Discover Your Island

Dr. Bradley Shope

An Outstanding Islander

Outline photo of Dr. Bradley Shope

Expanding the Musical Scope

The most fulfilling part of Dr. Bradley Shope’s career is traveling to faraway countries and having the rare opportunity to develop close personal relationships with everyday people of that country for his research. Shope, who is an Ethnomusicologist, frequently travels to India to get a deeper understanding of that country’s music culture.

“My career is fieldwork based, so I have to go to India, find people that can help me with the research I am doing, and interview them,” said Shope. “These are not specialists in the field or people associated with universities or other powerful institutions; these are everyday people who have led impossibly fascinating lives.”

Shope has studied the music of India and has completed more than 15 years of fieldwork in Lucknow, Mumbai, New Delhi, and Kolkata. Most of Shope's fieldwork has been conducted in Lucknow, a city in North India.  Shope plans to continue expanding the scope of the music he researches by delving into more contemporary forms of music in India.

Recently, Shope co-edited the book, “More Than Bollywood: Studies in Indian Popular Music,” which identifies new ways of engaging popular music in India beyond the Bollywood musical canon. It is also the first published volume that explains the diverse styles and multiple histories of popular music in India and the effects Bollywood has had on many styles of contemporary music that have not been previously studied. It was published by Oxford University Press in New York and Oxford, with additional runs expected in India.

“I was surprised to learn of the immense diversity of styles of popular music in India, some of which I had never heard of before I started working with the contributors to this volume,” said Shope. “India has distinct regional areas, many with separate languages, and all of these regions and sub-regions have unique styles of music.”

Shope says the book tackles the relationship between technology and music, and identifies the larger framework that is relevant to the study of music across the globe, not just in India.

“This volume will provide a foundation for further research, and will influence others to tackle styles of music in India that have not been comprehensively studied,” Shope said. “This volume is just a start to truly understanding popular music in India.”