RASA: Affect and Intuition in Javanese Musical Aesthetics

Overview

The complex notion of "rasa," as understood by Javanese musicians, refers to a combination of various qualities, including: taste, feeling, affect, mood, sense, inner meaning, a faculty of knowing intuitively, and deep understanding. This leaves us with a number of questions: how is rasa expressed musically? Who or what has rasa, and what sorts of musical, psychological, perceptual, and sociological distinctions enter into this determination? How is the vocabulary of rasa structured, and what does this tell us ...

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RASA: Affect and Intuition in Javanese Musical Aesthetics

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Overview

The complex notion of "rasa," as understood by Javanese musicians, refers to a combination of various qualities, including: taste, feeling, affect, mood, sense, inner meaning, a faculty of knowing intuitively, and deep understanding. This leaves us with a number of questions: how is rasa expressed musically? Who or what has rasa, and what sorts of musical, psychological, perceptual, and sociological distinctions enter into this determination? How is the vocabulary of rasa structured, and what does this tell us about traditional Javanese music and aesthetics?
In this first book on the subject, Rasa provides an entry into Javanese music as it is conceived by the people who know the tradition best: the musicians themselves. In one of the most thorough explorations of local aesthetics to date, author Marc Benamou argues that musical meaning is above all connotative - hence, not only learned, but learnable. Following several years performing and researching Javanese music in the regional and national cultural center of Solo, Indonesia, Benamou untangles the many meanings of rasa as an aesthetic criterion in Javanese music, particularly in court and court-derived gamelan traditions. While acknowledging that certain universal psychological tendencies may inspire parallel interpretations of musical meaning, Rasa demonstrates just how culturally specific such accrued, shared meanings can be.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195189438
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/20/2010
  • Series: AMS Studies in Music Series
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Marc Benamou is Associate professor of music at Earlham College; his writings interweave aesthetics with various other domains, such as gender, food, language, ornithology, and ethics; has performed extensively in Java and abroad as a vocalist of traditional Javanese music, and has founded and directed a number of gamelan ensembles in the U.S.

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Table of Contents

Brief Glossary

Technical Notes

Companion Recordings

1 The Musical Scene in Solo 3

2 The Taste of Music: Rasaning Gendhing 40

3 The Classification of Rasa Gendhing 57

4 Having Rasa, Part 1: Linguistic and Cultural Perspectives 91

5 Having Rasa, Part 2: Musicianship 137

6 The Communication of Rasa, Part I: General Considerations of Expression and Perception 156

7 The Communication of Rasa, Part 2: Garap and Other Factors Contributing to Specific Rasas 172

8 Why Rasa Talk Matters 199

Appendix A Classifications of Rasa Gendhing from Oral and Written Sources 219

Appendix B How Irama Works 225

Complete Glossary 231

Bibliography 251

Index 281

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