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Research



The following items may be useful for future researchers on various aspects of Christian music in India.

[ If you have any comments on any item, or if you know about an item that should be included here, please contact Joseph J. Palackal (jpalackal at gmail dot com) ]



This page contains the following sections:
  • Research Listings
  • Resources for Researchers
  • Research Recordings



  • Research Listings

    Bibliography

    1. Palackal, Joseph J. The Survival Story of Syriac Chants among the St. Thomas Christians in South India. In The Oxford Handbook of Music and World Christianities, edited by Jonathan Dueck and Suzel A. Reily. Oxford University Press. (Forthcoming).Abstract.

    2. Palackal, Joseph J. Documenting the Last Remnants of the Aramaic Language and Music among the Syro-Malabar Catholics in Kerala, India. Project in progress. Description

    3. Palackal, Joseph J. Music & Colour: Oktoechos of the Orthodox Christians in Kerala. Sponsor: The Catholic University of America, Washington, D. C. Work in progress.

    4. Zoe, Sherinian C. 2013. Tamil Folk Music as Dalit Liberation Theology. Indiana University Press.

    5. Palackal, Joseph J. 2013. Qurbānā ("Offering"): The Eucharistic Celebration of the Syro-Malabar Church.

    6. Heath, Joanna. An Exploration of the Christian Music of the Indigenous Mizo People of Mizoram, India. Durham University, UK. Adviser: Martin Clayton. Research in progress at the Academy of Integrated Christian Studies, Aizawl, India.

    7. Mamoottil Paily, George. 2011. West Syriac Musical Tradition of Beth Gazo in India with Music Notation. Ph. D. dissertation. International Faculty of Syriac Studies, SEERI. Kottayam, Kerala, India.

    8. Morehouse, Katherine, H. 2011. Perspectives on the Uses and Functions of Chenta Ensembles in the Religious Festival Processions of Kerala, India. Doctoral thesis. Graduate School of the University of Maryland (USA). Advisory committee: J. Lawrence Witzleben (Chair), Joseph J. Palackal, et al.

    9. George, Wilson. 2008. Promoting the Use of South Indian Christian Music for Faith Formation Among Indian Christians. Doctoral thesis. The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
      Advisor: Donald Heet. ProQuest ID: 1453211581 `.

    10. Robinson, Scott. Singing the Lord's Song in a Foreign Land: Music in the South Indian Churches of Philadelphia. IV(3), Ethnodoxology.

    11. Palackal, Joseph J. and Thaila, George. 2007. Solemn High Mass of the Syro-Malabar Church. [Musical setting of the English version of Mass in the Chaldean rite of the Syro-Malabar Church; CD with 16-page booklet, 7 photographs, music example, and bibliography; soloists: Joseph J. Palackal, Feba Thoyalil, and Marianne Thaila; recorded at Martin's Digital, Queens, New York] Chicago: St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese of Chicago. (SMC 101 - 2007). Review : Paul D. Greene, Ethnomusicology, vol. 54, no. 2 (Spring/Summer 2010), p. 360. Library catalogs

    12. Palackal, Joseph J., Thaila, George, and Kurisingal, Dennis. 2007. Qurbānā: Solemn High Mass of the Syro-Malabar Church. Music Notation [16 melodies for Mass in Western staff notation with chordal accompaniment; illustrations by Dan Fuller]. Chicago and Aluva: St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese of Chicago and Christian Musicological Society of India.

    13. Palackal, Joseph J. 2005. Syriac Chant Traditions in South India. A study of the contemporary practice of model melodies of the Chaldean rite in the Syro-Malabar Church, and the oktoechos ("eight voices") of the Antiochene rite in the Orthodox churches. Doctoral thesis. Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Director: Stephen Blum. (ProQuest ID 888835631). Abstract. Proposal.
      Harvard University Library Hollis Catalog : 009961103
      New York Public Library Catalog : 16451420052

    14. Poovathingal, Paul. 2005. Karnatic Music and Christianity. A critical study of the influence of Karnatic music on the Christian music of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Doctoral thesis. University of Madras, Chennai. Director: Karaikudi S. Subramanian.

    15. Sherinian, Zoe C. 2005. The Indigenization of Tamil Christian Music: Musical Style and Liberation Theology. The World of Music, vol. 47, no. 1, pp. 125-165.

    16. Palackal, Joseph J. 2005. Kerala, Kochi, Trivandrum. Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, vol. 5: Asia and Oceania, edited by John Shepherd, et al. London and New York: The Continuum International Publishing Group, pp. 91-92, 104-105, 117-118.

    17. Palackal, Joseph J. 2004. Oktoechos of the Syrian Orthodox Churches in South India. Ethnomusicology, vol. 48, no. 2, pp. 229-250. Abstract. Read full article here: PDF

    18. Palackal, Joseph J. 2004. Interface Between History and Music in the Christian Context of South India. [A survey of the musical history of the Syro-Malabar Church in Kerala, India, shows the mutuality of musical and historical inquiries in which musicological discourse assumes a significant role as a tool in historiography] Christianity and Native Cultures: Perspectives From Different Regions of the World. Cyriac Pullapilly, et al., eds. Notre Dame, Indiana: Cross Cultural Publications, pp. 150-161. PDF

    19. Palackal, Joseph J. 2003. Kudumba praarthanayum bhajana gaanangalum [Family Prayer and Bhajan Songs] [Fr. Proksh SVD (1904-1986) was one of the pioneers in adapting the bhajan style of music in Catholic worship in India. In the 1960s, Dharmaram College and the National Biblical Catechetical and Liturgical Center (NBCLC), Bangalore, gave leadership in creating an "Indian liturgy" that adapted Hindu terminologies and Indian classical music. Although Indian liturgy has lost popularity, Christian bhajans continue to have currency among the Catholics in Kerala.] Kudumbadeepam (March 2003), pp. 6-8, 14. Language: Malayalam.

    20. Palackal, Joseph J. 2002. Qambel Maran: Syriac Chants from South India. CD with 29 chants, 16-page booklet in English, map, 7 photographs, and bibliography. Chants in Syriac (Aramaic) from the Chaldean liturgy of the Syro-Malabar Church of the St. Thomas Christians. Includes chants from the liturgy of the Hours, Raza, funeral services, Syriac translation of Latin chants by St.Thomas Aquinas, and chants for special occasions such as wedding and celebration of the feast of the Blessed Virgin and saints. Performers include Fr. Abel Periyappuram, CMI (1920-2001), Fr. Probus Perumalil, CMI, et al. Recorded in Kerala, South India, in 1999 and 2000. (PAN 2085). Library catalogs & Reviews

    21. Sherinian, Zoe C. 2002. Dalit Theology in Tamil Christian Folk Music: A Transformative Liturgy by James Theophilus Appavoo. Popular Christianity in India: Riting Between the Lines. Selva Raj and Corinne Dempsey, eds. Albany: SUNY Press, pp. 233-253.

    22. Vallavanthara, Antony. 2001. The Liturgical Contributions of Blessed Chavara. Article

    23. Palackal, Joseph J. 2001. India: Christian Music. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 2nd edn., vol. 12, edited by Stanley Sadie, John Tyrell. London: Macmillan Publishers, pp. 233-34, 237.

    24. Palackal, Joseph J. 2001. Mando. [A composite genre of poetry, music, and dance, popular among the Catholics of Goa and the neighboring regions of the west coast of India]. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd edn., vol. 15, edited by Stanley Sadie, John Tyrell. London: Macmillan Publishers, pp. 736-37.

    25. Palackal, Joseph J. 2000. Kalayum kraisthawa wiswaasawum: oru bhaaratheeya samwaadam [Art and Christian Faith: an Indian Dialogue] [Christianity in India is believed to be as old as Christianity itself. Yet Christian artists in India, by and large, are reluctant to interpret faith through images inspired by their local cultures. Instead, most Christian families and institutions proudly exhibit pictures of blue-eyed, blond-haired Jesus and Mary, painted by European artists. By giving an Indian definition to Christian faith, artists can contribute not only to Catholic Christianity, but also to Indian art.] Sathyadeepam, vol. 74 (November 8, 2000), p. 5. Language: Malayalam.

    26. Palackal, Joseph J. 2000. [Kerala] Christian Musical Traditions. The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, vol. 5: South Asia: the Indian Subcontinent, edited by Alison Arnold. New York and London: Garland Publishing, pp. 944-947.

      Review: `The articles on Kerala, by Groesbeck and Palackal, and Sri Lanka, by Sheeran, are two of the very best in the entire encyclopedia.'
      -- Wolf, Richard K. 2004. Book Review: Alison Arnold, ed., The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music: South Asia: the Indian Subcontinent, Ethnomusicology, vol. 48, no. 2, pp. 278-283.

    27. Palackal, Joseph J. 2000. [Kerala] Jewish Music. The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, vol. 5: South Asia: the Indian Subcontinent, edited by Alison Arnold. New York and London: Garland Publishing, pp. 948-949.

      Review: `The articles on Kerala, by Groesbeck and Palackal, and Sri Lanka, by Sheeran, are two of the very best in the entire encyclopedia.'
      -- Wolf, Richard K., Book Review: Alison Arnold, ed., The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music: South Asia: the Indian Subcontinent, Ethnomusicology, vol. 48, no. 2, pp. 278-283.

    28. Sardo, Susana. 2000. Goa. The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, vol. 5: South Asia: the Indian Subcontinent, edited by Alison Arnold. New York and London: Garland Publishing, pp. 735-741.

    29. Sherinian, Zoe C. 2000. [Tamil Nadu] Christian Music. The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, vol. 5: South Asia: the Indian Subcontinent, edited by Alison Arnold. New York and London: Garland Publishing, pp. 921-927. Cvf

    30. Palackal, Joseph J. 1999. Problems and Issues in the Study of the Syriac Chant Traditions in South India. [The St. Thomas Christians in India continue to preserve the Chaldean and Antiochene liturgies and chants in Syriac (Aramaic) that originated in the Middle East. The richness and the diversity in these chant traditions demand more scholarly attention than what they received in the past. A history of Indian music may be incomplete without the history of Syriac chants.] Christian Orient, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 176-81.

    31. Palackal, Joseph J. 1999. Sangeethawum sabhaacharitrawum gaweshana weekshanathil [Music and Church History: Research Perspectives] [Musical memories handed down from generation to generation through oral transmission among Christians in Kerala preserve the stories of cultural and religious interactions between South India, the Middle East, and Europe.] Sathyadeepam, vol. 73 (August 18, 1999), pp. 5, 11. Language: Malayalam.

    32. Sherinian, Zoe C. 1998. The Indigenization of Tamil Christian Music: Folk Music as a Liberative Transmission System. Doctoral thesis. Wesleyan University, Connecticut. Director: Mark Slobin. (ProQuest ID: 737021961). Abstract.

    33. Palackal, Joseph J. 1995. Puthen paana: A Musical Study. An analysis of the intercultural processes that influenced the singing styles of Puthen paana, an eighteenth-century Malayalam poem by John Earnest Hanxleden, in the historical context of Christianization and religious colonization in South India. Master's thesis. Hunter College-CUNY. Director: Barbara L. Hampton. (ProQuest ID: 740455261). Abstract.
      New York Public Library Catalog : 13627824052

    34. Barboza, Francis P. 1990. Christianity in Indian Dance Forms. Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications.

    35. Choondal, Chummar. 1988. Christian Folklore. Vol. I. Thrissur: Kerala Folklore Academy.

    36. Palackal, Joseph J. and Ephraim, Indumathi. 1985. Kristu Sahasra Naamam [Thousand Names of Christ] [Selections from the Sanskrit poem of the same title by I. C. Chacko, Illiparambil, composed in semi-classical style.] Pre-recorded cassette. FDMIC 210. Deccan Records, Bangalore. Text: I. C. Chacko, Illiparambil. Music: Anto Amarnad, CMI. Lead singers: Joseph Palackal and Indumathi Ephraim. Accompanying booklet with transliteration and English translation of the text by Francis Vineeth, CMI.

    37. Palackal, Joseph J. 1980. Aaraadhanakramatthil sangeethatthinulla sthaanam [The Role of Music in Liturgy] [The ancient Syriac (Aramaic) chant tradition is one of the identity markers of the Syro-Malabar Church in Kerala, India. Preservation of these chants should go hand in hand with adaptation of Indian classical and semi-classical styles of music in liturgy.] St. Mary's Forane Church Souvenir, Pallippuram, India, pp. 71-77. Language: Malayalam.

    38. Palackal, Joseph J. 1979. Christian Bhajans. Long Play (LP) Record. LDEC 102. Deccan Records, Bangalore. 12 bhajans in Malayalam. Principal vocalist: Joseph Palackal. Chorus singers: Sunny Mampilly, Molly Madathiparambil, Jacintha Jose. Liner notes: Thomas Aykara, CMI. Cover design: Joy Elamkunnapuzha, CMI. Recorded at HMV Studios, Gemini, Madras, April 12-13, 1978.

    39. Palackal, Joseph J. 1977. Kristeeya gaanangal [Christian Songs]. 45-RPM Extended Play (EP) Record. EDEC 1002. Deccan Records, Bangalore. 3 Christian devotional songs in Malayalam. Solo vocalist: Joseph Palackal. Lyrics: Cherian Kunianthodath CMI. Music: K. J. Joy. Liner notes: A. Mathias Mundadan, CMI. Recorded at HMV Studio, Gemini, Madras.



    Resources for Researchers



    1. Marriage Customs and Songs of the Syrian Christians of Malabar by Dr. P. J. Thomas



      For a digital copy of the book please contact us at info@thecmsindia.org


    2. Manuscript of Syriac chants in staff notation by Fr.Aiden Kulathinal, C. M. I.



      Copied in 1948 from an earlier manuscript (now lost) by Fr. Aiden Kulathinal, C. M. I., at St. Theresa’s Monastery at Ampazhakkadu, Kerala. So far as we know, this manuscript contains the earliest transcriptions of model melodies from the liturgy of the Hours in the Chaldean rite of the Syro-Malabar Church, India. The 27 pages are divided into three sections: pages 1-14 contain 51 Syriac melodies from the Hours; pages 15-19 consist of notation of what looks like Western melodies (to be verified) without text underlay; and pages 20-27 contain Marian litanies in Latin with Syriac translation. The Syriac texts are written in Malayalam script. The original copy is at the library at Acharaya Palackal Jeevass Kendram, Aluva, Kerala. See more details in Palackal 2005, pp. 134-135.

      Letter written by Fr. Aiden Kulathinal, C. M. I. to Joseph. J. Palackal.


    3. Dewaalya geethangal (Malayalam, “Church hymns”), edited by Fr. Basselios of St. Theresa, T. O. C. D.




      Printed at St. Mary’s Press, Elthuruth (1902). 172 pages (10 cms x 15 cms). The book contains text of Syriac hymns for various occasions, for the use of the church choir. A large number of hymns are translations of Latin chants that were composed anew in Kerala. Names of translators and composers of the melodies are unknown. The text is printed in Malayalam script, indicating that Syriac literacy was on the wane among the lay people in the Syro-Malabar Church, by the end of the 19th century.


    4. The Syriac-Malayalam Hymnal, edited by Rev.Saldanha A, S. J.





      Printed at Codialbail Press, Mangalore, for the Cathedral Church, Calicut, in 1937. Pp. 27 + 181 + x + v. Part I: Syriac chants of the solemn high mass of the Chaldeo-Syrian rite of Kerala (text transliterated in Malayalam, music in Western staff notation). Part II: Malayalam devotional songs in Western staff notation. This is the first publication of Syriac melodies in staff notation in India. Probably, these melodies were composed in Kerala. The Preface (in English and Malayalam, pp. 9-18) by Rev. Saldanha is quite informative, among other things, on the status Christian music in Kerala in the first quarter of the twentieth century. See Foreword, Preface, and Table of Contents


    5. Kerala Kaldaaya Suriyaani Reethile Thirukkarmma Geethangal by Fr.Mathew Vadakel and Fr. Aurelius.





      Kerala Kaldaaya Suriyaani Reethile Thirukkarmma Geethangal (Liturgical hymns of the Chaldeo-Syrian rite of Kerala), edited by Fr. Mathew Vadakel and Fr. Aurelius. Syriac texts transliterated in Malayalam script; music in staff notation. Printed at Codialbail Press, Mangalore. Published by S. H. League, Aluva. 1954. See Cover page and Table of Contents.

    6. Syriac Translation of Latin Chants

      The CD, Qambel Maran: Syriac Chants from South India contains six chants (tracks 19 to 24) from an interesting repertoire of texts that were translated from Latin into Syriac in Kerala during the Portuguese period. These texts were composed anew in Kerala, mostly for paraliturgical services. See a preliminary study of the Syriac version of the famous Latin chant Pange Lingua by St. Thomas Aquinas, in Palackal (2005: 112-117). These chants are reference points for a special period in the history of Christianity and Christian music in India .


    7. Die Melodien des Chaldaischen... by Heinrich Husmann





      Die Melodien des Chaldaischen Breviers Communenach denTraditionen Vorderasiens und der Malabarküste, edited by Heinrich Husmann. Orientalia Christiana Analecta, no. 178. Rome: Pontificum Institutum Orientalium Studiorum, 1967. Part I: Die Melodien des Commune des Chaldaischen Breviers, ach der tradition des vorderen orientes. Gesungen von P. Ephrem Bede, Chaldaischer Chorbischof, Patriarchalvikar in Kairo. Part II: Die Melodien des commune des Chaldaischen Breviers, nach der tradition der Indischen christen der Malabarkuste. Gesungen von P. Amos C. M. I., Generelakonom des Ordens Carmelitarum Mariae Immaculatae, Prior General’s House, Ernakulam, Kerala.


    8. Puratanappatukal (Ancient Songs [of the Syrian Christians of Malabar]) by P. U. Lukas.




      Compiled by P. U. Lukas (Puthenpurackal Uthup Lukas). 10th ed. Kottayam: Jyothi Book House. 2002. First published in 1910. Pp. xxxiv + 240. This book includes the complete text (pp.142 - 155) of the songs of Marggam Kali.


    9. Kristeeya Keerthanangal (Christian Hymns): Staff Notation




      Published by Department of Sacred Music and Communications, The Mar Thoma Syrian Church, Thiruvalla (2002). Pp. ii + 757. Contains notation of over 484 melodies from the liturgy of the Mar Thoma Church. Certain significant details regarding the structure of the lyrics (pallawi-anupallawi-charanam, for example) and meter are missing in this edition. For these and other important information on the hymns, researchers may consult Malankara Mar Thoma suriyani sabha parasyaradhanakramam (Order of Public Worship of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church), published by the Mar Thoma Sabha Publication Board, Thiruvalla.

      A call-to-attention to the rich repertoire of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church can be found in Palackal 2005, pp. 123-125.


    10. Funeral services for priests and bishops in the Chaldean rite of the Syro-Malabar Church.

      Edta pus lek baslaamma (Syriac, "O church remain in peace") / Witawaangunnen (Malayalam, "May I bid farewell")

      a. The Malayalam version Witawaangunnen sung by Fr. Abel, C. M. I. Recorded on 20 Sep 1997 at Joseph J. Palackal's office in Maspeth, New York during Fr. Abel's visit to U. S. A.


      b. The Syriac version sung by Fr. Probus Perumalil, C. M. I. (1922-2009) can be heard on track 18 in Qambel Maran. Fr. Perumalil’s rendition has a different vocal inflection.

      c. Click here to see the Syriac and Malayalam versions sung by Fr. George Plathottam (b. 1933). Recorded on 3 September 2011 at Old Cathedral Church, Pala, Kerala. This version is slightly different from Fr. Abel's and Fr. Perumalil's renditions. For example, the highest pitch in the melody in Fr. Plathottam's version appears in the first phrase, whereas it appears in the second phrase in the other two versions. Fr. Abel's and Fr. Perumalil's versions seem to be musically more logical.

      d. A preliminary study of this chant can be found in Joseph J. Palackal’s chapter, "The Survival Story of Syriac Chants among the St. Thomas Christians in South India," in The Oxford Handbook of Music and World Christianities. Oxford University Press (forthcoming).

      e. Syriac text of the chant, printed at Mar Thoma Sleeha Press, Aluva (1948).



      f. The Syriac text printed at St. Joseph’s Press, Mannanam (1921) shows the history of different transmission of the text of this chant (see Ktawa dtesmesta dahlap annide [Book of Services for the Dead], p. 220). Joseph J. Palackal’s study is based on the Mannanam text.

      g. Malayalam translation of the chant by Fr. George Plathottam.




      h. Malayalam version of this chant by Fr. Abel Periyappuram, C. M. I.




    11. Funeral services for priests in the Syro-Malankara church

      Chants sung by Fr.Paul Nilackal Thekkethil. Recorded at Oasis Digital Studio, Ranni, Kerala on 18-19 Feb 2012. In this recording, electronic tamburu was used for sruti; in actual service organ, keyboard, or harmonium is used for accompaniment.



    Research Recordings


    1. Fr. Abel Periyapuram, C. M. I. sings Syriac melodies and their Malayalam translations from the liturgy of the Syro-Malabar Church for the research of Joseph J. Palackal. Recorded at Kalabhavan Studio in Dec 1997.

    2. Fr. Abel Periyapuram, C. M. I. sings Syriac and Malayalam versions of melodies from the liturgy of the Syro-Malabar Church. Introduction by Joseph J. Palackal. Recorded on 22 July 1998 at ASA Music Productions in Mount Vernon, New York.

    3. Fr. Abel Periyapuram, C. M. I. sings Malayalam version of model melodies from the liturgy of the Hours of the Syro-Malabar Church for the doctoral study of Joseph J. Palackal. Recorded at Fr. Abel's office at Kalabhavan, Kochi, Kerala on 23 Aug 2001.

    4. Fr. Abel Periyapuram, C. M. I. sings chants from the liturgy of the Syro-Malabar Church. Recorded at Joseph J. Palackal's office in Maspeth, New York on 20 Sep 1997 during Fr. Abel's visit to U. S. A. Of special interest is the conversation between Fr. Abel and Joseph J. Palackal on the rhythmic aspects of these melodies.

    5. K. V. Job interviewed by Fr. Kurian Puthenpurackal, C. M. I. on Puthen paana for the research on the same topic by Joseph J. Palackal (see item no.27 under 'Research'). The interview was conducted at Job Master's residence on 18 May 1992.

    6. Traditional christian songs in Malayalam. Recorded at the request of Joseph J. Palackal by Sr.Tessy, M. S. G and Sr.Juliet, M. S. G in 1988

    7. Joseph J. Palackal in conversation with Esthappan Ouseph at the latter's residence in Houston, TX on 16 May 2010. Note: Of special interest is a hilarious prescription for barren women to bear children, and a special melody at 2:35 and a song of blessing for newly wed couples at 4:42

    8. Vaasagapa on St.Anthony recorded by Fr.Michael Bhackiam (last name to be verified ?) in Tamilnadu. Exact location to be verified.

    9. Traditional christian songs in Tamil recorded by Fr.Michael Bhackiam (last name to be verified ?) in Tamilnadu. Exact location to be verified. The contents are: Prayer Song Hail Holy Queen Prayer song for marriage Song on our Lady For Death Song on St.Anthony