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Title: Representing Balinese music : a study of the practice and theorizing of Balinese gamelan
Author: Wakeling, Katherine Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 2709 0595
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2010
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The thesis examines how, and with what implications, Western and Balinese musicians and scholars have sought to represent and create theories of Balinese gamelan music. It considers the potential problems that arise from imposing theoretical systems devised for quite different musical and cultural contexts onto Balinese music, and offers an alternative, practice-based account. The thesis is divided into three parts. Part One considers techniques of representing Balinese music in the early twentieth century and positions the era's surge of Western academic interest within the Dutch colonial project. Examining Balinese and Western accounts, the thesis establishes key assumptions underlying these works and highlights how Balinese were often significant participants in the construction of such representations. Part Two examines how, post-Independence, imaginings of Balinese music have been steered by the Indonesian music education system and by the state's management of musical creation and performance. It considers the modem Indonesian construct of leori gamelan and discusses how this term has functioned largely as an empty signifier, used to position Balinese music-making in accordance with the various socio-political needs of theoretician, institution, local government and nation state. The thesis then addresses certain aspects of music-making since the fall of the New Order, considering how the era's political and cultural changes relate to how Balinese have created, imagined and talked about gamelan music, with particular focus on composers' representations of foreign materials and qualities of kebalian ('Balineseness') in their works. Part Three contrasts these representations with a preliminary analysis of certain practices employed by Balinese to create, teach, learn and refine music. By demonstrating the types of practical and fluid musical understanding that Balinese musicians apply, the thesis illustrates how these processes prove incompatible with the rigidity of the various musical theories claiming to account for Balinese gamelan music.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available