Music in Central Java: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture Includes CD

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Music in Central Java is one of several case-study volumes that can be used along with Thinking Musically, the core book in the Global Music Series. Thinking Musically incorporates music from many diverse cultures and establishes the framework for exploring the practice of music around the world. It sets the stage for an array of case-study volumes, each of which focuses on a single area of the world. Each case study uses the contemporary musical situation as a point of departure, covering historical information and traditions as they relate to the present. Visit for a list of case studies in the Global Music Series. The website also includes instructional materials to accompany each study.
Music in Central Java offers a vivid introduction to the region's musical and cultural landscape, showing how three themes—flexibility, appropriateness, and interconnectedness—characterize Javanese musical practices and traditions. Drawing on his extensive fieldwork, author Benjamin Brinner takes an in-depth look at gamelan music—a traditional musical ensemble tradition that typically features metallophones, xylophones, drums, and gongs—providing readers with a sense of what it means to be a musician performing gamelan. Building from fundamental Javanese concepts of time and melody, the book covers gamelan's instruments, musical idioms, and central interactions and also surveys contrasting performance contexts. It examines both the theatrical and musical aspects of the vibrant tradition of shadow-puppet plays (Wayang kulit) and offers a broad survey of other music found in Central Java. In addition, Music in Central Java provides an engaging portrait of a leading Javenese musician, traces musical responses to radical social, political, and cultural changes over the past century, and considers Javanese music in relation to Indonesia and the rest of the world.
Enhanced by eyewitness accounts of performances, interviews with key performers, vivid illustrations, and hands-on listening activities, this book is a captivating introduction to the music of Central Java. It is packaged with a 78-minute audio CD containing examples of the music discussed in the book.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In most respects, this is not [just] an introduction to Central Javanese gamelan; it is a thorough exploration of Central Java's music, musicians, structures, and contexts. As such, it is remarkable."—David Harnish, Bowling Green State University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195147377
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/12/2007
  • Series: Global Music Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 506,089
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

CD Track List
1. First Hearings
What Is a Gamelan?
Gamelan Performance Contexts in Solo: Life Cycles and Musical Cycles
Cyclicity and Coincidence
Music in the Everyday
Patronage and Sociopolitical Change
Social Status, Language, and Interaction
Gamelan at the Radio Station
Similarities and Differences
Categories and Cross-Cultural (Mis)Communication
Conclusion: Three Themes
Flexibility of Frameworks and Processes
2. A Sense of Time
Making and Marking Musical Time: Gongs and Drums
Cyclicity and Colotomic Function
Lancaran Drum Patterns
Gongs, Drums, and the Flexibility of Time
3. Gamelan, Tuning, and Instrumental Melody
Gamelan Tunings
Tuning Systems: Sléndro and Pélog
Gamelan Instruments
Instrumental Melody
Melody and Elaboration
Balungan, Peking, and Bonang
"Landrang Asmaradana"
4. Songs, Singers, and Gamelan
Social Aspects of Singing
Poetry, Song, and Gamelan
5. Melodic Elaboration and Training in the Arts
Rebab, Gendèr, and Other Elaborating Instruments
Céngkok, Variation, and the Transmission of Musical Knowledge
6. Shadows and Tales
Wayang in Pangkah Village
Javanese Shadow Plays
The Stories and the Telling: The Main Elements
Physical Setup
Plots and Plot Sources
Characters and Character Types
Language and Voice
Movement Patterns
Dramatic Structure: Schemata of Various Sizes
7. Music for Motion and Emotion—Wayang Kulit
"Brajadenta Balela"
Wayang Repertoire
Music for Expressing Emotion: Sulukan
Music for Accompanying Motion: Gendhing Lampah
Music for Setting a Scene: Gendhing
Return to "Brajadenta Balela"
Flexibility and Appropriateness
Conventions and Innovations
8. Java and Beyond
Pak Cokro
Interconnectedness: Theater, Dance, and Music
Educational Institutions
Regionalism and the Dominance of Solonese Style
Java and the Rest of Indonesia
Java and the World

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