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PG course on vocal music at university

Jorhat, Dec. 26: Dibrugarh University is about to launch a postgraduate course on vocal music that will be the first of its kind in the region.

Classes are scheduled to begin in September 2013.

The course will be divided into four semesters and the Dr Bhupen Hazarika Centre for Studies in Performing Arts — affiliated to the university — will run it.

The university’s board of studies has prepared the curriculum with the help of research scholars and experts of the region’s traditional music.

In 2011, the university launched a postgraduate course in Xattriya dance.This year, a course in theatre art was started.

Now, comes the vocal music course. These three courses are important components of performing arts on which the varsity runs an undergraduate programme since 2008.

The Bhupen Hazarika Centre’s director in-charge, Karabi Deka Hazarika, told The Telegraph that the decision to launch the master’s programme was taken by the university’s academic council on Monday.

Hazarika was hopeful that the new course would contribute to promoting folk and classical songs of the state and the region. The curriculum will focus specially on the music developed by Vaishnavite saint and philosopher Srimanta Sankardev and his disciple Madhabdeb, she said.

“Study on the features relating to borgeet, nator geet, ankiya geet, the instruments used in the rendition of these songs are in the course along with various forms of lokageets (folk songs),” the director said.

She said the curriculum also includes studies on genres of songs named after the cultural icons that penned them. Jyotisangeet (Jyoti Prasad Agarwalla), Rabhasangeet (Bishnu Prasad Rabha) and Bhupendrasangeet (after Bhupen Hazarika) have been included in the course.

Hazarika said the syllabus would cover the history of vocal music in the world and the Northeast.

The different trends of contemporary vocal music and its comparisons have also been included in the course.

Noted personalities associated with traditional vocal music would be brought in as guest lecturers, Hazarika sad. Priests from xatras would also be requested to take classes.

Each semester will have two theory papers and two practical papers. The medium of teaching will be both Assamese and English and the number of seats would be around 15.

The director said students from the degree course on performing arts run by the centre would be given preference to pursue the new postgraduate course.

Interested graduates from the general streams will have to hold a certificate of appreciation won at state or national-level competitions and will have to sit for an entrance examination.

Xattradhikar Narayan Chandra Goswami of Natun Kamalabari Xatra in Majuli and a scholar and researcher on xattirya culture and winner of Sankardev and Sahitya Akademi awards — has welcomed the university’s decision.