Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


School of Music

First Advisor

Clifford Leaman


Kadri Gopalnath is a musician who achieved an exceptional level of mastery in the Carnatic musical tradition of South India, and he accomplished this playing the saxophone, a uniquely Western instrument. He was the first person to fully integrate the saxophone to the Carnatic style and was held in high esteem as a classical Indian musician. This document examines the Carnatic tradition, Kadri Gopalnath’s life and work, and the modifications he made to the saxophone. Selected analyses of his performances are reviewed in the context of Carnatic pedagogy, and the significance of learning this tradition for the musicianship of a Western performer is displayed. This study guides the Western saxophonist through an understanding of Kadri Gopalnath and his musical tradition and allows them to begin their exploration of this musical style. The saxophone community is uniquely primed to be able to invest in and appreciate the Carnatic performance tradition through the gateway of Kadri Gopalnath.


© 2023, Caleb James Carpenter