About Instruments INDIA

Recording session with the Bansuri (2013)

Instruments INDIA is the result of a partnership between MILAP and Liverpool Hope University that began in 2012, on a funded project by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), under their early career Translating Cultures Fellowship Awards.

This resulted in Dr. Manuella Blackburn working with Milap associated musicians, recording over 5 hours of musical material from approximately 28 different Indian instruments. These recordings formed the basis of a new digital recourse, created to bring current and future audiences closer to Indian classical music and its wide range of versatile instruments.

On this website, which you can visit HERE, users can can discover the background of each instrument, how it is played, and the type of setting it is normally played in. The sounds from the archive were also integrated into a series of experimental electronic works, exploring the position of culturally diverse materials in new contexts.

These new works include Dr. Manuella Blackburn's compositions New Shruti and Javaari, created in the first phase of the project in 2012-13, and then 4 new commissioned works by international composers in 2015-16 by Greg Dixon (USA), Steven Naylor (CAN), and Ish Shehrawat (India).

In 2016, the Instruments INDIA family expanded with the launch of an app featuring specially recorded sounds, images, and games to be used in an educational context. Discover more about this initial stage of the project on this video published by Common Cause.

Intercultural Creativity in Electroacoustic Music: Integrating Indian music cultural sound emblems into new works.

In 2021, Instruments INDIA received further funding from the AHRC's EDI Engagement Fellowship, to focus on increasing cultural diversity in sample packs, through using Instrument INDIA's extensive archive of recordings as the basis of a new sample pack that showcases Indian instruments.

Our main aim with this project is to widen engagement with Indian musical instruments, support educational work, and encourage new lines of creativity. In the process of creating the sample pack, we seek to access the role that professional musicians play in sample pack culture, re-centering their expertise and musical lineage - working directly with the contributing musicians who appear in the archive, to curate the samples from the existing archive of sound recordings.

Alongside the creation of the sample pack, there is a range of engagement events that will be held as part of this project, including an online panel event to share perspectives on sample pack representation, labeling, uptake, and issues of diversity in this industry, an online Music Education Training session on cultural sound inclusion in the classroom, and a Young Creator's Competition, inviting creators to make use of the sample pack that we create in musical works.

Then finally, based on our findings from throughout the project, we will create guidance and policy documents on diversity representation within sample pack development, which will be a code of practice for publication that will be available for sample pack users to engage with.

Research Video

Timeline ...


Instruments INDIA Sample Pack released on Loopmasters

Further Funding Received

Further funding received from AHRC's EDI Engagement Fellowship, to focus on increasing cultural diversity in sample packs.

Young Creator's Competition

Young Creator's Competition: we invited young creators to make use of our sample pack in new musical works.

Featured as a Case Study

Featured as a case study in the Common Cause report “Building Research Collaborations Between Universities and Black and Minority Ethnic Communities"

Launch of an Educational App

Launch of an educational app featuring specially recorded sounds, images, and games to be used in an educational context.

Commissioned 4 International Composers

Commissioned 4 international composers to make new music from the Instruments INDIA archive: Greg Dixon (USA), Steven Naylor (CAN), and Ish Shehrawat (India).

Two New Works

Dr Manuella Blackburn composed two new works with the archive of recordings - Javaari (2012-13) and New Shruti (2013).

EMS Conference

Electronic Music Studies Network Conference: Manuella and Alok presented a paper which focused on issues of sound collection from Indian musical instruments

AHRC Funding Success

Funding application successful for AHRC Translating Cultures Fellowship; a collaborative research project between Manuella Blackburn & Milap.

Recording Sessions

Recording sessions with Milap musicians, across the UK and India. Recording over 5 hours of musical material from approx 28 different Indian instruments.