Recent scholarship on the history of music in South Asia has examined the processes by which music as an art form was reinvented for nationalist purposes, yet, the disciplined study of music (and its aesthetics) remains only a few centuries old. Studying music through a historical lens has opened new approaches to interdisciplinary studies. Music as History in Tamilnadu examines how history can be interpreted through aesthetics and music and vice versa.
Musicologists focus on the study of musical activity, while ethnomusicologists examine this activity first-hand using the 'field' research methods of cultural anthropology. The historian's task, then, is to interpret the musical past as part of cultural production and thereafter relate music to general historical trends. This collection of essays seeks to establish the interdisciplinarity between music (the Karnatak system) and the history of Tamilnadu, south India.