Sumarsam Publishes Papers on Javanese Music, Shadow Puppetry

Olivia DrakeJanuary 23, 20142min

Ethnomusicologist Sumarsam, University Professor of Music, is the author of two new articles published in 2013.

Past and Present Issues of Javanese-European Musical Hybridity,” was published in Recollecting Resonances: Indonesian-Dutch Musical Encounters by Leiden: Brill, pages 87-108.

Soon after the introduction of European music in Java in the 18th century, Java-European musical hybrids emerged. In his article Sumarsam asks the following questions: how do we explain the incorporation of European sounds into the indigenous gamelan ensemble? Is this incorporation a kind of Javanese-European intercultural sonic dialogue, a subversive act of European authority, or the domestication of an exotic sound? Sumarsam addresses these questions by examining the history and meaning of “marching gamelan pieces” in the court of Yogyakarta and other hybrid genres, the performance of which requires the inclusion of European brass bands and drums and other Western instruments.

“A Preliminary Report on Javanese Wayang and Islamic Dakwah,” was published in (Re)Producing Southeast Asian Performing Arts by Manila: Philippine Women’s University, pages 200-203.

In the preaching of Islam (dakwah), some preachers in Java incorporate wayang shadow puppet play to make their presentation more interesting and effective. In this regard, the Hindu story and characters are linked to Islam. To attract the audience further, the musical accompaniment for this play is a hybrid ensemble consisting of some indigenous gamelan instruments (traditional) and Western electric keyboard, guitars, and a drum sets (modern). The article addresses the dynamic hybridization of this wayang dakwah.