Looking Beyond Sound – book recommendation (ignoring its author’s warning)

Sorce Keller, Marcello. What Makes Music European: Looking Beyond Sound.
Europea: Ethnomusicologies and Modernities, 12. Lanham: Scarecrow Press,
2012. xxv, 303 pp., bibliography, index. ISBN 978-0-8108-7671-2.

Great reading for anyone interested in fresh cultural perspectives; backed up by a wealth of sources and covering a mind boggling range of topics!

In short: serious scholarship yet fun to read. So don’t let its author deter you:

Judging from the feedback I am beginning to receive, it seems like I am becoming the person many “classical music adepts” most love to hate…

Source: Bookish Stuff – MSK about Music
Address : http://www.marcellosorcekeller.com/bookish-stuff/
Date Visited: Sun Dec 30 2012 18:19:11 GMT+0100 (CET)