on Temple Musicians


Anand Sukumaran

Academic (Individual)

Mar'16 - Apr'16

Which sounds are most significant to the social group?

Research Question

- Understanding the Researcher’s frame to become aware of our biases
- Searching a social group who speaks the same language as the researcher to gain access & to become an insider in the social group
- Field visits – Participation Observation
- Field visits – Long Interview
- Transcription
- Open Coding and forming categories
- Interpreting
- Writing synthesis


Temple musicians social group consists of four people as described below. The group travelled from Andhra Pradesh state to Gujarat in search for work. This group task was to play puja keerthana on early morning, afternoon, evening and night before closing of temple.

This group was provided housing inside the temple premisses.

Most common challenges the group faced was during communicating with others as they don't speak Hindi language. Managing the family with the meager salary was tough on them. These circumstances made the group stay together and supporting each other.

The Social Group

Understanding on Social Group

The challenge through out the journey was as an outsider is to gain access & to become an insider in the social group. 

Throughout the research I was able to understand social groups

- Workspace Environment

- Every day routine

- Daily activities

- Social Group behaviour

- Group's challenges

- Puja keerthana, talam and music instruments

- Talam Sound

- Dhol adjustment sound

- Nadaswaram tune checking

- Humming sound during Keerthana

- Instruments sound

- Temple resonance music

- Hand clapping sound

- Temple Bell sound

- Breathing sound


- Music played through nose
- Rhythm in breathing
- Melody formed during morning by nature
- hand used to tap on my thigh automatically
- Together as a tough rope


The social group focus on working together and supporting each other. The beautiful melody composed by combining four instruments represent their moto. They believe that life is like a musical instrument which require regular tuning to bring out best & spread goodness to the nature. Respecting the work and tools brings you recognition from others. The way the social group lives can be metaphorically related with melody and music.



This artefact "Wind chime" was my narration of the social group (Temple Musicians)

- The bamboo tubes represent the temple musicians instruments

- Thread that holds bamboo and help them swing by nature was metaphor for social group

- The centre disk when hit with these bamboo tubes in wind rhythm produces beautiful melody.

- The cone represents there will to be together

Searching a social group who speaks the same language as the researcher, to gain access & to become an insider in the social group which I found challenging. I need to tune myself as my social group and adopt to there context to make them feel myself as part of there group. Decoding my autobiography helped me to remind myself to be as neutral as much possible during interaction with social group. During this study I learned few hacks to initiating conversation & understanding strangers point of view and trained myself to be fast adopter based on conversation & behaviour.

My Challenges