By Andrew Clay McGraw

A Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Wesleyan University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Middletown, Connecticut

April, 2005


© 2005 Andrew Clay McGraw. All Rights Reserved.


Table of Contents
LIST OF FIGURES..................................................................................................................................... V PREFACE.................................................................................................................................................. VII Overview and Aim.............................................................................................................................. xiii Metanarratives.....................................................................................................................................xv METHODOLOGY ...................................................................................................................................... XVI Orthography and Pronunciation..................................................................................................... xviii Notation and Transcription............................................................................................................. xviii Commonly Used Abbreviations..........................................................................................................xxi CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION, HISTORICAL AND THEORETICAL SETTING ....................... 1 TAXONOMY AND TERMINOLOGY – DEFINING THE OBJECT OF STUDY.............................. 1 Avant-Garde and the Social Meanings of Musik Kontemporer.......................................................... 4 HISTORICAL SETTING........................................................................................................................ 10 Colonialism ......................................................................................................................................... 11 Bali Under Independence................................................................................................................... 24 CHAPTER 2 CULTURAL RHETORICS, DISCOURSE SURROUNDING NEW MUSIC IN BALI ............................................................................................................................................................. 49 METAPHORS FOR CREATION, FORM AND COMPOSITION...................................................... 50 OFFICIAL POLICIES AND PHILOSOPHIES..................................................................................... 57 BALINESE HISTORIOGRAPHY: THE PRAKEMPA........................................................................ 70 The Prakempa as a Source of Inspiration to Modern Composers.................................................... 76 CHAPTER 3 AUDIENCES, COMPOSERS, AND PATRONS ........................................................... 89 BALINESE AUDIENCES ...................................................................................................................... 89 BALINESE COMPOSERS..................................................................................................................... 92 PATRONS ............................................................................................................................................. 104 The Bali Arts Festival (Pesta Kesenian Bali-PKB)......................................................................... 105 Other non-Academic Festivals and Patrons.................................................................................... 111 Academic Festivals ........................................................................................................................... 115 Foreign Patronage............................................................................................................................ 121 ASTI/STSI/ISI Denpasar................................................................................................................... 122 CHAPTER 4 FOREIGN INFLUENCES AND OTHER SCENES.................................................... 150 1) Idea diffusion................................................................................................................................ 151 2) Social Analogy.............................................................................................................................. 168 POST PKM INFLUENCES AND DEVELOPMENTS....................................................................... 178 Western Composers .......................................................................................................................... 178 OTHER SCENES .................................................................................................................................. 183 Central Java...................................................................................................................................... 183 CHAPTER 5 ANALYSIS OF SELECTED WORKS.......................................................................... 197 ISSUES IN ANALYSIS........................................................................................................................ 197 ANALYZED WORKS.......................................................................................................................... 204 Dewa Ketut Alit’s Pengastung Kara................................................................................................ 204 Dewa Made Suparta’s Leyak Mata.................................................................................................. 229 I Wayan Gede Arsana’s Moha ......................................................................................................... 253


I Ketut Gede Asnawa’s Kosong........................................................................................................ 259 I Wayan Sadra’s Beringin Kurung................................................................................................... 269 I Nyoman Windha’s Lekesan............................................................................................................ 277 Ida Bagus Made Widnyana’s Trimbat ............................................................................................. 291 CONCLUDING THOUGHTS ................................................................................................................ 311 APPENDICES........................................................................................................................................... 320 A – SUPPLEMENTAL ANALYSES................................................................................................... 320 Sang Nyoman Arsawijaya’s Ambisi ................................................................................................. 320 Desak Made Suarti Laksmi’s Tembang Gending ............................................................................ 325 I Made Subandi’s Improvisations for Gender Wayang................................................................... 333 Pande Made Sukerta’s Asanawali ................................................................................................... 341 I Wayan Yudane’s Lebur Seketi ....................................................................................................... 349 B - RELEVANT ENSEMBLES AND REPERTOIRE........................................................................ 356 C – COMPOSER PROFILES ............................................................................................................... 361 D – SOURCE TRANSLATIONS......................................................................................................... 371 1 - Satu Alternatif, Enam Tahun - Pekan Komponis Muda, Suka Hardjana, Editor. .................... 371 2 - Prakempa - Bandem’s Edition................................................................................................... 401 GLOSSARY OF FREQUENTLY USED TERMS............................................................................... 411 CD CONTENTS AND NOTES............................................................................................................... 415 SOURCES CITED.................................................................................................................................... 416 INDEX........................................................................................................................................................ 423


List of Figures
Figure 1.1. Indonesia ______________________________________________________________ 10 Figure 1.2. Bali and Java Islands ____________________________________________________ 10 Figure 2.2. Genta Pinara Pitu Gangsa ________________________________________________ 77 Figure 2.1. Karawitan Work Assessment Criteria (Kriteria Penilaian Karya Karawitan) for 1994/1995 Ujian Sarjana Seni._______________________________________________________________ 140 Figure 5.1 Dewa Ketut Alit’s, Pengastung Kara, Mode Profile. _____________________________ 206 Figure 5.2. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara. Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 2nd minute. ____________ 207 Figure 5.3. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara. Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 2nd minute. ____________ 208 Figure 5.4. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara. Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 3rd minute. ____________ 210 Figure 5.5. Dewa Ketut Alit’s Pengastung Kara. Relationship between modulation, tempo and dynamic profile. ________________________________________________________________________ 211 Figure 5.6. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara. Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 4th minute.____________ 211 Figure 5.7. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara. Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 5th minute. ____________ 212 Figure 5.8. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara. Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 6th minute. ____________ 213 Figure 5.9. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara. Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 7th minute. ____________ 214 Figure 4.10A. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara._______________________________________ 215 Figure 5.10B. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara._______________________________________ 216 Figure 5.10C. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara. ______________________________________ 217 Figure 5.10D. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara. ______________________________________ 218 Figure 5.10E. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara._______________________________________ 219 Figure 5.10F. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara._______________________________________ 220 Figure 5.10G. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara. ______________________________________ 221 Figure 5.10H. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara. ______________________________________ 222 Figure 5.10I. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara. _______________________________________ 223 Figure 5.10J. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara. _______________________________________ 224 Figure 5.10K. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara. ______________________________________ 225 Figure 5.10L. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara._______________________________________ 226 Figure 5.10M. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara. ______________________________________ 227 Figure 5.10N. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara. ______________________________________ 228 Figure 5.11. Dewa Made Suparta's Leyak Mata, Tempo-Dynamic Profile. 1-2 minute. __________ 234 Figure 5.12. Dewa Made Suparta's Leyak Mata, Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 3rd minute.___________ 235 Figure 5.13. Dewa Made Suparta's Leyak Mata, Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 4-5 minutes. __________ 236 Figure 5.14. Dewa Made Suparta's Leyak Mata, Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 6-7 minutes. _________ 237 Figure 5.15. Dewa Made Suparta's Leyak Mata, Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 8th minute. ___________ 238 Figure 5.16. Dewa Made Suparta's Leyak Mata, Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 13th minute. __________ 239 Figure 5.17. Dewa Made Suparta's Leyak Mata, Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 14th minute. __________ 240 Figure 5.18. Dewa Made Suparta's Leyak Mata, Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 15th minute. __________ 241 Figure 5.19A. Dewa Made Suparta, Leyak Mata. _______________________________________ 242 Figure 5.19B. Dewa Made Suparta, Leyak Mata. _______________________________________ 243 Figure 5.19C. Dewa Made Suparta, Leyak Mata. _______________________________________ 244 Figure 5.19D. Dewa Made Suparta, Leyak Mata. _______________________________________ 245 Figure 5.19E. Dewa Made Suparta, Leyak Mata. _______________________________________ 246 Figure 5.19F. Dewa Made Suparta, Leyak Mata. _______________________________________ 247 Figure 5.19G. Dewa Made Suparta, Leyak Mata. _______________________________________ 248 Figure 5.19H. Dewa Made Suparta, Leyak Mata. _______________________________________ 249 Figure 5.19I. Dewa Made Suparta, Leyak Mata. ________________________________________ 250 Figure 5.19J. Dewa Made Suparta, Leyak Mata.________________________________________ 251 Figure 5.19K. Dewa Made Suparta, Leyak Mata. _______________________________________ 252 Figure 5.20. Arsana’s Moha, multiple tempos. _________________________________________ 257


Figure 5.21A. I Ketut Gede Asnawa, Kosong. __________________________________________ Figure 5.21B. I Ketut Gede Asnawa, Kosong. __________________________________________ Figure 5.21C. I Ketut Gede Asnawa, Kosong. __________________________________________ Figure 5.22A. I Wayan Sadra, Beringin Kurung. ________________________________________ Figure 5.22B. I Wayan Sadra, Beringin Kurung. ________________________________________ Figure 5.22C. I Wayan Sadra, Beringin Kurung.________________________________________ Figure 5.23A. I Nyoman Windha, Lekesan. ____________________________________________ Figure 5.23B. I Nyoman Windha, Lekesan. ____________________________________________ Figure 5.23C. I Nyoman Windha, Lekesan. ____________________________________________ Figure 5.23D. I Nyoman Windha, Lekesan. ____________________________________________ Figure 5.23E. I Nyoman Windha, Lekesan. ____________________________________________ Figure 5.23F. I Nyoman Windha, Lekesan. ____________________________________________ Figure 5.23G. I Nyoman Windha, Lekesan. ____________________________________________ Figure 5.24. Widnyana’s Trimbat, 3 Gamelan Tunings.___________________________________ Figure 5.25. Widnyana Trimbat Polyrhythm excerpt. (11:40) ______________________________ Figure 5.26A. Ida Bagus Made Widnyana, Trimbat. _____________________________________ Figure 5.26B. Ida Bagus Made Widnyana, Trimbat. _____________________________________ Figure 5.26C. Ida Bagus Made Widnyana, Trimbat. _____________________________________ Figure 5.26D. Ida Bagus Made Widnyana, Trimbat. _____________________________________ Figure 5.26E. Ida Bagus Made Widnyana, Trimbat. _____________________________________ Figure 5.26F. Ida Bagus Made Widnyana, Trimbat. _____________________________________ Figure 5.26G. Ida Bagus Made Widnyana, Trimbat. _____________________________________ Figure AA.1A. Sang Nyoman Arsawijaya, Ambisi. ______________________________________ Figure AA.1B. Sang Nyoman Arsawijaya, Ambisi. ______________________________________ Figure AA.2A. Desak Made Suarti Laksmi, Tembang Gending._____________________________ Figure AA.2B. Desak Made Suarti Laksmi, Tembang Gending._____________________________ Figure AA.2C. Desak Made Suarti Laksmi, Tembang Gending. ____________________________ Figure AA.2D. Desak Made Suarti Laksmi, Tembang Gending. ____________________________ Figure AA.3. Sangsih Variations.____________________________________________________ Figure AA.4A. I Made Subandi, Genderan Saih Pitu. _____________________________________ Figure AA.4B. I Made Subandi, Genderan Saih Pitu. _____________________________________ Figure AA.4C. I Made Subandi, Genderan Saih Pitu._____________________________________ Figure AA.4D. I Made Subandi, Genderan Saih Pitu._____________________________________ Figure AA.5A. Pande Made Sukerta, Asanawali. ________________________________________ Figure AA.5B. Pande Made Sukerta, Asanawali. ________________________________________ Figure AA.6A. I Wayan Gede Yudane, Lebur Seketi. _____________________________________ Figure AA.6B. I Wayan Gede Yudane, Lebur Seketi. _____________________________________

266 267 268 274 275 276 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 293 300 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 323 324 328 329 330 331 335 337 338 339 340 347 348 354 355


Let noble thoughts come to us from every side - Rig-Veda 1-89-I

I was reminded of my first experiences of Balinese music recently while composing a collaborative musik kontemporer work with the composer I Made Subandi. While we were attempting to rehearse, Subandi’s young son, an unbelievably precocious, talented, but distractingly nakal child wanted to play instead. First by grabbing our mallets and playing along, then by dancing and throwing Balinese jajan snacks at our heads, he desperately wanted to be the center of attention. We tried our best to simply ignore him, to pretend he was not actually there, a distinctly Balinese form of discipline. Eventually he began dancing around with a sharp knife. This was sufficiently distracting, but as Subandi and the other musicians didn’t seem terribly concerned, I strained to continue to ignore him. As he was not producing the desired effect Putu then climbed into an open window, singing and dancing precariously on the sill, swinging the sharp knife. Somehow his own father managed to continue to ignore him, although he had now placed himself in mortal danger in order to be the star of the show. Finally, he exposed his lala through his pants while continuing to dance on the narrow sill, still swinging the knife. My concentration completely destroyed, I was convinced I was about to witness the child accidentally castrate himself. I excused myself from the rehearsal and brought Putu outside to play around the rice fields until he (and I) were thoroughly exhausted. Similarly, or… not quite so similarly, Balinese music intruded into my life. Unseen and uninvited, the music demanded to be the center of my musical world. I had actively


disliked recordings I had heard during my undergraduate years. But when witnessed live in Bali after an extended period of sleep deprivation and exhaustion from travels in Java (I had come to the point of hearing voices), the music was about as easy to ignore as a screaming, go-go dancing child on the verge of unintentionally castrating himself. It immediately and effectively destroyed my focus on jazz and Indian music, and demanded that we play. The ten intervening years between that first meeting and now has seemed like a moment.



I first thank my perfect wife, Jessica. In America she endured my disappearances, moods, irresponsibility, and my writing. In Indonesia she lived through, besides the perfect weather and delicious food, cockroach and rat infestations, various illnesses, high speed motorcycle accidents and very nearly vehicular manslaughter. The Goldmund to my Narcissus, the Marge to my Homer, her stability, social grace, and steely grip on reality keeps things from falling apart. To all of my teachers and peers on both hemispheres, I am sorry I keep forgetting all of those pieces and cengkok. All faults in this work and in my playing are, of course, entirely mine. Thanks are due to specific instrumental teachers including, Paks Asnawa (and family), Tutnang, Arsana, Tri Haryanto, Sedana, Konolan, Loceng, Subandi (and the Batuyang crowd), Wakidi, Sukamso, Sumarsam, Harjito, Yadi, and Bambang Sis. Other teachers helped deepen my knowledge of Indonesian music and culture through countless hours of conversation: Ni Ketut Suryatini, Desak Made Suarti Laksmi, Nyoman Catra (classmate and fellow navigator of graduate school bureaucracy), Gusti Sudarta, Ni Dewi Aryani, Nyoman Sedana (in fact, all of jurusan pedalangan), Saptono, Wayan Dibia, Dewa Beratha, Nyoman Cerita, Komang Astita, Wayan Yudane (and family), Ketut Kodi, Wayan Beratha, Pande Made Sukerta, Sumianto, Wayan Sadra (and the Sono Seni band), Gede Arsana, Putu Setiawan, Komang Astita (and family), Agus Widnyana, Dewa Beratha, Dewa Ketut Alit (and the Cudamani gang), Nyoman Windha, Kadek Suardana, Ketut Lanus, and Wayan Sinti among many others. Additional thanks go to Amna Kusomo and the Kelola foundation; they graciously opened their doors to me during my stay in Solo. Several nonIndonesian peers around the world helped me greatly in developing my thoughts and in keeping me at least half way sane throughout the research process. Mari Nabeshima is a


superb player, fellow Loceng student, and excellent thinker on Balinese music. Laura Noszlopy deromanticized and reromanticized Indonesia for me. Carmencita helped me make fun of Laura. Emiko Susilo helped me stay in touch with the scene in Ubud and was thankfully always welcome to endure my strange stories. “The Japanese” added continuously unforeseen social adventures. Emi and Koyano introduced irresponsible drinking games and Yasuko, Junko(A), Miki, Shoko, and (yes even) Tomomi were superb dining companions and fellow players who only once made me perform in tight-fitting drag in front of a huge audience. Elsewhere in Asia, the faculty and students at Chiang Mai University in Thailand helped me both in Bali and during my teaching residency at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Chiang Mai. Professor Two Crackerz, Thitipol, Jack, Ajan Mai, Nong O, and Pi Oud explained much about Thai culture. Nu, Tom, WGKG, Nong Waew (khun keng mak), and Khun Suchet helped keep me in a way that I was totally unaccustomed. In America many thanks go to employers at Holy Cross University, University of Missouri, Simon’s Rock College, and Bard College for giving me the opportunity to get my feet wet in the world of academic teaching. I enjoyed playing Indonesian music with several groups in America. Besides those ensembles I have directed at universities, there were the MIT, Tufts, and New York Consulate ensembles. Great thanks also go to Miranda Fan, an excellent partner in performing gender wayang. Several people in America helped me focus my thoughts, these include: Christopher Miller, Michael Tenzer, Wayne Vitale, Katheryn Emerson, Ann Stebinger, Barry Drummond, Ed Herbst, Marc Perlman, Mark Slobin, Evan Ziporyn, David Locke, Sumarsam, Jody Diamond, and Shazhad Ismaily. The research upon which this work is based would have been impossible without support from Wesleyan University, a Dharma Siswa award of the Indonesian Department of Education and Culture, and a DOE Fulbright-Hays doctoral research grant. I am also grateful for the support of the


LIPI and AMINEF foundations in Indonesia. A final thanks to my family, Mike (dad), Ruth (mom), and John (adik) who endured the hours of loud, obnoxious music seeping up from cellars while growing up in New England and Kansas City. Not once do I remember noise complaints.



Topic With the amount and depth of pre-existing anthropological and ethnomusicological research concerning Indonesia, the critical reader should ask “Why Indonesia? Why Bali1 again?!” In response I suggest that Indonesia and Indonesians, Bali and the Balinese, are brilliant both at retaining their culture in the face of massive global change, and at reinventing themselves and their culture to adapt to contemporary tastes and needs. Simply put, the Indonesia I have encountered is not the Indonesia that my advisors encountered. New ethnographies are thusly both needed and justified. Nevertheless, when I headed out to begin my research, I carried Michael Tenzer’s then fresh-off-the-presses Gong Kebyar (2000) in my bag, with the ominous feeling that much of what is most significant about Balinese music had just been printed. Shortly after I arrived in Indonesia to begin research on new music, the Balinese composer living in Solo, Pande Made Sukerta, began one of our many discussions by dramatically slamming his heavy doctoral dissertation on the history of Balinese gamelan onto his table declaring that “gong kebyar is now officially dead!” 2 In saying this Sukerta was suggesting that, now deeply categorized, described, and analyzed by both indigenous and foreign researchers, the form must have reached an apex. Having peaked, the form seemed to Sukerta to be bursting at its edges, transforming into new and strange forms. Much in the

Bali is a small, densely populated island (approximately 4 million inhabitants) that lies to the east of Java in the Java Sea. The capital city, Denpasar, is located in the southern regency (kabupaten) of Badung and is the primary scene of most experimental music activity in arts clubs (sanggar) and at the national conservatory (ISI). 2 Consider also Komang Astita’s statement, written in 1979: “During this generation artistic needs have been realized through the gong kebyar. Recently however gong kebyar has shown signs of saturation. The development of gong kebyar has recently been in the form of variations, rather than innovations—variations upon standardized forms and melodies--with the same set orchestration each time. Gong kebyar now gives the impression of stasis.” (in Hardjana 1986:66 provided in Appendix D. See also Wayan Sadra’s more extreme statements in the same).


way that Western classical music was only extensively captured within theory once its golden age had passed, Sukerta suggests the same of kebyar. Yet, rather than simply offering a rhetorical turn, Sukerta persuasively argues that the rules of form, processes of composition, and the other various cohesions which bound a genre no longer obtain in the current dominating practices of composition in Balinese music. To a certain extent then, my research picks up on the Balinese scene as the death knell for gong kebyar peals.3

Overview and Aim This work combines ethnography with musical analysis. I present a general historical overview, followed by discussions of Balinese discourses surrounding new music. This is followed by a discussion of foreign (Indonesian and non-Indonesian) influences upon Balinese new music, the presence of Balinese composition outside of Bali (Java) and a brief discussion of the influence of Balinese forms upon other (Javanese) gamelan forms. In the final chapter I present detailed analyses of several complete and excerpted works of Balinese new music. The challenge there is to link my sometimes abstract analyses to the ethnographic information presented in the first half of the work. In many ethnomusicological works there is a disconnect between ethnography and analysis, a disconnect in which Western notation and pre-existing methods of analysis seem to take on a life of their own, functioning as a kind of black box. Through closely considering the composer’s words, I hope to avoid this pitfall.


Not letting the poetic significance of this image pass me by, Sukerta maintains that, rather than being influenced and stimulated by the impacts of Dutch colonialism in Northern Bali, the emerging kebyar form had more to do with turn-of-the-century Northern Balinese cremation ceremonial practices, ngaben, which had in decades passed typically included mabarung gamelan competitions – a practice which ended in the 1950’s. Sukerta traces the meaning of ngaben to lebih, or copiousness, busy-ness, much-ness, a feeling and atmosphere striven for in Northern Balinese cremation ceremonies and reached most perfectly through the loud and rambunctious competing of gamelan ensembles.


Finally, I present four appendices meant as references and supplemental texts. The first presents several supplemental analyses. The second presents short descriptions of several Balinese musical genres and repertoires which have informed the development of new music in Bali and which are referenced throughout this work; this section repeats research and writing published elsewhere and is meant as a reference for the reader unfamiliar with Balinese gamelan traditions. The third appendix presents several short composer biographies and profiles. The final appendix is my translation of two relevant Indonesian language texts: I Made Bandem’s introduction to the Prakempa lontar and selections from Suka Hardjana’s compiled notes from Six Years of the Young Composer’s Week (Enam Tahun Pekan Komponis Muda). My aim is twofold: through ethnography, to attempt to reveal the major underlying forces and discourses at work in the creation, performance, and reception of experimental Indonesian, specifically Balinese, music and secondly to attempt a musicological, structural analysis of the music itself. Because I don’t necessarily believe musik kontemporer represents a coherent genre, especially throughout Indonesia, I resist developing musical analytical theories that attempt to explain all or most of the very idiosyncratic works I present in the final chapter. A full account of the sounds of musik kontemporer must include a hermeneutics of Balinese new music and a close inspection of the way in which the Balinese themselves decode their own musical “texts.” I attempt whenever I can to include composers’ thoughts alongside my own. My ethnographic section focuses on the development of musical experimentalism in Indonesia, primarily in Bali, but also by Balinese living in other parts of Indonesia. This section is meant to be a work of interpretive anthropology operating both on the level of providing an account of the Balinese scene from the inside, and also attempting to


reflect about the epistemological groundings of that account itself. Furthermore, part of this work is an examination of how performers, composers and audiences of new music interact with governmental, cultural and funding structures. In this work I am dealing with a music and a culture (like most today) that intersects with the global at many points. Mine is not an effort to save, through documentation, distinct cultural forms from the mechanizations of perceived negative globalizing forces. I do not attempt to insulate new cultural forms from globalizing forces or to illustrate the dissolution of traditional cultural forms through those same forces, but to celebrate the ways in which specific local cultures can come to creatively deal with, re-interpret and re-invent themselves selectively and intelligently using both traditional cultural materials and the vast resources of globalized cultural forms. One of the major points of this text is the suggestion that, in the face of a perceived loss of traditions and specific cultural forms, what outsiders and anthropologists sometimes perceive as Westernization in local musical forms, may not actually be that, or at least not directly. Metanarratives Part of this dissertation is about the artistic outcomes of the international field of ethnomusicology and the West’s fascination with and funding of artistic activity in Asia and the education of Asians abroad. It is partly about the interaction of foreign students, researchers and amateurs with local musicians and the manifestations of these interactions in new music. This scene is not a pure field in which I was the only researcher working with an isolated population. During my research I worked with people who, very often, were themselves ethnomusicologists (some of them being trained in my department at Wesleyan). At certain points this work will seem to be an ethnography of a discipline – ethnomusicologists talking about themselves and their own creative work while


simultaneously and self-consciously remarking upon their own concerns and problems with the field. The composers I work with almost all have extensive experience with collaborations in the West, know the works I know, and have written articles and papers on the very same topics this work is concerned with. This project is at times incestuous; I am commenting upon a body of music that I have been involved in helping to create. Some of the musical ideas I chart within new works could be traced backwards to myself. To some anthropologists this may seem unethical – the observer tainting the object. To composers and musicians this is natural; to deny creative tendencies and creative interactions in the effort to create a “pure” account is both boring and impossible.

Methodology My graduate education occurred during a time of experimentation in ethnomusicology, in anthropology and more generally in the human sciences. Once a field in which students gained a systematic knowledge of other cultures, their expressions and forms through memorizing a catalogue of facts and a toolkit of techniques and theories, anthropology revolted on itself in the 1920s, 30’s and again later in the late 60’s. This revolt came in a wave of serious foundation-shaking questioning of long held assumptions and techniques-- a wash of experimentation that continues until today, and in which my teachers were largely trained. The ethnomusicologists and anthropologists of the past two decades, my teachers, had developed each an idiosyncratic palette of combined theories and methods from different times and places. In my analysis of new Indonesian music I do the same, borrowing, for example, Kroeber’s model of idea diffusion (developed in the 1940s) alongside contemporary forms of ethnography and musical analysis. I borrow from both


Western and Balinese cultures various musical, anthropological and philosophical terms and tools, new and old. My ethnography is multi-local and diachronic, focusing primarily on the scene in Bali, but including shorter accounts of the scenes in central Java and Jakarta as well. I present accounts of these other scenes for comparison and because these scenes have significantly shaped the form and history of Balinese experimentalism. This multi-locale ethnography was required because mine is not simply a study of an object – new experimental music in Bali – but of a process which has occurred through time (starting around the mid 1970s) and space (primarily in Java and Bali). My musical analysis, however, focuses (as would be expected when dealing with an oral tradition) on the current (2001-2004) scene and the players and composers that were active during my stay in Indonesia, and in this way my study is also synchronic. In an attempt to avoid the imposition of completely Western perspectives, I have included the voices of other Balinese and Indonesian researchers, even and especially when their opinions differed from mine, or worked at odds with the conclusions I make. I present a “polyphony” of voices (Foucault after Bakhtin) meant to contextualize the reader within the sometimes cacophonous swirl of often conflicting and clashing discourses surrounding new music and ideas about tradition and innovation. In this way I hope to avoid essentializing the Balinese and or flattening their discourse into a monophonic drone. Finally, the reader must understand that as an outside American researcher who has spent only a few years conducting research in the field that, in comparison to my informants, my control of the material presented remains imperfect. However, I would also suggest that my very status as an outsider provided some insights into the nature of experimentalism in


Indonesia which seemed to be overlooked by native informants enveloped within their own musical and intellectual habitus.

Orthography and Pronunciation I italicize foreign words and terms throughout the text. Proper names are not italicized but titles of works are. I only occasionally replace the Javanese and more widespread gamelan with the Balinese gambelan when quoting Balinese informants who employ that pronunciation. If ever a composer’s name is not preceded by the honorifics “Bapak” (father/sir), “Ibu” (mother/maam), “I” (Mr.), or Ni (Mrs.), then it is only to conserve space and is in no way meant to be disrespectful. Pronunciation is typically as follows:
Balinese (and Indonesian) A ang, eng, ing, ong, ung C e é final er g i i as the second of two vowels o u English equivalent o as in ah Ahng, ung, ing, ong, oong ch as in I Ching as in fed ay as in hay as in hair (with rolled r) as in gold ee as in sleeping as in princess as in swan as in ruse

Notation and Transcription I primarily use standard Western staff notation in this work. Occasionally I employ Javanese kepatihan (cipher) notation. Cipher systems (which replace numbers with Balinese vowel symbols) are used by the Balinese in some academic settings. It should be noted that Indonesian cipher systems stress and are oriented towards the last beat in a grouping, rather


than the first. This can be extremely disorienting for Western-trained musicians, but represents no change in the structure or sound of the music. Beat one simply becomes beat four. Rhythmic relationships are beamed above numbers in cipher notations similar to Western beaming conventions. For consistency with previous major works on Balinese gamelan ensembles, I notate the pélog scale as follows:
Staff Notation Equivalents Javanese Cipher Equivalents Balinese Solfege Syllable Names C# 1 ding D 2 dong E 3 deng F# 4 deung G# 5 dung A 6 dang B 7 daing

It should be strongly stressed that this does not represent the exact pitch or interval relationship of the specific sections being referenced in the examples, and I encourage readers to regularly reference the audio examples while reading through the notations. Many gamelan gong kebyar do sound roughly dang=A, although in certain examples the tuning is significantly higher. In this case I maintain the use of the notation scheme above for continuity. In certain selections, such as Widnyana’s use of three different kebyar tunings in his Trimbat (chapter five), I represent the actual tuning as closely as possible on the chromatic scale. In traditional seven-tone repertoire, the ding-dong solfege is a moveable-do (ding) system. In this dissertation, when dealing with melodically expanded works (which often include six-tone modes, or all seven tones) I maintain the syllable naming system of the selisir mode, reflecting current common practice in Bali. Therefore, in the current discussion, the solfege pitches are represented as: ding-dong-deng-deung-dung-dang-daing = (c#-d-e-f#g#-a-b) = calung/jegogan keys (1-2-3-4-5-6-7). In certain Balinese theoretical works, such as the Prakempa, deung is called ndeng while daing becomes nding. In kotekan sections I beam the sangsih and polos separately on the same staff: sangsih typically above, and polos below.


I clarify notations of fast moving interlocking parts by hiding sixteenth-note rests when possible. In transcriptions and in the text the following symbols represent specific gong strokes: G-large gong, P or U-kempul (kempur), +-kemong (klentong), J-jegogan tone, Ccalung tone. Unless otherwise indicated calung (C) tones under gangsa lines indicate the same tone an octave lower. Jegogan (J) tones indicate tones an octave below the current calung pitch. In certain kreasi works, such as Dewa Alit’s Pengastung Kara and Wayan Yudane’s Lebur Seketi, for clarity I do not include standard sangsih empat harmonies. I notate interlocking drumming patterns somewhat differently from Tenzer (2000), although the two drums are beamed together. I attempt to incorporate more standard Western percussion notation conventions when possible. The drum notation is as follows:


Commonly Used Abbreviations ASTI Akademi Seni Tari Indonesia, Indonesian Dance Academy. A name for dance schools in Yogyakarta and Bali. ASTI Bali later becomes upgraded into an STSI, and the ISI institute. Institut Seni Indonesia, Indonesian Art Institute. A name for arts schools in Yogyakarta and Bali. Kawitan, Pengawak, Pengecet. The first, second and third formal sections found in some traditional Balinese repertoires. Konservatori Karawitan. Music Conservatory. An arts school for high-school level students in Bali and Solo. Predecessors of the STSI level arts colleges. KOKAR Bali is later upgraded into SMKI (SMKN3). Lembaga Kebudayaan Rakyat. People’s Culture Institute. Cultural wing of the PKI communist party. Outlawed in 1967. Majelis Pertimbangan dan Pembinaan Kebudayaan. Arts Evaluation and Cultivation Board. Associated with LKN. Lembaga Kebudayaan Rakyat. Institute of National/People’s Culture. Cultural wing of PNI party. Pesta Kesenian Bali. Bali Arts Festival. Major annual arts festival held in Denpasar, Bali. Partai Komunis Indonesia. The Indonesian Communist Party. Outlawed in 1967. Pekan Komponis Muda. Young Composer’s Week. Major annual composition festival held yearly between 1979-1986. Partai Nasional Indonesia. The Indonesian Nationalist Party. Radio Republik Indonesia. Indonesian governmental radio. Sekolah Menengah Karawitan Indonesia. Indonesian High School of the Arts. Previously KOKAR, today known as SMKN3. Sekolah Tinggi Seni Indonesia. Academy of Indonesian Arts in Solo and Denpasar (previously ASTI, today known as ISI). Televisi Republik Indonesia. Republic of Indonesia Television.




CHAPTER 1 Introduction, Historical and Theoretical Setting

“I was surprised to get your note saying that you were researching musik kontemporer in Bali. Surprised mainly because there is no musik kontemporer in Bali.” – Kadek Suardana, Balinese musik kontemporer composer

What is musik kontemporer? One of the most formidable tasks of my research and writing has been the effort to define exactly what I intended to conduct research and writing on. One of the reasons it is so difficult to define musik kontemporer is because it, its creators, its history and the discourses surrounding it are often contradictory. What is musik kontemporer for one musician, composer or critic may be kreasi4 baru (new creation), konser (concert), or simply “musik” to another. While Kadek Suardana claims that he is not a musik kontemporer composer, many other Balinese composers suggest that he is. The history of music composition in Indonesia since the 1950s has been awash in a constantly mutating and varying array of terms, labels, and descriptions for new forms of music: kreasi baru, musik baru (new music), musik, kolaborasi (collaboration), musik kontemporer, musik eksperimental, konser, konser karawitan5, konser musik – the list continues.6 Each of the terms generally indicates varying levels of distance or freedom from both traditional forms of Indonesian regional music and


Sumarsam suggests that the Indonesian kreasi is likely derived from the Dutch creatie, rather than the English “creation.” (personal communication, Sumarsam, March, 2005). 5 Karawitan generally refers to Indonesian traditional forms, but originally and specifically the large ensemble gamelan traditions of Central Java, and later Bali. 6 Rustopo also identifies gamelan kontemporer, new experimental works for gamelan, stating that they are a subcategory of musik kontemporer (Rustopo 1988:1).


Western forms. The term musik kontemporer appeared in the mid 1970s7, but has been used retroactively to describe music created before that time. It is possible that by the time this work is read Indonesian composers will have created a newer term to replace musik kontemporer. Until recently many composers and critics invested much time and space in the attempt to define and describe the boundaries of the form. According to the Jakarta-based composer and music critic Suka Hardjana:
The context here is very different; the development of musik kontemporer here has been vastly different from the development of experimental music in the West. Clearly the terminology is borrowed from the West, but it is very difficult for us to describe what, exactly, this object is. Kontemporer from what perspective? I don’t know. I’m stuck in the middle of it and I can’t come up with a solution myself. Sometimes it seems all we talk about is definitions rather than the music itself. (Suka Hardjana, personal communication, August, 2003)8

Raden (2001) suggests that musik kontemporer is paradoxically both an “other within its own country” and simultaneously Indonesia’s “only national music.” Raden, a Jakartabased composer and critic, was the first to use the term musik kontemporer in the early 1990s suggesting strongly that it represents Indonesia’s national art music. However, other writers in Indonesia, notably Suka Hardjana (1994), Dieter Mack (1994), and Soerdarsono (2002), use the term to refer to contemporary music throughout the world, in the West and in Indonesia. The debate on terminology extends back at least to the 1930s when the cultural critics Dungga and Manik developed their taxonomy of musik seni (art music) and musik Indonesia baru (new Indonesian music) (Raden 2001). Early terms such as musik seni generally referred to the use or non-use of traditional instrumentation, specifically gamelan.


The earliest example of the term in print is Raden’s Catatan Atas Pemikiran Slamet Abdul Sjukur in Berita Buana, March 28, 1977. 8 During my research in Java in 2003 composers had become extremely weary of the seemingly constant debate over the creation and meaning of terms to describe new music. In an open discussion on musik kontemporer in Yogyakarta in September 2003, the composer I Wayan Sadra opened the discussion by forbidding the question “what is musik kontemporer?” Other participating composers agreed, and many said during their comments that they were sick of terms and simply wanted to “call music ‘musik’ ” (“musik itu musik”).


In the 1950s the Yogyanese composer Ki Wasitodipuro (Cokro) actively developed the kreasi baru form, as distinct from musik Indonesia baru, in his effort to help create a national music based on indigenous models. Musik Indonesia baru typically involved Western instrumentation and models but also was meant to express a new “moderen” (modern) form of Indonesian cultural identity. Generally, kreasi baru works were not self-consciously radical but included mild innovations on the edges of existing performance practices. Why have there been so many terms for new musical expressions in Indonesia since the Independence movement? Firstly, there was a perceived need to create new terms to represent a new geo-political region, labels that transcended ethnically specific terms such as karawitan and gamelan. The increased interaction of populations, concepts, and languages that came about through the creation of the Indonesian nation-state lead to such neutral terms as kreasi baru over more politicized possibilities such as musik baru, gamelan, karawitan or gendhing baru. It is possible that, for young composers in Java and Bali, kreasi baru was favored over other terms because the Dutch derived “kreasi” (creation) hinted at modernity but did not smack so blatantly of Westernization as did musik. Later, the incorporation of the Indonesian state into a global system of politics and culture lead to the effort to create expressions that could be intelligible and competitive in a global setting. This in turn lead to the development of terms which incorporated the Western concept of “music” (as in “musik kontemporer”), and oftentimes Western musical languages directly. Finally, especially during the New Order, there was a perceived need to reify or bind so-called great traditions. By categorizing contemporary composition under a different terminology pre-existing works were de facto defined as old, static, traditional, and therefore worthy of preservation. New works were not necessarily extensions of traditions; they drew upon the richness of an imagined golden age but involved different forms of patronage and performance contexts.


Until recently terms such tabuh kreasi have dominated in Bali, with their explicit associations with traditional gamelan ensembles.9 Recently, as Balinese composers have become more integrated in national and international systems of patronage and creation, and have increasingly borrowed musical materials from around Indonesia and the world, “musik kontemporer” has become widespread to define current composition on the island. In this dissertation I am looking not only at compositions described as musik kontemporer but as well at works less experimental in nature that both inform and are informed by musik kontemporer. My subject is, most broadly, musical experimentalism by Balinese composers, much of which happens to be called musik kontemporer. Experiments can be found in most Balinese new composition, both in self-consciously “kontemporer” works as well as in kreasi baru forms. The dividing line between what counts as “experimental enough” (and makes it into this text) and what is not is certainly subjective and I attempt to provide a justification when including discussions of works that are otherwise kreasi baru in nature. Since the 1990s musik kontemporer has come to express something more than national sentiments. Rather, its reference extends beyond to suggest connections with globalized compositional trends, mainly in the fields of Western experimentation and the avant-garde.

Avant-Garde and the Social Meanings of Musik Kontemporer The phrase “avant-garde” (or garde depan) is sometimes employed by Indonesian musicians and writers to describe musik kontemporer.10 The term “avant-garde” has been


Tabuh refers to both the mallet used to strike the gamelan and the action of playing the gamelan. Traditional works in the lelambatan repertoire are called tabuh. 10 As well as music composed well before the term “avant-garde” reached Bali. Today, several composers have described Lotring’s works from the 1930’s as being avant-garde at the time. (personal communication, I Gede Arsana, February, 2003). Consider also I Ketut Asnawa’s statement: “Lotring


used to describe both dance and musical experimentation in central Java since the 1950s. The Javanese dancer and STSI Solo administrator Humardani, to cite one example, described the approach of the KBW11 organization in Yogyakarta, which was active from 1918 until the 1960s as having a decidedly “avant-garde” approach (Rustopo 1991:49). Several writers, including Humardani and Rustopo, have described the choreographies of prominent Javanese dancers, including Sardono, Bagong Kussudiardjo and Wisnoe Wardhana as avant garde as well (ibid).12 In Indonesia the term avant-garde is rarely used with an awareness of its sociological and political associations in English and French avant-garde movements. Instead, it is often used to refer to anything new and or out of the ordinary, regardless of the creator’s ideological intention. The Javanese composer Sapto Raharjo13 regularly uses the terms avantgarde and musik kontemporer interchangeably, suggesting that their social meanings and implications are the same. According to Raharjo: “musik kontemporer is a movement concerned with change -- an expression in the struggle to break down the cultural limitations that bind us, and the conventions, musical and social, that constrain us” (Sapto Raharjo, personal communication, September 2003). Raharjo’s characterizations of musik kontemporer seem aligned with the intentions of American and European avant-garde artists in that, for Raharjo, musik kontemporer is meant to purposely disrupt the cultural and artistic

was avant-garde at the time and some of his novel ideas probably grew out of his interactions with foreigners in Kuta” (personal communication, March 2005). When avant-garde is used by Indonesians, it is often partly to suggest that the ideas being referred to are at least partly traceable to foreign (Western) influence. 11 Krida Beksa Wirama, an arts institution which sometimes encouraged the development of dance forms free from Central Javanese court influence (Rustopo 1990:49). 12 Bagong’s dance accompaniments of the 1960’s often employed minimalist themes and instrumentation, and were described at that time as “avant-garde” (ibid). This is notable as it suggests that a tradition of self-consciously “avant-garde” musical minimalism developed synchronically with similar developments in American experimentalism. Bagong’s earlier studies at the Martha Graham school no doubt influenced his artistic development in this direction. 13 A musician, composer, writer, and radio programmer based in Yogyakarta.


conventions of the day in order to realize their artificiality and the possibility for aesthetic and social change. However, this is not a widely held conception of the form and purpose of musik kontemporer throughout Indonesia and Raharjo’s characterization marks a serious philosophical and aesthetic division between various groups of composers, specifically between composers based in Jakarta, Central Java, and Bali. Raharjo’s characterization of musik kontemporer as avant-garde refers to a young generation of creators, few having academic training in music or karawitan, and whose aesthetics he describes as being surreal or radical.14 These artists’ works do seem more aligned to the surrealist expressions of Europe and America rather than to either the serialist influenced works of the Western-trained composer Abdul Slamet Sjukur or to gamelan-based experimentalism in Solo and Bali. Yet all three types of music are typically described as musik kontemporer.15 For contemporary Balinese living under the current cultural/political climate, to proclaim oneself as anti-Balinese, or to openly suggest that Balinese cultural norms are artificially constructed and possibly repressive is to commit professional suicide. Yet, such is the iconoclasm of some works that one could suggest that this is indeed the composer’s message—that so called classical formal structures and melodic/modal systems are artificially constructed and open to deconstruction and distortion. However, many of these composers nevertheless strain to situate their new works as extensions of tradition. Many of these works are surreal in that they illustrate how quickly and frequently once disparate elements of


Raharjo is referring to the experimental, shocking or absurd works of young performance artists in Yogyakarta such as Marzuki who composed a work for screams, as it were, by having his body shocked by 100 volt electric cables and Jumbek who has composed electronic music using sounds generated by motorbike engines. 15 Raden (2001) uses the term regularly in his dissertation which focuses on Western influenced musik kontemporer. However, Raden consistently surrounds the term with single quotes, without explanation, as if to suggest that he is borrowing other’s use of the term.


different cultural worlds come together in the modern world. The prevalent use of the West African djembe drum and Japanese Taiko styles, for instance, in Balinese new music is a testament to this. Increasing contact with foreign musical traditions and thought has lead some Balinese to react ironically toward their own cultural norms of beauty, truth, form, balance, reality etc. as possibly artificial arrangements. Many Balinese composers of musik kontemporer are in fact connected by their effort (verbalized or not) to disrupt common sense, to do the unexpected, and to shock by placing familiar materials in unfamiliar musical contexts. This is in an effort to make audiences aware of the possibility of aesthetic difference and, possibly, social change, and in this way musik kontemporer is a kind of avant-garde expression.

Differing Interpretations While many contemporary Indonesian composers are supposedly bound to one another by the fact that they all compose a kind of music called musik kontemporer, there are in fact serious and deep aesthetic, cultural, compositional and philosophical divisions dividing them. The major division between composers of musik kontemporer is between those who have had strong backgrounds in their respective regional traditional forms and those who have had a background in Western (popular or classical) music. Typically those from one camp have, musically, little in common with those of the other. Another division between performers and composers of musik kontemporer revolves around their orientation towards the market and mass media. While certain composers such as I Wayan Yudane claim that market forces, popularity, and mass reception are of no importance compared to the composer’s own evaluation of his or her expression, many composers of musik kontemporer, especially in central Java, are seriously influenced by and


consider the role of the market. Raharjo’s characterization of the social role of musik kontemporer parallels Yudane’s, while both are in conflict Djaduk Ferianto’s16 views. I Wayan Sadra, a composer famous for his sometimes upsetting, shocking, and absurd works aligns his aesthetics somewhere in between.17 Ferianto makes a living composing light musik kontemporer primarily for popular film (Sinetron) and “ethnic pop” ensembles which some composers variously call exploitation (of traditional music and musicians) or poseurism (of serious intellectual composition). According to Sadra:
Djaduk [Ferianto] once asked me how my ‘strange and absurd’ music has anything to do with the ‘ideology of the stomach,’ suggesting that I was not trying to satisfy or entertain a broad range of people (in order to make a real living at composing). I’ve received constant complaints and even threats about my works. But I was always somewhat at a loss as to why people believed I was trying to be anti-social. Of course, when the artist recoils from the world in order to create, he is anti-social, but when he reappears to expresses something, I believe there has to be a dialectic. I borrowed this concept from, and I’m sorry, LEKRA.18 The socialists used this. They suggested that in healthy art there is a connection between individual artistic expression and the larger society. I’m sorry I was forced to borrow the concepts of a banned organization. But I wanted to know, how can I become closer to more people?

Rather than intending to disorient, upset or purposefully confuse people (the aim of much of the European and American avant-garde and composers such as Raharjo and Yudane), Sadra’s ultimate aim seems to be more closely aligned to Ferianto’s, that is, to entertain them. The deep aesthetic and philosophical differences between composers of new music in Indonesia has lead to a kind of Balkanization of the production of new music in


Djaduk Ferianto is a Yogyakarta-based visual artist, composer, and founder of the Kua Etnika art community in Yogyakarta in 1994. 17 Such works include pieces involving the dragging of gongs along pavement and a work in which a live oxen was subjected to intense low frequencies until it evacuated its bowels upon the stage. During my research Sadra was developing a performance piece that would involve the fiery destruction of sixteen gongs on stage. 18 This quote is taken from an open panel discussion on musik kontemporer held in Yogyakarta in September, 2003. Sadra is “sorry” to mention LEKRA (Lembaga Kebudayaan Rakyat – People’s Culture Institute) because it was associated with the communist PKI (Partai Komunis Indonesia – The Indonesian Communist Party) party and espoused an art of social realism. LEKRA was banned following the bloody massacres of the late 1960’s in which tens of thousands of PKI followers and LEKRA members were killed following an aborted coup.


Indonesia. Yet, these groupings are not always geographically determined. Yudane, a Balinese composer living in Denpasar, has far more aesthetic connection and communication with his colleagues in Yogyakarta and Solo than with composers of new music in his own neighborhood.


Figure 1.1. Indonesia

Figure 1.2. Bali and Java Islands

HISTORICAL SETTING The sources of patronage and the sites of artistic experimentation are primarily the same in both Bali and Java. However, the Balinese approach toward and conception of musical tradition and innovation and especially of musical change and experimentalism are significantly different from Central Javanese and Jakartan conceptions. Indeed, speaking


broadly of the development of musical traditions and of the nature and meanings of musical experimentalism throughout Indonesia is highly problematic. The modern conditions which lead to these differences began to emerge during Bali’s relatively brief experience of colonial rule. A thorough understanding of Balinese experimental music and its relationship to experimental music in other areas of Indonesia is impossible without an understanding of the history of this unique scene. In the following section I will contextualize my analyses of Balinese musik kontemporer in chapter five by presenting a short history of Bali’s experience under colonialism and independence with a particular focus on developments in the field of the performing arts. Following this essentially descriptive account I present a review of previous relevant anthropological work and introduce my own interpretive models and arguments which are connected, finally, in the conclusion.

Colonialism Western Contact and Perceptions Bali was “discovered” (by the West) in 1597 by Cornelis de Houtman, the leader of the first Dutch expedition to these East Indies (Vickers 1989:12).19 Viewed as an exotic, civilized, and fertile Hindu outpost in an otherwise hostile sea of Islam, the Dutch initially saw Bali as a potential ally (Hindus and Protestants vs. the Moors) in the colonial struggle for military and economic trade control of the East Indies. The Balinese did not share this vision and while several missionary groups, trading expeditions, and embassies landed on the island after initial contact, the Balinese constantly and often violently rebuffed colonial attempts at contact for the next 200 years (ibid:14).

Houtman was actually preceded by Portuguese sailors and missionaries, the English privateer Sir Francis Drake (ibid.), and much earlier by Chinese merchants.


During the following period of Dutch expansion throughout the Indies, Bali and the Balinese were largely ignored by the V.O.C.20 which came to view Bali as a war-like island known chiefly as an exporter of slaves, opium, rifles, and mistresses. During the brief period of British control in the East Indies (1811-1816) the young British governor, Sir Thomas Raffles, who would later go on to found the trading city of Singapore, took more interest in Bali than did his predecessors. It is in Raffles’ writings that we first see the image of Bali as a museum piece and the beginning of a discourse of preservationism that would go on to greatly influence Balinese and Indonesian policies towards cultural innovation until today:
On Java we find Hinduism only among the antiquities of the island. Here [in Bali] it is a living source of action and a universal rule of conduct. The present state of Bali may be considered, therefore, as a kind of commentary on the ancient condition of the natives in Java. (Quoted in Vickers 1989:23).

Raffles, in a seemingly contradictory stance, and in contrast to earlier Dutch colonialists, also viewed Bali as a site of great potential development--a site for economic and cultural progression, for all its human, cultural, and agricultural wealth. This contradictory stance was to be inherited later by the colonizing Dutch, and later still by the hordes of American and European artists and anthropologists who first came to the island in the 1930s. This contradiction, museum versus development, stasis versus change, would also profoundly influence indigenous notions of innovation and change in the arts. By the time of English interregnum the colonial conception of Balinese religion as “Hindoo” was firmly established. Previously, the various religious and cultural practices performed by the Balinese were known in Bali as “agama tirta,” or religion of holy water, probably because of the ubiquitous presence of it in all religious acts. In the early decades of


The Dutch (United) East Indies Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie). A semigovernmental colonial body which originated as several competing Dutch trading companies and evolved into a colonial governmental structure.


the twentieth century, by the time Dutch presence in Bali was firmly entrenched, Dutch anthropologists in Bali began conducting systematic studies of Balinese “Hindoo” religious practices. Hinduism in India is a problematic topic and is at least partially a colonial invention. Before British scholars began seriously studying and documenting the various religious practices of the subcontinent there was no single indigenous unifying term or conception for the sprawling, varying, and sometimes contradictory polytheistic practices and beliefs. Shortly after Dutch scholars identified Balinese religious practices with those of the subcontinent, under the all-subsuming name “Hindoo,” the Balinese themselves developed an interest in unifying, standardizing, updating, and normalizing their various religious practices under the name Hinduism and looked towards India as a kind of root and model for “correct” and “authentic” versions of their religion.21 Recently, interests in aligning Balinese Hindu culture with Indian “roots” have partially influenced Balinese composers’ interests in Indian music and the incorporation of such instruments as tabla into musik kontemporer works. Preservationism By 1849 the Dutch had gained control over the north of Bali, but it was not until 1906, and later in 1908, after the Dutch invaded south Bali and the local royal families marched famously to their death in the puputan ritual suicide, that the Dutch would finally control the whole of the island. As Vickers (1989) clearly illustrates, the Dutch view of Bali between final conquest and the 1930s evolved from an image of an island of unpredictable, warlike, slave-trading opium addicts to a utopian image of a paradise on earth, populated by a

This has continued until the present day. In 2003 the Balinese governor Beratha attempted to invite the Indian Prime Minister Vajpaey to a conference on Balinese Hinduism stating that such a visit would help the Balinese perfect and align their religion with Indian models, and that Balinese Hinduism was in a serious “state of decay.” The glorification of Indian culture as a source of Balinese cultural and religious practice can be seen today in the use of Indian costume design and movement in Balinese dance and the increasing interest in Indian musical models by young Balinese musik kontemporer composers.


noble people whose smiling, titillating women were perpetually topless. Eventually the Dutch, influenced by such writer/researchers as Van Hoevell, adopted what came to be known as the Ethical Policy, a policy which attempted to repay the acknowledged exploitative policies of colonialism through various welfare policies (ibid:80). It was also during the first decades of Dutch control of the island that tourism began on Bali in earnest. The scholarship of the first generation of Dutch civil servant/scholars, primarily Friedrich, Liefrinck, der Tuuk and Goris, painted Bali as an orderly society in which, in an image borrowed from Raffles, the ancient pre-Mohammedan culture of Hindu Java was neatly preserved. The erotic but orderly museum-like image painted in colonial journals quickly attracted adventurous tourists.22 Under the Ethical Policy Bali was, according to Vickers, “reorganized to conform with Dutch ideas of Balinese tradition” (1989:83). Vickers continues:
‘Traditional’ Bali which they [the Dutch] wanted so much to preserve was the Bali systematically described by Liefrinck and the other earlier scholars. Following their guide, successive Residents of Bali and Lombok conducted surveys on land ownership, slavery, and the other major legal issues of the day. They banned slavery and widow sacrifice, disapproved of activities such as cockfighting, phased out the use of opium, and altered the structure of state organization. They could do this and still ‘preserve’ Bali because Liefrinck had shown them that the real Bali lay in its ‘village republics.’ The Dutch government was eager for the world to think about Bali in terms of positive images, and tourism was the best way to present those images, that is, the best way to wipe away the bloody stain of imperialism. (Vickers 1989:92)

In their efforts to preserve the island’s culture the Dutch banned all missionary activity in Bali, Christian and Islamic, on the advice of the Dutch scholar van der Tuuk. The Balinese Hindu religion was therefore “safeguarded” from foreign influence, and in certain ways was changed to conform to Dutch scholars’ understanding of Indian Hinduism, especially in terms of caste structures. The Dutch sponsored projects such as the restoration


For an in-depth accounting and interpretation of the history and economy of tourism on Bali see Picard, 1996.


of temples including Besakih on the slopes of Gunung Agung. G.P. Rouffaer summed up the dominant scholarly colonial position on the Dutch plans for Bali:
Let the Balinese live their own beautiful native life as undisturbed as possible! Their agriculture, their village-life, their own forms of worship, their religious art, their own literature – all bear witness to an autonomous native civilization of rare versatility and richness. No railroads on Bali; no western coffee plantations; and especially no sugar factories! But also no proselytizing, neither by Mohammedan (by zealous natives from other parts of the Indies), nor Protestant, nor Roman Catholic. Let the colonial administration, with the strong backing of the Netherlands (home) government, treat the island of Bali as a rare jewel, that we must protect and whose virginity must remain intact (in Robinson 1995:41).

Generally, in comparison to the situation in West and Central Java, the Dutch maintained a largely hands-off approach to governing and colonizing Bali. Often Bali’s rajas were left to govern their kingdoms, although their titles were changed from raja to Regent, and they functioned largely as puppets of the Dutch colonial administration.23 European settlements in Bali were largely restricted in the early years of contact to the north in Buleleng and later in the southern district of Badung. Compared to the Javanese, the Balinese had a comparatively brief and limited experience of colonial rule. In Java the cultural center revolved around the courts and the heavy Dutch influence there, while in Bali the village of Ubud and the court of Cokorda Agung became one of the first centers of “culture.” Beginning in the 1920s the Dutch, continuing the policies of the Ethical Policy, initiated the policy of Baliseering, or the “Balinization” of Bali (Picard 1996:21).24 Through the policy of Baliseering the Dutch became involved in the revival and, according to Robinson, “in some cases the creation of ‘traditional’ cultural, religious, and legal practices” (1995:14). According to I Wayan Suweca, the Dutch in the northern area of Buleleng, where

According to Vickers: “By 1929 the Dutch felt that all the former kings had been tamed enough to allow them to become autonomous rulers, or what the Dutch called zelfbestuurders, part of a new body, the Council of Kings” (1989:137). 24 Robinson suggests that “Culture” in Bali was used as a kind of diversionary tactic by the Dutch in order to stifle political inclinations and to ensure “peace and order” (rust en orde) (Robinson 1995:8), the same could be said of Suharto’s employment of “Culture” in the first years of the New Order. See Pemberton, 1994.


the dynamic kebyar form emerged around 1915, actively encouraged and sponsored various kinds of contests and competitions among the Balinese, including musical contests. As colonial and later indigenous cultural policy developed, previously interrelated forms of performing arts (i.e. music, drama, dance) began to be divided into compartmentalized conceptual categories, as to be more easily understood by colonizer and tourist. 25 As part of the Baliseering policy the Dutch colonial administration supported the development of cultural periodicals such as Bhawanagara, a monthly journal first published in 1931.26 As Robinson points out, the enthusiastic endorsement of such journals was tied to the colonial interest in “promoting a consciousness of Balinese cultural identity, rather than an identity based on caste difference [which could lead to internal strife and disorder] or national Indonesian/Indies unity [which could lead to rebellion]” (ibid 35). An indigenous focus on material aspects of culture, rather than on the development of political consciousness or caste tensions helped ensure continued colonial domination and control. This focus would continue throughout the Independence era partly as a way to preserve the touristic museum-like reputation of the island. During the era of Baliseering many Balinese were kept in poverty by the high level of colonial tax extraction which, in lieu of income from large plantations, was the central source of income for the Dutch in Bali. This economic arrangement significantly impacted the state of cultural life on Bali. Many rajas, while being propped up as political, religious

It is conceivable that the more abstract kebyar dance and music developed partially as a way to realize a division between pure dance and “danced” theater. 26 The other two major Malay-language journals of this era were Bali Adnyana (1925-1929) and Surya Kanta (1925-1927). According to Robinson (34) these two journals had evolved from a split of the staff of a previous journal, Santi Adnyana, over caste lines—triwangsa (the upper three Balinese castes) and sudra (the lowest, “casteless” caste). Surya Kanta was edited by a staff of educated sudra who openly criticized the existence and colonial reification of caste distinctions and prerogatives. Bali Adnyana, edited by a triwangsa staff, was essentially a newspaper for Bali’s aristocratic elite. The editors of Bali Adnyana typically denounced the call for a casteless Bali in Surya Kanta and often supported the Dutch policy of the retraditionalization of the island.


and cultural figureheads, lost much of their income from land concessions and taxation to the Dutch, forcing them to sell court property and heirlooms including gamelan. These ensembles later ended up in hock shops, where many of them were bought by low-caste community organizations. Baliseering eventually became one of the most arrogant features of Dutch control to the emerging class of young Balinese nationalists in the 1930s and 1940s. According to Robinson:
As a cultural policy, Baliseering entailed the reintroduction of “traditional” styles of dress, architectural forms, dance [and therefore music] and rules of speech. According to Dutch authorities, Balinese ought to wear “Balinese” clothes; modern construction techniques, no matter how practical or desirable to those who used them, were determined to be aesthetically “bad,” and therefore to be avoided; Balinese (not Malay) language was to be encouraged and the strict observance of its status-marking code enforced in adat [traditional] law. In the context of this state-sponsored “renaissance” of Balinese culture, the wearing of pants by men or the kebaya (Javanese blouse) by women became a subversive act. The use of inappropriate level of Balinese language or the use of Malay was seen by the government authorities as a brazen act of resistance, and was punishable in the Raad van Kerta [Dutch council of courts of customary law]. As educational policy, Baliseering meant instruction in traditional Balinese dance, sculpture, music, language, and script and near absence of such subjects as world history, mathematics, and ‘foreign’ languages, whether Malay, Dutch, or English. (Robinson 1995:49).27

As a policy, Baliseering reached its height around 1939 (ibid:91) when Dutch sponsored “traditional” Balinese schools were opened in Gianyar, Peliatan, Mengwi, Jimbaran, and Karangasem. Education in Bali was comparatively limited during Dutch colonial rule, especially in comparison to Java, and Balinese who were interested in advanced high school or teacher’s schools were forced to study in Java. One report indicates that by 1920 only 6% of the population in the northern regency of Buleleng (the Dutch stronghold) were literate, a fall from the rates of the pre-Baliseering era; in 1850 at least 50% of that population was literate (ibid:49). The Balinization of Bali involved the introduction of Western derived


In this context, one may even wonder if the very creation, and quick rise in popularity of the radically new and untraditional kebyar form, had any tones of resistance to Dutch cultural policy.


concepts such as the division of the arts into European categories, the reification of caste forms and religious practices in line with Dutch understandings (or misunderstandings) of Indian practices, and a general dumbing down of the population through ineffective education systems and engineered non-development.28 It would be overly cynical to suggest that the very healthy state of contemporary Balinese performing arts is simply the result of manipulative colonial and governmental policies meant to distract the Balinese from engaging in political activity by encouraging increased activity in the sphere of material culture. However, an open minded observer must ask if this is, at least somewhat, part of the story. One must wonder at why experimentalism, which is so often at the heart of political and social critique in many other cultures (including Javanese), has in Bali been historically been associated with pure artistic innovation rather than social activism.29 Certainly the reasons for the current state of affairs are connected to the historical influence of such policies as Baliseering and the cultural conservatism dominant after the bloody massacres of the 1967 coup attempt (discussed below).

Early Anthropology and the Romanticisation of the Archipelago Indonesia has long been an anthropological playground, a tropical and sociological paradise brimming with a seemingly never-ending supply of Culture. To the Western anthropologist each island offers up for study a unique ethnic group seemingly tidily bounded by the sea. Partly due to this idealized perspective, Indonesia has historically served as one


Robinson (ibid) reports that Dutch colonial officials purposely avoided the establishment of large capitalist plantations and factories in Bali, associating the development of large scale agricultural and capitalist systems with the development of a nationalist consciousness. 29 The works of both Sadra and Yudane have included elements of social critique. However, these artists don’t represent status quo Balinese experimental aesthetics. Sadra has been most active in Central Java and Yudane has frequently toured and lived abroad.


of the central sites for the development of structural anthropology and the study of cultures as bounded, self-contained and internally coherent systems – social islands floating on a rising sea of Western cultural imperialism30. Classic anthropology dealt with such so-called “territorialized” cultures, examining face-to-face interaction in a bounded physical space. “Bali-ology” emerged in the political setting of late Dutch colonialism in the writings of colonial scholars, foremost among them being F.A. Liefrinck and V.E. Korn who produced ethnographic, linguistic and legal studies of Balinese culture. Later a small but influential group of American anthropologists and artists brought wider attention to an idealized portrayal of Indonesian culture. According to Robinson:

While their portrayals of Balinese society were by no means uniformly romanticized, they carried in them sufficient raw material from which such an image could easily be developed. Even in the most sophisticated anthropological analysis of the period, for example, suggested that “balance,” “harmony,” “order” and “happiness” were inherent in Balinese culture and social organization. Signs of tension or disharmony—the “frenzy” of trance dancers or the phenomenon of “running amok”—were understood essentially as the functionally integrative mechanisms of a “well-ordered” “traditional” society. These images became the cornerstones of the exotic image of Bali. (Robinson 1995:6)

In the accounts of the first generation of Western Indonesianists, including musicologists, we find scant mention of the long history of cultural contact between Bali and foreign populations, either West (primarily Dutch colonials), the East, or for that matter other areas of the archipelago (cf. Geertz, 1960). Adopting Bateson’s metaphor of the steady state, Geertz suggested that, as late as the 1970s, social values and organization in Bali remained essentially unchanged since the 19th century, before Dutch colonialists had arrived on the island (Geertz 1973). However, in a recent interest in problematizing and de-romanticizing earlier scholarship on Balinese culture Robinson, Picard, Vickers, Putra and others have argued that the “traditional” Bali described in twentieth-century ethnographic accounts was

Although, by the time Geertz had arrived to develop his notions of “deep play” (ca. 1970) the Balinese were already up to their knees (at least) in Western influence.


partly a Dutch creation, forged primarily through the policy of Baliseering. Dutch colonial administrators believed that maintaining (or reifying) the distinct “Hindu” culture of Bali would cause the island to act as a kind cultural of stop-gap between the outer islands and Java where sentiments of (Islamic) nationalism, and nascent communism were growing. It was during the enforced pax neerlandica and the establishment of such policies as Baliseering that the first generation of American scholars arrived. Later these writers romanticized the “peaceful, balanced” Bali in their accounts, believing the social harmony and flourishing cultural activity they witnessed in colonial Bali was the historical and normal state of affairs. In actuality the pre-colonial social norm was nearly constant warfare between bickering fiefdoms. Paradoxically the imposition of Dutch colonial rule heralded the most peaceful time in Bali in nearly five centuries – since the fall of the kingdom of Gelgel. Before the publication of his Negara (1980) Geertz makes only fleeting references to politics, the nation-state or political conflict despite the fact that dramatic and traumatic political activity was taking place during his research (c.f. Geertz:1973). The fact of well over 500 years31 of continuous and documented cultural interaction between Indonesians and Western traders, adventurers, missionaries, scholars, and colonialists was rarely acknowledged in earlier anthropological studies. Historically, anthropologists have often represented Indonesian cultures as bounded cultural systems that seemingly wanted nothing more than to perpetuate themselves, retain their presumed cultural stasis, and not be bothered by global political trends, economics, cultural flows or local colonial or nationalist politics. Many contemporary anthropologists contend that an earlier generation of researchers had become in fact part of the colonial project of de-politicization of the local populations, an effort meant to stem growing sentiments of nationalism throughout the archipelago that had


Scholte (1997) reports that Franciscans had entered what is now Indonesia by the 1200's.


started before the 1920s. Bateson’s characterization of Balinese culture as a “steady state,” for example, has been heavily criticized for its rosy and simplistic portrayal of Balinese social life (cf. Robinson, 1995). In his Bali: The Value System of a Steady State (1942) Bateson suggests that Balinese culture represents stasis and that the continually active nature of Balinese culture was not actually an expression of development, but rather the expression of the perpetuation of an ultimately undevelopable static state which was maintained by continuous ceremonial and artistic tasks that were neither economically nor competitively determined. As part of the “steady state” argument, Bateson suggested that the Balinese character strove towards harmony and, quoting Colin McPhee’s suggestion that Balinese music did not have a “proper climax” and Mead’s Freudian analysis of “genital teasing” by Balinese mothers, that the Balinese live in a kind of psycho/sexual stasis. Bateson had also argued that the Balinese have no real sense of change or history, an idea that fit well with the colonial aims of “cultural preservation” of Bali (cf. Bateson, 1942, 1970). Western anthropology’s a historical focus downplayed the historical, economic, cultural, and political interactions between the Balinese and other populations. Bateson and Mead, among others, provided an academic veneer to the older concept of “cultural Bali,” (provided first by the Dutch and then figures such as the German artist and painter Walter Spies) as opposed to an image of “political Bali,” “economic Bali,” “philosophical Bali,” etc.. For the majority of its modern history art and culture have been the only topics through which to discuss Bali. This foreign and eventually indigenous ideology of tradition would greatly influence the development of musical experimentalism in Bali in the later decades of the twentieth century. The portrayal of sometimes radical innovation as inherently connected to tradition, indeed as “new” or “spontaneous tradition” is intimately connected to the development of discourses about


Balinese tradition stemming first from colonial Baliseering policies. But beyond simply informing the representation of Balinese experimentalism, these discourses have partially functioned to regulate the actual degree and rate of innovation and the amount of influence that foreign forms have wielded over new Balinese works. Prior to the 1980s, Indonesia (Bali and Java especially) had been represented by anthropologists as a bounded cultural laboratory in which new theoretical work could be tested. The work of early ethnomusicologists, such as Colin McPhee, adopted this approach, focusing on older traditions and their preservation while largely sidestepping hybrid and new forms and the interactions between music and other spheres of human activity. McPhee claimed that the new form of kebyar, which was emerging in Bali during his research (early 1930s), compensated for its perceived lack of internal formal cohesion, as opposed to the “classical” forms derived from the Majapahit courts, through ensemble virtuosity and dynamic intensity. Within this claim one can hear a moralistic tone—early fears of cultural grey-out. Kebyar’s hedonism, its “inevitable and apocalyptic underside” (Tenzer 2000:119), was destined in McPhee’s perspective to lay waste to all valuable classical forms. This fear of the fragility of Balinese, in fact all non-Western culture, was also shared by those other artists and anthropologists with which McPhee was in contact, including Covarrubias, Mead, Spies and others.32


Several works have investigated earlier scholarly exoticizations of Bali: James A. Boon “The Birth of the Idea of Bali, “ Benedict Anderson and Audrey Kahin, eds., Interpreting Indonesian Politics: Thirteen Contributions to the debate, Interim Report Series, no. 62 (Ithaca: Cornell Modern Indonesia Project, 1982), pp. 1-12: James Boon, The Anthropological Romance of Bali, 1597-1972: Dynamic Perspectives in Marriage and Caste, Politics and Religion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977); Vickers, Bali, A Paradise Created; and Tessel Pollmann, “Margaret Mead’s Balinese: Fitting Symbols of the American Dream,” Indonesia 49 (April 1990): 1-36. (For a discussion of the influence of anthropological perspectives on the study of music in Southeast Asia see Becker, 1993 “Southeast Asia.” In Myers, Helen, ed. Ethnomusicology: Historical and Regional Studies, 377-91. New York: W.W. Norton.)


Since before World War II many Indonesianists, Bali-ologists, and Balinese writers themselves have either ignored or incorrectly characterized the nonromantic evidence of intercultural interaction and social change, preferring rather to focus on re-assuring ideas of cultures as bounded units. Recent research has focused on filling the historical lacunae on Indonesia, especially during the period from 1960-1970, a time of significant political turmoil. (cf. Robinson, 1995). Romanticisation of Indonesian culture continued even as hundreds of thousands were being massacred after the failed coup of 1965. Portrayed in scholarship as a wild and “frenzied” purge of suspected communists, the post-coup massacres tended to be attributed to the mysterious and superstitious religious beliefs of rural Indonesian peasants rather than as a result of concrete historical, social, economic, and political conditions.33 Starting with colonial attempts to govern indirectly and to create a tourist destination there has developed, especially with respect to Bali, an ideology and cult of tradition both among local and foreign scholars – a tradition that is imagined and represented as something pure, ancient and deserving of preservation at all costs.34 These discourses have served to justify certain cultural policies (discussed in greater detail in Chapter two) which shaped the face of Balinese artistic expression and guided the development of experimental music in Bali, and Indonesia as a whole. Part of the aim of this work is to illustrate the ways in which the Balinese, through contemporary forms of composition, have remained Balinese, while selectively using foreign musical materials and concepts. While not resorting to an outright affront against the ideology of tradition, contemporary Balinese

For more on this see Hughes, Indonesian Upheaval (1967), and Moser, “where the Rivers Ran Crimson,” p.28; and Brian May, The Indonesian Tragedy (1978). Robinson (1995) provides an excellent summary of these accounts, and works to provide a more detailed account. 34 The ideology of tradition is probably most clearly represented today in Bali in the field of dance where traditional restrictions on the range of female movement are most clearly illustrated. Today innovation in dance occurs more slowly than innovations in other artistic fields.


composers have in fact strengthened Balinese musical identity through the equal exploration of indigenous (often pre-kebyar) and foreign materials.

Bali Under Independence Pre-independence Indonesian nationalists and cultural thinkers, many working and studying in the Netherlands, adopted the 18th century European concept that “society can be made” (Holtzappel 1997:84). These thinkers largely accepted the assumptions about the form and function of “Culture” coming out of 19th century European nationalism. Many of these intellectuals were interested in the creation of an Indonesian identity that did not yet exist, and worked to erase what they viewed as backward feudal and colonial structures, expressions, and forms of thinking. Early Indonesian nationalists faced considerable challenges in the effort to forge a cultural identity for the emerging nation. This difficulty was at least partly due to their own educational backgrounds.

Their habitual language was Dutch, their references were to European civilizations, their goal was a modernity which was difficult to imagine except in Western terms. Where, then did an Indonesian identity lie? Not in any particular local culture; these they saw as “feudal” or primitive. Indonesian-ness must rest in something that was new, modern, yet close to the people. (McVey 1996:14)

The debate that would emerge from these questions would eventually swell into a nationwide discussion known as the polemik kebudayaan (cultural polemic). Many composers at the time argued for the use of non-traditional forms (i.e. Western classical music models) rather than the use of any single regional form, such as Javanese court gamelan (that echoed Indonesia’s feudal past) in the development of a national music culture. 35 In the 1930s two fundamental camps emerged around the development of new Indonesian music. One side

Raden identifies the first public discussion of “national” Indonesian music as an article published in 1918 by Soerjo Poetro, founder of the Taman Siswa school (Raden 2001:150).


argued for the use of a primarily non-Indonesian musical language (Western art music) which would be used to transform selected regional elements (such as the pélog scale). The opposing camp within the polemic argued for the use of primarily regional traditional and folk forms with the selected use of foreign elements. The second camp was originally lead by the cultural critic Ki Hadjar Dewantara who, in an oft-quoted phrase incorporated into the revolutionary governmental passals of 1945, suggested that a new form of Indonesian music be created in national conservatory/laboratories which would combine the “peaks” of Indonesia’s various regional cultures. This vision was not realized until the 1980s and 1990s when various artists and institutions, influenced by the focus of late New Order cultural policies on the rhetoric and philosophy of multiculturalism, brought together musicians, composers and musical elements from around Indonesia in the creation of musical forms called kreasi baru, musik kontemporer, musik nusantara, and musik etnik (ethnic).

Old Order During the early years of Indonesian independence36 the contest over culture moved from a struggle between the colonizers and the colonized to that between political parties and their cultural wings. Culturally, Bali became stuck between the claims of and struggles toward being a “modern” and “progressive” society and the claims of still being an unspoiled site of the mystical east: a destination for Western tourists and researchers. Bali’s first nationalist governor, Suteja, strove to create an image of a modern Bali, making energetic attempts to, for instance, cover up the island’s naked breasts. Opposing Suteja was a neotraditionalist group including the remnants of the Dutch constructed Council of Kings, which

Indonesian Independence was declared on August 17th, 1945, but was not realized until after the Dutch finally left the archipelago some time afterward. For more on the details of Indonesian independence see Ricklefs, 1993.


worked to have Bali be designated, like Aceh and Yogyakarta, as a Special District in which traditional royal leadership would be retained. This was opposed by President Sukarno, who sought to create a progressive and non-feudal Indonesia. The neo-traditionalists supported the revitalization of Balinese literature and “classical” dance and drama. This led to the creation by the neo-traditionalists of Udayana University37, in Denpasar. By 1957 the Hindu reformist organization (Angkatan Muda Hindu Dharma), which was initially supported by all the Balinese political factions, advocated that Balinese religion and texts be aligned with their Indian prototypes, and that the religion be given “a single divine focus in order that it could be more easily presented and explained to others.” (Vickers 1989:165). This move was also in response to the requirements of the Sukarno government which recognized only those religions with an identifiable canon and a belief in one god. In the 1950s many commoner (sudra) social groups became intensely involved in the search for a more well-defined social identity and a “rediscovery” of their ancestry. This often involved the fabrication of genealogies which suggested royal or at least caste connections.38 During this time formerly feudalistic forms previously performed primarily in the court, such as the gamelan semar pegulingan, later an important ensemble in the development of musik kontemporer, continued to be socialized into all layers of Balinese society. Official arts policy during the Sukarno era was characterized by an effort to eradicate elements of feudalism left over from colonialism and to sponsor the creation of more or less homogenized cultural forms as a response to, and partial denial of, globalization. During


Certain departments and faculty from Udanaya would later (2003) merge with STSI Denpasar to help upgrade the school to an ISI institution. ISI Denpasar was my primary research site. 38 Often the experts who discovered and elucidated these genealogies were the mask and theater dancers, many of whom were also dalang (puppeteers), whose knowledge of Bali’s ancient kingdoms, as portrayed in their plays and dances, qualified them to perform such tasks.


Sukarno’s rule the development of the arts was a response to globalization in the sense that the effort to forge national art forms was viewed as a means to establish a unique national identity in a global context. The nature of this development was also, paradoxically, a kind of denial of globalization in that Western, globalized (especially popular) forms were essentially ruled out as potential elements of Indonesian national identity. Sukarno perceived Western influence negatively and he occasionally banned Western rock music. However, Sukarno’s cultural policy, like his personality, was not monolithic; he often changed his mind and frequently ignored the field of culture altogether. The development of cultural policy during the old order was marked by paradox, contradiction, and dilemma. During the 1960s several factors contributed to increased social tensions on the island. 39 In 1964 18,000 Balinese were severely affected by famine. The two major political parties active in Bali at the time, the PNI (Partai Nasional Indonesia, The Indonesian Nationalist Party) and the PKI (Partai Komunis Indonesia, Indonesian Communist Party) became increasingly active and polarized, principally around the heated issue of land-reform. The PKI attracted poorer, casteless members of society through promises of greater land equity. The PKI encouraged its members to overthrow caste completely, and advocated marriage between commoner men and brahmana women. Clashes between the two parties increased in frequency and violence as the 1960s wore on. Music, dance, and theater became propaganda tools in this battle. The debate played out in these propagandistic performances was centrally concerned with the form of Balinese culture and identity – specifically over whether Bali should be a feudal caste society or not. Then governor Sutedja was strongly supported by Sukarno, who provided him a second term after gaining fewer votes than the

Culminating in the 1969 eruption of Bali’s highest and holiest mountain, Gunung Agung, which exploded as a large centennial rite of exorcism, the Ekadasa Rudra, was being performed in Besakih temple. The ritual was unable to proceed in full and the eruption caused widespread loss of life and the destruction of rice fields.


PNI candidate. Sutedja vigorously supported PKI and LEKRA, its cultural wing, activity on the island (Putra 2003:59). In the field of culture the debate became polarized at the national level, specifically in Java, between artists associated with the Manifes group which espoused a Western oriented humanism (discussed in greater detail below) and PKI/LEKRA which espoused social realist aesthetics. The LKN (Lembaga Kebudayaan Rakyat or ‘Institute of National Culture’), established in 1959 and associated with the PNI, combined with LEKRA on the national level in attacking the Manifes group (which had significant support from the Army). In Bali the LKN and LEKRA attacked each other, although both were supposedly supported by Sukarno. According to Putra: “Public speeches and performances, such as choirs, janger dances, poetry readings (declamation) and modern drama, became the sites of a battle between LEKRA and LKN” (Putra 2003:74). After the 1965 coup attempt when, to the delight of Manifes artists centered in Jakarta, LEKRA and the PKI were outlawed by Suharto’s regime, the LKN in Bali continued to attack the Manifes group. The LKN attacked any artistic movement viewed as either anti-Pancasila40 or anti-revolutionary, both overtly social realist-communist (Marxist, Leninist) or Western/humanist. Putra continues:

While LEKRA had been banned, LKN continued to be active in supporting various arts and cultural activities such as gamelan music and dance festivals, performances and discussions in order to proliferate what they consistently described as ‘People’s Culture’. The way this concept was used was often similar to how it had been promoted by LEKRA. (ibid.)

The ideological division between LEKRA and Manifes had become polarized in Java before the failed coup, with the PNI gradually associating its aesthetics with the Manifes group, the cultural “winners” after the coup attempt. In Bali the division between LEKRA and LKN


Sukarno, in a June 1, 1945 speech laid out the doctrine of Pancasila, “five principles,” which eventually became a guiding official policy and philosophy of Indonesian nationalism: belief in God, nationalism, humanitarianism, social justice and democracy.


arose primarily between political and personality divisions while their cultural stances were rather similar. After the failed coup the LKN continued to reject the concept of arts for art’s sake and universal humanism. LKN supported creations included folk revitalizations such as the tari tenun (weaving dance), tari nelayan (fishermen’s dance), and tari gotong royong (community cooperation dance). With the exception of tari gotong royong, these dances were still being performed during my research in 2004. The LKN-Bali focus on regional folk culture would later help to establish the significant aesthetic divisions between Central Javanese musik kontemporer, more closely associated with the universal humanism aesthetics of the Manifes group, and early Balinese musik kontemporer which continued to espouse a communal, folk aesthetic based upon traditional communal and religious values and themes. Works such as Asnawa’s Kosong, Windha’s Sangkep, Astita’s Gema Eka Dasa Rudra, and Rai’s Trompong Beruk,41 all written in the late 1970s and early 1980s, would embody the philosophical heritage of these earlier political movements.

New Order On September 30, 1965 a convoluted abortive coup was staged Jakarta in which PKI complicity was alleged, leading to months of violence throughout Java and Bali in which thousands of PKI members were slaughtered, allegedly by PNI supporters.42 Eventually, the Javanese general Suharto emerged from the political mayhem to wrest control from Sukarno. In Bali, the killings amounted to the removal of half a generation of left-leaning intellectuals, activists and performers, leaving an unchallengeable consensus as to what Balinese culture should be. These violent historic events live, as Marx would say of all history, like a

Asnawa’s Kosong is analyzed and discussed in detail in Chapter five. Windha’s, Astita’s, and Rai’s works are discussed in Appendix D. 42 An estimated 80,000-100,000 in Bali alone.


nightmare on the brains of the Balinese. Most musicians who lived through the events will not, or cannot, speak of them or of their role in them or of those musicians who were lost. The events insured that ostensibly traditional Balinese values, rooted in a religion centered around “ancient” ideas of caste would be maintained and unchallenged for years. This history of political violence centered around questions of culture serves to explain why experimental musical works which stray from representing and serving “traditional” Balinese culture, specifically the Balinese Hindu religion with its various customs, ceremonies, and caste associations have often been disregarded as unmusical and without artistic merit.43 The aftermath of the slaughter effected serious changes in the national conservatories. Artistic forms once branded and opposed by PKI members as feudal court genres such as legong and gambuh, began to be studied and performed again actively in the conservatories. Suharto’s New Order regime attempted, with varying degrees of focus, energy, and success to forge national art forms based on regional cultural traditions. Selected regional cultures were highlighted to forge a national identity. These were often aestheticized, partially drained of both their original functional or ceremonial meanings and their potential political symbolic power, as an organizing force for regionalism. In an Indonesia that experienced rapid economic and cultural change during the end of the Old Order and the beginning of the New Order, traditional arts came to symbolize an idealized past, a root which would serve as the foundation of a developing national identity. Forms such as sendratari,44 which developed first as a national form with different regional incarnations-Balinese, Javanese, Sundanese--illustrates clearly the intentions of the Suharto cultural policy – national models with local manifestations.
43 44

See especially discussions of I Wayan Yudane’s work Laya discussed below. For more on sendratari see the discussion on the gamelan semara dana in Appendix B. Sendratari first emerged as a Central Javanese form, developed in Yogyakarta and Solo in 1960. Later, Balinese and ethnic Javanese artists would develop regional forms of the style in 1970.


As compared to New Order cultural policy, Old Order policy can be distinguished for its occasional practice of pressing the regional arts into the service of politics, often in a direct way, and often through social realist forms. Several Old Order cultural policy shapers believed that national culture had to be a totally new culture, stripped of older feudalistic influence and ethnocentrism (Ramstedt 1992:72); ethnic identities were to be somewhat hidden to suggest a monolithic national identity. According to Harnish (2001) “Since the New Order (Orde Baru) era of President Suharto (1967-1998), artists have been encouraged to develop new “national” forms of music intertwining local culture with the noble values of the modern Indonesian state, and the arts have had to meet the New Order goals which connote “improvement” (kemajuan) of tradition and ‘Unity in Diversity’ (Bhinneka Tunggal Ika – the national motto)” (ibid). New Order policy shapers imagined national cultural identity as inherently pluralistic.45 Court and regional genres were revitalized because they were now viewed as the possessions of the whole Indonesian people. At the beginning of the New Order social realist and left wing expressions were suppressed because of their association with the PKI and communism (cf. Maklai, 1993). As part of this action the New Order closed Old Order arts institutes such as LEKRA and LKN (Halim 1999:288). According to Halim the early New Order exacted intensive and strategic control on traditional artists:

Every traditional artist had to register with the Department of Education and Culture at the level of the village, district, regency and province. Without a membership card a traditional artist could not perform in public. (Halim 1999:298)46

As Schefold suggests, this move towards highlighting pluralism was partially in response to the rising threat of fundamentalist Islam at the national level. “As a counterweight, traditional Indonesian pluralism suddenly appeared in a new, more attractive light” (Schefold 1998:273). In the New Order “ethnic diversity” emerged as a central element of Indonesian identity. Counteracting the resultant fragmentation, the New Order government attempted to increase the credibility of pan-Indonesian cultural components. 46 Halim goes on to suggest that traditional artists had to fill out (and pay for) paperwork for each performance they participated in. I am rather suspicious of this statement. In discussions with several


Furthermore, through the politics of performance permission, almost all dalang in central Java were pressured to become members of organizations managed by GOLKAR, Suharto’s ruling party (ibid). During the New Order the middle class increased in size, but poverty, especially in urban areas, was rampant. Popular music tastes in Indonesia during the New Order shifted dramatically as the large middle class voraciously consumed the Western popular styles which had been largely prohibited during the Sukarno era (ibid:77). Pemberton traces the overwhelming drive with which the New Order regime attempted to recover or invent socalled origins of Indonesian culture “at all costs;” an effort in which the attempt was made to “recuperate the past within a framework of recovered origins that would efface, for the sake of cultural continuity, a history of social activism from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s (1994:9). Tension between the goals of preservation and innovation in the traditional arts marks New Order cultural policy, with creativity sometimes, as during Humardani’s tenure at ASKI Solo, apparently gaining the upper hand. A paradox slowly evolved within the New Order’s cultural rhetoric stemming from the tension between the perceived need to support traditional cultural heritage (such as gamelan) as a kind of antidote to Western cultural imperialism, and the perceived need to avoid overdue emphasis on regional artistic heterogeneity which could lead to cultural balkanization. While rhetorics of preservation and the ideology of tradition continued throughout the New Order, there emerged the notion that the traditional arts must be updated. Humardani and others suggested that in their present

musicians none of them had heard of such a policy. This probably was the case for most dalang (puppeteers) but probably not for all musicians. It’s possible, however, that such a policy was officially drafted but in practice ignored.


state the traditional arts were somewhat irrelevant to the modern world, and that they must be improved or made more salient to current lifestyles. Sumarsam (1995) reports that the rhetoric of preservation within the arts schools partially stemmed from the classical Javanese concept of adi luhung, literally “high art.” According to Sumarsam: “In defending court gamelan as an art music according to the Western European music category, the Javanese elite applied Western classical-folk musical paradigms to distinguish court gamelan from the village gamelan” (Sumarsam 1995:125). Humardani used this distinction in his rhetoric, distinguishing between seni tradisi (urban court forms) and seni rakyat (rural folk forms). Throughout the 1970s Humardani pushed ASKI Solo47 into the lead in analyzing, preserving, documenting and codifying aspects of court forms, while ironically simultaneously encouraging the development of radically modern and experimental forms (ibid:126). Furthermore, Humardani felt that gamelan traditions (primarily Solonese court forms) had classical and universal status, and that they should be maintained, but updated, to reflect the modern conditions of Indonesian life, with a general aim towards the Indonesianization (peng-Indonesiaan) of the traditional arts (ibid). Increasingly, in Java and Bali, ethnic gamelan traditions were becoming concert musics in the New Order as a function of their being upgraded and preserved. During the New Order in Java and Bali musical homogenization at the village level increased due to the almost overwhelming cultural authority invested by the government in the national arts schools. This trend continues today. Therefore, through their mandated function in preserving national musical heritage the conservatories have paradoxically furthered homogenization at the village level through the preservation of a single style (i.e.

ASKI Solo was the forerunner of many of the tertiary level conservatories in Indonesia (including STSI Denpasar), and the models of teaching and curriculum developed there were often disseminated into the other schools. Furthermore, many Balinese have taught, studied and worked at STSI Solo, and its influence as an institution is strongly felt in Denpasar.


Solonese, Denpasar) despite efforts in both institutions to bring village artists into the schools to teach local regional variations. In his discussion of STSI Denpasar, Hough (1999) treats the institution as a site of mediation and contestation between the creation and promotion of local Balinese identity and the creation of national Indonesian identity within the context of a modern, developing nation state. According to Hough, the national conservatories represent a site where the tensions of the binary of national-modern, local-traditional are played out. Part of this tension is evident in STSI hiring practices, whereby younger, less knowledgeable musicians with secondary degrees and modern, government sanctioned credentials receive jobs more frequently and at higher pay than those older and typically less-urbanized masters of tradition. Such a situation, as Hough points out, poses ironic problems in the government’s stated aim of preservation. Yet, it will be seen that in the creation of new, often experimental works, institutions such as STSI mediate these tensions by incorporating elements of village, and often ancient, esoteric forms (sometimes learned by composers while teaching STSI forms in the villages) in otherwise innovative contexts.

Theoretical Perspectives: Nationalism and Multiculturalism Considerable amounts of capital and ideological work has been devoted to the creation of new forms of performing arts which would, it was hoped, bind the various ethnicities of the Indonesian archipelago as effectively as Bahasa Indonesia, the national language. During the middle to late New Order, policy shifted away from active homogenization in the arts towards a celebration of ethnic diversity and a general aestheticization of the arts. In reacting to dangers of cultural homogenization (either Western, Islamic, or Javanese) government arts institutes were allowed to open during the New Order in East Java (Surabaya), Banyumas (West/Central Java), and in Padang Pajang,


(Sumatra) although some institutions (such as SMKI Banyumas) received only provincial rather than national governmental sponsorship. Through the sponsorship and control of contests and festivals the New Order government (national and provincial) exercised considerable control over the form of regional genres.48 Contests have further functioned to “upgrade” local arts, sometimes transforming them from “communal rural genre to packageable artistic product” (Sutton 1991:189). Acciaioli (1985) strongly suggests that the New Order government actively sought to disarm regional art forms of any political potential by turning them into art objects for external consumption. Acciaioli maintains that there has been a general domestication of the Indonesian populace as citizens of an encompassing state and that the government principle of respect for adat (traditional custom) has “concealed what is perhaps a more cunning strategy serving to topple particularistic loyalties" (ibid. 151), a process which he calls “dedoxafication.” Suggesting that adat is now simply a matter of consciously adhering to prescribed ritual, Acciaioli states: "Regional diversity is valued, honored, even apotheosized, but only as long as it remains at the level of display” (ibid:161). Similarly, Foulcher (1990) suggests that in order to counteract the negative cultural side effects of middle class consumerism, the New Order Indonesian government “engaged in a vigorous and successful construction of ‘Indonesian’ values and traditions” (Foulcher 1990:302) suggesting that “culture” has been the ground on which the Indonesian government has asserted its ideological legitimacy. Foulcher furthermore echoes Acciaioli in his description of the Indonesian government’s role in the erosion of the ritual functions of regional arts in the aim of turning them into elements of Indonesian national culture. Foulcher compares the Old Order development of Bahasa Indonesia as a national language to


Sutton (1991:186-188) discusses at length the development and preservation of the distinct Yogyanese gamelan style through government control of contest criteria.


the New Order’s development of the “Indonesian” arts.49 The development of the multicultural arts curriculum at the national conservatories (described in chapter four) and the creation of innovative new works such as a the “Beautiful Indonesia” project, (described in chapter three) are examples of the New Order’s attempt to develop “Indonesian” art forms. Arguing against Acciaioli and Foulcher, Yampolsky (1995) suggests that the Indonesian government does not (or is really incapable) of acting in such a Machiavellian manner. Rather, Yampolsky focuses on the internal inconsistencies of governmental cultural policy (both current and constitutional) towards the arts in Indonesia. Yampolsky states that: "Although pan-Indonesian work is screened (sometimes before and sometimes after publication or public presentation) for subversive, immoral, or irreligious content, there seems to be little attempt to shape the art forms themselves or the attitudes of their creators” (Yampolsky 1995:710). Through control in the form of contests and conservatories the New Order’s upgrading policies have been aimed at injecting seemliness, respectability and propriety into the traditional regional arts. According to Yampolsky, Indonesian “government policy for the arts is founded on an ambiguous and self-contradictory constitutional formulation; it has been elaborated in the New Order with the hope that the arts can, in unspecified ways, be engineered to construct the New Indonesian” and importantly that “in conditions of such confusion and imprecision, there is great leeway in how individuals and local offices interpret and implement government policy" (ibid: 721). Musik kontemporer for gamelan first emerged in the Central Javanese city of Solo (Surakarta). Solo was considered the psychic center of Suharto’s New Order regime and the


In his discussion of New Order transitions in Balinese dance and dramatic forms Michael Picard (1996), like Foulcher and Acciaioli, suggests a general trend from rite to art object, and also discusses the influence of Western epistemological imperialism on cultural representation in Bali. Picard also notes the increased level of “professionalization” in the Balinese arts during I Made Bandem’s tenure as head of STSI (ASKI) Denpasar.


artistic scene in Solo illustrates the very paradoxical nature of New Order nationalist ideologies towards tradition and innovation in the arts.50 Solo and its courts were symbolized by the New Order regime as the ultimate icons of traditional Javanese (and by extension national) culture. During the New Order all traditions surrounding Javanese courtly life were further reified, protected, and preserved by the national government, including processionals, the observance of specific holy days, the preservation and display of sacred relics, wedding ceremonies as well as music and dance. Paradoxically, music and dance were

simultaneously expected to freeze, as preserved and contained “tradition” while also develop (in radical and often self-consciously absurd ways) in the effort to forge new (national) forms. Preserved traditional forms represented unique instances of Indonesian identity in plurality, while modern forms of experimental expression were intended to demonstrate Indonesia’s cultural fluency in globalized modern/postmodern forms of expression. For administrators, composers, and musicians this paradoxical situation has lead to a confusing and at times contradictory policy and aesthetic stance. In Bali and Java, during and since the New Order, the government’s (and by extension the conservatory’s) stance towards the performing arts has centered around the question: how is it possible to develop the arts without disturbing the foundations of tradition? John Pemberton has written extensively about the nature and development of concepts of tradition in New Order Indonesia. According to Pemberton, the New Order regime made Culture a central focus, possibly at first as a diversionary tactic:

Within half a decade after the cataclysmic events of 1965-66 that ushered in General Soeharto’s rise to power, President and Mrs. Soeharto would turn explicitly to “culture” (kebudayaan) as a point of reference that might override the terror of the New Order’s own


Both Suharto and his wife’s family originated in central Java, close to Solo, and maintained that they had familial ties to the minor court, the Mangkunegaran.


origins by appearing to restore customs from a more distant past in the post-1965 present. (Pemberton 1994)

The emerging New Order ever increasingly needed signs, symbols, and performances of a timeless, classical golden-age of Indonesia. A tradition of avant-garde expression did not emerge until later, when the New Order had established itself with such surety and depth that it seemed impossible that it might one day crumble. However, by the 1970s, a paradox in the Indonesian music scene emerged in the tensions between the New Order’s “postcolonial recuperations of the past” (Pemberton:150) and its contradictory pre-figurations of Indonesia’s artistic future (in avant-garde expression). Concurrent with this was the development of an obsession with “connecting the past and the future in the form of a present” (ibid:155). This obsession, which Pemberton outlines in his discussion of Mrs. Suharto’s Taman Mini theme park in Jakarta51 became a kind of guiding aesthetic for much new music emerging in the mid and late 1970s. During this era in Indonesian cultural politics the key to creating a successful kontemporer work for gamelan involved the “process of eliding the difference between past and future” (ibid:89). The confusion in cultural policy during the New Order, and beyond into reformasi, has its root in a kind of double-shift in cultural discourse – the singular authority of “tradition” versus the celebration of “diversity.” The confusion could be likened to a visual illusion – the old man or the beautiful woman, faces or wine glasses. Space for negotiation and play in action and interpretation by artists and bureaucrats is opened up because an observer cannot simultaneously see both the face and the glass, both the woman and the man. Indonesians cannot simultaneously imagine and represent unique instances of the performing arts as elements of a unitary identity and aspects of diversity – they must constantly switch,

Taman Mini, or Beautiful Indonesia was the brain child of Tien Suharto, who developed the concept of building a cultural theme park, an Indonesia-in-miniature, after visiting Disneyland. Opened in 1975, the park was a very controversial project that was forced through by her husband’s influence.


as our eyes and brain must when seeing a visual illusion, between the two. Between these two images, points of resistance and newness occasionally emerge in the arts to proclaim a difference, to define themselves negatively and to claim that they cannot be assimilated into either of these images. One such point emerges in musik kontemporer. Musik kontemporer simultaneously draws upon officially sponsored and endorsed classical court and temple traditions (upheld as examples of unitary Indonesian tradition) while also drawing in influences from diverse marginal traditions and modern global trends. In its eclectic language it sloppily sidesteps the boundaries of the Indonesian nation state while oftentimes radically transforming and combining traditional regional elements. In official rhetoric and government sponsored events it is weakly and unconvincingly heralded as a new tradition. Yet few if any works are ever repeated and no canon has ever coalesced. For government bureaucrats it is not appropriate, it seems, to herald musik kontemporer as representing an artistic imagination which has transcended ethnic, regional, and national boundaries. Specific examples of official claims on musik kontemporer as a national form will be seen below within the discussion of the Pekan Komponis Muda.

Tourism Following the Indonesian revolution Bali was officially incorporated into the Indonesian Republic and assigned an important role, by both Sukarno and later Suharto, in the development of national culture. Under Sukarno Bali became Indonesia’s prime tourist destination, as it remains today. Suharto viewed Bali as a crucial resource for the creation of Indonesian cultural identity. He and his administration adopted the idea, invented by Dutch colonialists, that Bali represented a museum-piece of ancient Java, and thus should be preserved. Sukarno used Bali primarily as a showplace for foreign dignitaries, presenting


them with cultural performances, typically including the legong and baris dances, as well as newly invented social realist dances which depicted traditional folk life. Sukarno actively sponsored the promotion of Balinese music and dance by supporting early tours abroad, such as that organized by John Coast in America and Europe in the 1950s. By the late 1960s both Suharto and mass tourism in Bali were in full swing, and since then the cultural politics of Bali have always to a certain extent been informed by the needs and the dangers of the tourist industry. In 1969 Suharto’s first Five-Year Development Plan involved the promotion of international tourism as an element of economic development. Bali was to be the showcase of this policy, which began with the inauguration that same year of the international Ngurah Rai airport south of Denpasar. Ambivalent towards this plan, and fearing the negative effects of tourism, the Balinese developed the concept of cultural tourism, in which tourists would be encouraged to experience Bali’s already famous material culture, and the economic boon would be at least partially recycled towards strengthening traditional Balinese cultural forms. In many ways, the threats to so-called traditional Balinese values and traditions posed by communism and the PKI were imagined to be replaced by the Westernizing threats of tourism. According to Picard:

Once their culture had become the prime resource for the island’s economic development, the problem for the Balinese was to decide how far they were actually willing to turn their “cultural heritage” (warisan budaya) into “tourist capital” (nodal pariwisata). In other words, this was a question of to which extent their cultural values might be assessed according to their economic value. This problem first arose when ritual dances started being converted into tourist attractions. The authorities reacted by resolving to consolidate the religious foundations of the Balinese performing arts, while attempting to draw a demarcating line between that which belongs to religion and that which pertains to art. (Picard, 1996:143)

By the late 1970s and 1980s the government tourist authority began to shift from a general marketing of Bali, which was seen to attract too many poorer youths and hippies who put little money into the economy, to elite cultural tourism. This lead to the development of


the upscale Nusa Dua complex in the south of the island which was designed and decorated using traditional motifs, architecture, arts and crafts. During this era tourism was viewed as an entry point of dangerous Western influence, and the pre-existing rhetoric of the ideology of tradition in Balinese culture, as a whole, spread and was primarily found in reference to tourism. Those cultural productions which do not in some way fit into the touristic image of Bali, such as radically experimental music, often do not count, in the minds of government and tourist industry policy shapers, as “Balinese culture.” As part of the tourist industry, now Bali’s largest economy, musicians, dancers, and artists function as a service industry, providing entertainment to foreign visitors. As a result, these performers have a vested interest in the maintenance of the touristic image of Balinese culture as a bulk of their income is dependant upon a healthy tourist industry. Those expressions that are perceived as challenging the official image of culture potentially degrade the primary source of income for those involved in the tourist economy. Nevertheless, musical expression is allowed considerable leeway, as the public debate about culture is to a certain extent superficial and deals primarily with the visual signs of culture. However, when new music blatantly and visually challenges traditional Balinese culture, such as in Yudane's 1993 Laya, the results can be problematic for the composer. 52


Yudane’s work was musically radical, but it seems the major problem many observers had with the performance was Yudane’s not wearing traditional Balinese performance attire but rather jeans and combat boots. This lead to his being “called to the office” as it were, brought before the governor of the island to be berated for his appearance on stage (personal communication, I Wayan Yudane, September 2001).


Sacred and Profane In the face of increasing tourism the Balinese acted to protect their culture partly by categorizing the performing arts into various levels of sacred and profane distinctions, a conceptual category first introduced by the Dutch colonial administration. Those forms designated as sacred were to be prohibited from commercialization. The binary division of sacred and profane caused considerable confusion as the Balinese performing arts are neither structured nor generally imagined to exist this way traditionally. In 1971 the Balinese department of Education and Culture (Departmen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan) convened a meeting intended to tease out the differences between sacred and profane dance (and therefore music). It needed to be decided which forms could be considered profane, and thus appropriate for “development” and touristic performance, and which forms should be considered sacred and protected from commercialization and “development.” As a result of the frustration experienced by trying to interpret and classify the Balinese artistic universe into a binary sacred and profane distinction, the conference committee developed a tripartite taxonomy which distinguished between wali, bebali, and balih-balihan genres, corresponding to the inner, middle, and outer courtyards of the Balinese Hindu temple. In this system, further distance from the center of the temple indicated increasing profanity (quite often literally). The conference report was ratified by the Balinese governor in 1973, who officially prohibited the commercialization of “sacred forms:” that is, those dances and music forms classified as wali. This prohibition was not practically followed as it did not represent the reality of performance practice where the religious significance of a dance depends often as much on context as on type. Furthermore, decisions regarding performance space is not strictly defined by dance type. Today all forms of dance and gamelan, even those esoteric and sacred forms such as slonding and gambang, are


employed in experimental works, especially in STSI student recitals.53 However the “development” of those genres classified in the 1973 meeting as sacred has met continuous and at times strenuous resistance from cultural conservatives. As a result it is much less frequent to encounter experimental works involving slonding, gambuh or gambang than those using kebyar.

Post New Order Changes, Reformasi The performing arts played a major role in the effort to subvert both traditional values and the New Order agenda since the beginning of the Indonesian economic crisis in 1997 (Hatley 1999:20). Hatley reports that several artists throughout Indonesia fought vigorously in the early reformasi era for democratic change in governmental arts administration. Political critique in the performing arts54 since 1997 represented a reaction against an absence in the late New Order of alternate channels of political expression. There have not been any radical changes in Indonesian national cultural policy since the fall of Suharto’s regime in 1998. Rather, it seems many in the conservatories and government institutes have adopted a kind of “wait-and-see” approach, waiting to discover how exactly power relations will settle before making any drastic changes. Harnish (2001) reports that, simultaneous with and informing reformasi movements, there is a new spirit and awareness of globalization (globalisasi) at STSI Bali which composers and bureaucrats have


In 1976, Udayana University conducted a study asking leading dancers and musicians whether or not bebali forms should be touristified or not. The majority disagreed, but some suggested that the touristification of bebali forms represented a “welcome opportunity for their urgent ‘restoration’” (Picard 1996:147). Many of these dancers’ and musicians’ students later pioneered the use of sacred ensembles in experimental contexts. 54 Hatley cites the Ruwatan Bumi performances in Java of April 1998 as having a major impact on the movement to oust Suharto.


attempted to reflect in compositions and policy. This emphasis on globalization is partially fueled by the increasing numbers of Indonesian scholars, composers, and musicians who have studied, worked, and performed abroad. An increasing number of Indonesian scholars and administrators have studied in Western graduate schools, bringing back with them Western terminology and concepts.55 The reformasi movement has lead to various steps to decentralize governmental power and to provide more regional autonomy (autonomi daerah) to local governments. The virtual stranglehold of centralized Jakartan politics, government, policy, economics, and guidance over the activities in the “daerah” (region) was strongly challenged during the first few years after Suharto’s fall from power. There followed an energetic call by various regional powers for greater control and autonomy. This call was felt from the local governor’s office to faculty at STSI institutions who demanded greater control over their own curriculum. It was observed that several developed countries functioned better, politically and economically, through the decentralization of governmental institutions. Several prodecentralization bureaucrats cited the relatively strong state powers that exist in the United States as a model. The autonomi daerah movement had begun to change the landscape of Balinese arts and education during my research. The Balinese High School of the Arts, previously located in Denpasar and known as KOKAR, is now called SMKIN3 and is located in Sukawati, Gianyar. Before the era of autonomi daerah, the school represented a Bali-wide institution, educating young artists from all over Bali, hiring teachers from all of the districts and providing an arts education which represented the regional variety of the island’s arts. During


As of 2003 at least five active STSI faculty had gained secondary degrees in North America: Dibia, Rai, Astita, Sedana, Suweca. Four other STSI faculty were at the time pursuing secondary degrees in America: Catra, Desak Made Laksmi, Windha and Cerita.


the beginnings of the autonomi daerah movement the school, according to some teachers (primarily those not from Gianyar), had begun to focus its curriculum more narrowly on Gianyar styles, hiring new teachers only from Gianyar, and in general betraying a regional bias that was not as evident before. Despite this development the autonomi daerah movement has generally led to more variety and heterogeneity in the arts. Small, local based sanggar and cultural institutions, many of which have sponsored the creation of experimental works, have sprung up during the era of reformasi finding more cultural space and opportunity than during the New Order in which institutions were more strictly monitored to control the production of potentially critical politically oriented productions.56

Chapter Summary and Theoretical Perspectives This chapter has been about drawing borders and lines between genres and time periods. It has represented an attempt to differentiate an extremely fluid and fractured form from traditional and “new traditional” modes of composition. Many of the Indonesian attempts at drawing borders around new music have been concerned with the relationship between indigenous and Western forms. Contemporary Balinese musik kontemporer represents a subculture within a subculture, a micromusic as defined by Slobin (1993). The various divisions within the subculture of musik kontemporer producers align along lines of ethnicity, religion, history, and alignments to the market. Within the subcultural scene of new music composition in Bali there are further divisions based upon aesthetic lines, that is the difference between kreasi baru and musik kontemporer.


In Bali an example of such an institution would be Kadek Suardana’s Arti Institute. Suardana is an ASTI trained composer and choreographer who had been arrested for his sometimes political productions during the New Order. Today the Arti foundation is a vital center for the creation of musik kontemporer and experimental dance in Denpasar.


The historical review in this chapter was presented through a discussion of the changing and developing notions of innovation and tradition in Indonesia, specifically Bali. This section focused on the interaction between Balinese and non-Balinese populations. Here, I discussed the Balinese experience of colonialism and the emergence of a foreign and indigenous ideology of tradition expressed through a partly imagined “re-traditionalized” religion and culture which favored higher caste elites. This discussion expanded to review the role of foreign scholars in developing ideas of “traditional” Bali and the ways in which the Balinese selectively adopted foreign concepts in an effort to control change in their own culture. I then examined the role of Bali and Balinese culture in emerging notions of nationalism and the development of a national culture. Here, I reviewed the use of the arts as a tool in political conflict. In the discussion of the New Order I examined the paradoxes of the celebration of diversity and the maintenance of tradition and the general move towards the aestheticization of traditional forms on concert stages. I discussed tourism in terms of its replacing the specter of communism as a scapegoat to protect vested elite cultural interests. The Indonesian state emerged in response to processes of globalization and should be approached from both a global and national perspective. 57 Part of the story of musik kontemporer is about the effort by some to create a specialist, literate, state-supported high culture that would help to fulfill Indonesia’s cultural and political aims of forging a modern national cultural identity that could compare to global standards. Culturally, the New Order was marked by the incorporation of Western style popular music forms, the very active

Indonesia became integrated into modern international technological communication systems rather early; telephones arrived in Indonesia only seven years after being invented. The country was integrated into the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank in 1954. During my research the continued impact of the World Bank on Indonesian cultural development was obvious and influential. Each of the major tertiary level arts institutions (ISI and STSI) received, over a five year period, millions of dollars in grants and loans from the World Bank under a project known locally as DUE-LIKE. As a result, music departments from Padang Panjang to Denpasar were busied with the development of several new projects, facilities, and innovations in curriculum.


development of international cultural tourism, an eagerness to preserve the “cultural riches” of past eras and a rejection of previous Old Order policies which encouraged the creation of social realist art forms.58 It is tempting to theorize these New Order cultural developments in terms of the regime’s reorientation to the community of democratic Western(ized) nations. Wallerstein (1997) suggests that as nation-states come into increasing contact they increasingly resemble each other -- a manifestation of their competitive relationship. This theory could explain why Indonesia, during the New Order, began to develop an internal arts infrastructure -- recording industry, radio, conservatories, conferences, contests, arts bureaucracy and cultural tourism industry that came to resemble, both in form and policy, Western structures.59 Hall suggests that the nation-states’ attempt to create national identity by "absorbing all the differences of class, of region, of gender, in order to present itself as a homogenous entity" (Hall 1997:22) is undermined by globalization. This applies to both individual and group identities. With the “relative decline, or erosion, the instability of the nation-state, the self-sufficiency of national economies and consequently, of national identities as point of reference, there has simultaneously been a fragmentation and erosion of collective social identity” (Hall 1997:44). Today we are increasingly aware of the inner contradictions, segmentations, and fragmentations of collective identities. When the nation state becomes less convincing and less powerful the indigenous response often goes two ways simultaneously, to the global (above) and to the local (below) (ibid 28). This response is

58 59

For more on the social realist forms of the Old Order, See Ramstedt, 1992. Nettl and Robertson’s International Systems and the Modernization of Societies (1968) stressed the dynamic relationship between the international and the domestic aspects of societies and suggested that local internationalism seeks positive assessment and perception of foreign countries. Robertson and Nettl also began a discussion of the function of international images and symbols and the role played by political and cultural elites in creating and mediating international relations, a discussion which I will re-enter in my description of the Indonesian national conservatory system.


repeatedly illustrated in several of the works analyzed in chapter five, in which local traditional influences interact with global ideas as often as with Indonesian elements. In chapter four I examine how Indonesian artists are integrated into social relations, connected by the production of music on a global scale. In chapters two and three, in my discussion of ISI and its texts, I investigate the ways in which global contact, communication, and pressures lead to the development of what could be called the standard competencies of institutions in the global system – forms of standardization that can be observed even at the level of local arts institutions. In my conclusion I attempt to tease apart the paradox of the effects of globalization on the production of new music in Bali. On the one hand globally influenced works are valorized as products which place the Balinese and the Indonesians on an equal footing with cultural production from developed countries. On the other hand new works which espouse a global aesthetic are decried by some in Bali who fear the negative impacts of globalization as detrimental to idealized Balinese tradition.


Chapter 2 Cultural Rhetorics, Discourse Surrounding New Music in Bali
“Every epoch dreams its successor.” – Jules Michelet

In this chapter I explore the ways in which Balinese musicians and composers conceive of their own contemporary culture and its relationship to artistic forms thought of as traditional. Here I also investigate the ways in which Balinese academics, musicians, and composers have attempted to engineer and direct the current development of Balinese music. More specifically, I will be looking at the nature of the relationship, both real and imagined, between so-called classical forms and the newer forms of kreasi baru and musik kontemporer. This section is not meant to provide a monolithic perspective or interpretation of the discourses surrounding experimentalism in Bali but to display the interaction of various local perspectives.60 I begin by discussing several metaphors for musical innovation, composition, and form that were frequently employed by my teachers and informants. I then move to a discussion of official institutional rhetorics and philosophies. Before entering this discussion we should note that Balinese composers live and work with the sometimes conflicting demands of the voices of authority emanating from official institutions (such as ISI) and their own individual desires, expectations, and idiosyncratic aspirations. Rather than being monolithic and homogenized as it was characterized by earlier romantic Bali-ologists, modern Balinese culture (and likely historical Bali) is internally pluralistic and composers approach the traditional and the modern from different points of view--from their own unique individual, political, and socially defined positions.


I consider written materials as well as speeches and conversation within the term “discourse.”


METAPHORS FOR CREATION, FORM AND COMPOSITION The dominant and authoritative cultural rhetorics surrounding the production of new music in Bali are characterized by a number of binary oppositions among these being: asli versus moderen (authentic versus modern), asli versus asing (native versus foreign), and tradisi versus kontemporer (traditional versus contemporary). The metaphors used by Balinese musicians and composers to describe music are more nuanced, at times drawing upon these dualisms and at times drawing attention to their inherent interpretive limitations and boundaries. These dualisms function as the intellectual basis for the official cultural policy and philosophy employed in the nationally funded arts institutes. The core of this philosophy/policy is the triumvirate of penggalian (re-discovery, renovation), pelestarian (preservation), and pengembangan (development).

Religion and Morality I Wayan Sinti, a respected composer, musician, and teacher in Denpasar, characterizes the relationship between traditional music and new music with a suggestive allusion to an episode of the Hindu Mahabharata epic which nearly all Balinese know from childhood and which serves as the narrative foundation to many wayang (shadow puppet) stories and dance dramas:

In the story of the Pandawas it is said that Dewi Kunti acquired an anugerah (gift of the Gods) from an ascetic named Duwarsa. With this she could call the Gods. When she married Pandu, in order to have good, wise children they used the potion. With Batara Dharma they created Yudistera, with Batara Bayu, Bima, with Batara Indra, Arjuna and with Dewan Aswin they created the twins Nakula, Sahadewa. Dewi Gendari, on the Karawa side, got pregnant before Dewi Kunti, and wanted to have her child first, because she was jealous. She forced, pushed, and squeezed herself and out came clots and clots of blood and children, a hundred children, the first being Duriadana. Moral of the story: Dewi Kunti gave birth to strong, creative children through serious meditation using mantras to communicate with the gods. Whereas Gendari’s creations were forced, not given the proper incubation time, and she gave birth to karya [creations, people] that were not of the highest quality. Likewise in the PKB, other


contests, and the student recitals there are art works, pieces of music that are not yet developed, not done, but are forced into the world. And their quality is also lacking. (I Wayan Sinti, personal communication, December 2002)

Here contemporary musical innovation is characterized as an unnatural process, and innovations likened to birth defects.61 A further suggestion implicit in Sinti’s reading is that those works that are considered of quality are those that have a connection, like Dewi Kunti, to the Gods, and more generally to Balinese Hindu religion. Contained in Sinti’s statement is the suggestion that classical music, forged slowly in the minds of often anonymous geniuses in a forgotten and purer Bali, is analogous to the birth of the Pandawa. Musik kontemporer, forced into existence without, as Sinti sees it, proper reflection or “gestation” is analogous to the children of Dewi Gendari. In this way traditional works are normalized as more “natural.”62

The Body and the Tree Balinese musicians and composers often anthropomorphize their music, indeed often their entire culture, as a human body or tree, and the three principle sections: the feet (or roots), trunk, and head (or leaves) are often equated with musical as well as social structure. According to the musician and composer I Ketut Gede Asnawa:
If you make music without a sense of or background in tradition your creations will be malnourished and die. If you make something new, don’t forget the traditional music. If you

Sinti knew that I was interested and engaged in composing and performing with those composers he was criticizing and so was interested in eliciting my reactions and critiques of his ideas during our conversations. At one point I suggested that if he were comparing Balinese music to the shadow play stories, that a story devoid of the Karawas (sons of Dewi Gendari), their soldiers and clowns (for many the most popular and entertaining characters) would in the end be oppressively dull. Likewise, I suggested that without the sometimes distressing, at times confused, experimental and humorous works of the rebellious young composers, the Balinese music scene would be left with only classic beauty and abstract perfection, expressions already cliché on the island. Sinti responded only with laughter. 62 Although it may only be the Balinese (or only Sinti himself) who can understand how tri-sexual mystic copulation is somehow more natural than inducing labor.


take out the roots the tree will die. The roots must be there even if the branch goes in a different direction. (I Ketut Gede Asnawa, personal communication, August 2001)

In Bali traditional music is often idealized as the nourishing roots of a tree, whereas new music is, by implication, the ephemeral leaves, whose existence is contingent upon the roots. The firebrand musik kontemporer composer, I Wayan Yudane, counters this supposition, and often inverts these dominating discourses in his search for musical inspiration:
No, I will make strange trees with a strange fruit. The idea of one tree, that’s nonsense. If we imagined there was one tree, of course, the old roots would get confused. Where is kebyar from? Everyone says it’s from a different place, the north, the west, and also the south. And all these places, even today, have their own unique style. These were different trees competing for nourishment (audiences). To say that there must be one tree is ridiculous. (I Wayan Yudane, personal communication, November 2001)

Here Yudane deconstructs the idea of Balinese tradition as unified, historically connected, completely indigenous, whole and as something on which all new creation should be based. Rather than imagining Balinese Culture as one organic structure, a tree, Yudane problematizes the model, evoking the image of Balinese culture as a forest, and the saplings as genetic mutants, nourished not only by the traditional soil of “authentic” Balinese culture but strange rains from foreign lands. Yudane has likewise played upon the second use of the metaphor of the tree, or body, in this case in reference to musical structure. Classical Balinese musical forms, primarily gong gede, semar pegulingan, and to a certain extent gong kebyar are often said to display a tri-partite musical form known as the tri angga (three sections). These are the kawitan (head), pengawak (body or trunk), and pengecet (ending, or feet). Thusly, to suggest that the musical form of a piece is tri angga is to convey more than a musical form; it conveys authority, perceived compositional integrity, and connection to tradition. However, in contemporary Balinese composition, one only rarely comes across any


form that could be said to be completely tri-partite, or even partially so. Saptono, a Javanese composer and teacher at STSI Denpasar asks:

Who made this tri-angga concept? Each recital, every thesis, always this concept is referenced. But if we really look and observe the classic kebyar music like Oleg [tambulilingan], or Taruna Jaya, where is the tri-angga structure? Yet, it is as if the students worship it. They organize the defenses of their recital works through this concept. And the composers, the juries, still use this term, even if the kawitan [head] today are really very difficult and intricate, and already very different from classical gong gede kawitan forms. Now the musical structures are quite different, but they still use the term ‘kawitan’ so that they can say that kreasi baru and musik kontemporer is really still traditional. Here, the older a thing or idea is, or is thought to be, the more it is respected. (Saptono, personal communication, December 2002)

Here Saptono identifies a paradoxical relationship between new and traditional music. On the one hand, little of what is considered classical adheres strictly to the theoretical tri-partite model, often also involving repetitions, extended transitions and codas.63 On the other hand, composers, faculty, juries and musicians continue to retain the concept as both a compositional and interpretive tool, in practice limiting the ways in which the music is conceived, interpreted, and composed. It was likely not until the late 1960s and the rise of the academy and of music theory in Bali that the tri-angga concept gained any general currency among musicians and theorists, quickly becoming a powerful compositional tool, especially in the works of Wayan Beratha. Tri-angga represented a theory in a scene which was striving to develop modern, rational analytical tools in order to compete on an


ISI faculty Saptono and Tri Haryanto suggested that the Balinese theoretical focus on the tri-angga may be connected to Javanese musical structures and theoreticism. Consider I Nyoman Catra’s statement: “Kalau theori Jawa itu bagus, kalau Bali, masih di belekang” (Javanese theory is [already] good [refined], Balinese [theory] is well behind) (personal communication, March, 2005). Javanese forms such as ladrang, gending, ketawang etc. are comparatively more standardized and formalized than Balinese traditional forms. Rather than celebrating the comparative freedom and variation within traditional forms, these faculty suggest that some Balinese evince an envy of the perceived rigor of standardized Javanese practice and theory by reifying the tri-angga concept (personal communication, December, 2004). Tri-angga, or KPP (for kawitan, pengawak, pengecet as it is abbreviated in Tenzer) is present in many classical lelambatan forms, to a much greater extent than in the kebyar repertoire. KPP, when it is present, can be understood as a formal amplification of a scheme called jajar pageh, or the arrangement of palet (metrical divisions) within classical pengawak. The innovation in kreasi lelambatan is often concerned with developing and sometimes obfuscating the clear divisions of KPP.


intellectual level with the comparatively complicated and numerous music theories developing in Javanese schools, especially STSI Solo. The concept, which was only partially supported by actual musical evidence, was reified as a core theory and a tool to be used in composition. Its power stems from its conveying a sense of organic and unitary form, analogous to the body, and from its being portrayed as old and traditional. By the mid 1990s some younger composers, such as Yudane, purposely distorted the form, inverting the order to be pengecet, pengawak, kawitan, literally turning kreasi baru on its head.

Food Both traditionalists and modern composers use food as a metaphor in order to explain and defend their concepts and aesthetics. According to Sinti:
If we cook it is not only for our own enjoyment, but also for the tastes of others. If we compose a kreasi, it cannot be for ourselves only. We may like sweet tastes, but we aren’t sure about the tastes of others. [Continuing] Pak Komang [Astita’s] Eka Dasa Rudra. I do not say it is a poor work, from the perspective of atmosphere or feeling, but from the perspective of composition it does not display unity. In my opinion, if we compose a work it should be smooth, mixed, unitary, cooked [lebeng]. If I make a comparison to food, we should cook so that we cannot see or taste that this is the onion, this the chili, this the garlic. (I Wayan Sinti, personal communication, September 2002)

Here Sinti uses food as a metaphor in two ways, firstly to refer generally to audience tastes and to suggest that many young composers, unlike the great masters of an imagined golden age of Balinese music, care little for the interests, tastes, and desires of the general audience but rather compose egotistically in order to satisfy their personal aesthetic desires. Secondly Sinti uses the metaphor of cooking to refer to musical form. The trope of unity is often used to criticize experimental works, and kesatuan, or keutuhan, a feeling of one-ness, unity or wholeness is often a stated compositional goal within the framework of student recitals and


arts festivals. Sinti suggests that in a well cooked meal we either cannot sense or do not think of the flavors of the individual ingredients which he likens to musical sections or instruments in an orchestration. Rather, we experience the food as a whole, integrated, and unique taste. Similarly, for Sinti and many others, a successful piece of music should be conceived of and heard as a logically, pleasingly connected and unified whole. For those more traditional-minded Balinese, such as Sinti, the ingredients which are considered in this metaphorical construction are all Balinese. The food metaphor is sometimes also used by younger composers, but in a wider context. For younger composers, the entire world is their grocery:

Foreign music is now heard in Bali and used in both kreasi baru and musik kontemporer works. Not literally copied, it is usually transformed. But it is like we are cooking. This is still a Balinese meal, but it can be good to mix in other ingredients. Like Yogyanese gudeg.64 (I Wayan Gede Arsana, personal communication, December 2002)

Yudane likens the expanding knowledge of and taste for foreign musics among young Balinese composers to the diffusion of culinary styles and tastes throughout the world in the twentieth century.
We expand our musical tastes like we expand our tastes in food; it’s gradual and takes time. When beer first arrived with the Dutch and was popular among the first tourists the Balinese said that it tasted like horse piss. Now they love it. (I Wayan Yudane, personal communication, November 2001).

Here Yudane is specifically referencing the use of polyrhythm in new Balinese works. When it was first heard in the works for gamelan by foreign composers, it sounded quite odd to many Balinese composers. Now, however, it is a common technique in musik kontemporer (see for instance the discussion of Suparta’s Leyak Mata in chapter five).


Gudeg is a sweet mixture of young jack-fruit, coconut milk, spices, and other fruits. The image Arsana is invoking is a kind of musical gumbo.


Nature The metaphor of nature is employed both as an interpretive tool to describe traditional repertoire and as a source of inspiration for new music. Many Balinese musicians comment that earlier composers, many of whose names are lost to time, were inspired only by nature and found ways in which to abstract their impressions of natural phenomenon within music. Thus we are handed down through tradition works with names such as Sekar Sungsang (hanging flower), Tulang Lindung (eel bone), Gajah Nongklang (jumping elephant). It is not known whether the original composers were directly inspired by the objects the titles suggest, or whether it was simply common practice to attribute naturalistic names to works as a mnemonic device. It is known however that Wayan Beratha often drew inspiration from natural phenomena in his pieces such as Kosalia Arini (1969), inspired by a volcanic eruption in Bali in 1969. Today many young composers adhere to the practice of drawing upon nature for themes and inspiration, although their works attempt to directly and often realistically represent within music the subject of the title. In the several recent recital works that have drawn upon natural themes and scenes for inspiration the composers, working within the musik kontemporer form, incorporate the use of realistic sound effects: whistles, calls, and even keyboards to imitate the sounds of birds, frogs, wind etc.. These composers “paint” (menggambarkan) these natural scenes for the audience. Many Balinese composers relate feelings of nostalgia for a “purer,” pre-urbanized Bali. This was the era of Wayan Beratha’s hey-day as a composer, a time in which Denpasar was still a small city unpolluted by the bustling traffic, shops, and industry of today, in which composers still had daily contact with nature. According to Asnawa:

Pak Beratha’s works were the best. He was a natural artist, inspired by nature. His music was pure, not trying to be complicated for its own sake. Now with globalization and urbanization composers are inundated and distracted with so many ideas, concepts, sounds. Before, the


music had a stronger connection to nature. (personal communication, I Ketut Gede Asnawa, July, 2001)


Penggalian Penggalian literally means excavating, digging, or quarrying. In the field of culture the term is used to refer to the rebirth, rediscovery, revival or illumination of endangered or extinct forms of dance, music or other traditional arts. An example of a project in penggalian which overlaps both traditional and experimental music is the 1982 rediscovery by Wayan Rai65 of the trompong beruk and its incorporation into his musik kontemporer work of the same name. According to Rai’s program notes provided for the 1982 performance:

As a solo instrument the trompong beruk is played at home or in the fields recreationally. Often the instrument is played by farmers after they have finished their day’s work or while watching their field. [Today] It is extremely difficult to find performers, and the traditions surrounding the instrument are nearly extinct. The names of performers are largely unknown. Seeing this situation we [STSI students and faculty] were inspired to excavate the instrument and its music. In this re-discovery we were very lucky because we found that several trompong beruk players are still living and from these masters we were able to mine much data. We discovered a trompong beruk tuned to slendro and we oversaw the creation of a new village group to perform and develop the trompong beruk music. (Hardjana 1986:160)

Rai’s work incorporated this solo instrument within an experimental ensemble including found and invented instruments, new playing techniques and musical forms. The re-discovery and retrieval of older genres, forms, and ideas is widespread in Balinese musical culture, and these materials are often incorporated into new and sometimes experimental works. In this way experimental works can be defended for their incorporation of nearly extinct forms, and can be credited with simultaneously “saving” and developing Balinese

During my research in Bali between 2002-2004 I Wayan Rai was the head of STSI Denpasar (later renamed ISI in 2003).


culture. Penggalian in the context of Balinese contemporary culture is unique in the field of revivals in that it is not necessarily conceived of as being in opposition to the “contemporary cultural mainstream,” as is suggested by Livingston in her (1999) discussion of revivals. In contrast, Balinese revivals are often imagined to provide and even feed contemporary culture and experimentation.

Pelestarian Pelestarian glosses roughly as preservation, conservation or perpetuation and refers to the safeguarding of extant traditional forms, rather than the re-discovery of extinct or endangered forms. According to several STSI faculty members, in the late 1960s I Wayan Beratha began to prioritize the excavation and preservation of so-called classical and traditional works and repertoires over the creation of new forms. The impetus behind the perceived need to preserve arose in an era of extreme cultural conservatism after the failed Indonesian coup and massacres of the late 1960s in which many older masters of classical forms were murdered for their connections to the PKI communist party. Today the primary thrust of the karawitan curriculum at STSI Denpasar continues to be pelestarian and penggalian through the instruction of traditional forms, principally gong kebyar, gong gede, and semar pegulingan. However, many composers, professors and bureaucrats have come to adopt these institutional discourses for their own uses and have creatively moved within the considerable semantic ambiguity surrounding these terms to find spaces for development, creativity, and evolution. Furthermore, while efforts at pelestarian at STSI are focused on the transmission of important standard and sacred repertoire, there has also been considerable development and innovation in the name of pelestarian and preservation projects sometimes lead in directions not originally intended. Such was the case in the development of the


modern Balinese sandhya gita vocal chorus. According to STSI vocal faculty Ni Ketut Suryatini:
Before there was sandhya gita, which first appeared in 1978, Pak Sinti and Pak Rembang got the idea to preserve older and endangered Balinese vocal forms by combining the popular gamelan [gong kebyar] and chorus for the first Bali Arts Festival. The vocal materials were drawn from traditional kidung (caruk) singing. When sandhya gita first appeared it was originally meant to preserve older forms, but the younger composers quickly went their own way with it, interpreting Sinti’s idea of the ‘combination of voices’ to mean the combination of first, second, third, and forth voice, rather than the choral ‘voice’ and the gamelan ‘voice.’ So this started leading to some very new music. (Ni Ketut Suryatini, personal communication, December 2001)66

This project, originally conceived as the preservation of traditional vocal forms, quickly grew beyond the boundaries of preservation into the field of creation, (pengembangan) with younger composers incorporating harmonic elements, canon techniques, and imitations of the large Javanese koor chorus. By the 1990s the classicist Sinti was thoroughly frustrated with the way that sandhya gita had developed as it had strayed far from its original intent as a modernized vehicle for ancient and sacred kidung singing to become and experimental form. Today, there is a unique and strong nexus between the concept of pelestarian and pengembangan (development, innovation) at STSI. According to Bandem:

Preservation is not something that is stagnant or static -- preserving means to also develop and to create new forms -- to preserve so that it will continue to live. I consider that to be the preservation of Balinese arts. (Bandem, quoted in Hough, 2000)

By the early 1990s many STSI karawitan students became interested in the gong gede orchestra, an ensemble that had in many ways been neglected by composers since the development of the gong kebyar orchestra in the first half of the twentieth century. These students framed their new works simultaneously within the concepts of pelestarian and pengembangan:

This account, it should be noted, is but one musician’s interpretation of the development of sandhya gita. Influences likely came via Java through the music of composers such as Cokro and Nartosabdho. For more, see the section on Javanese influence in Balinese music in Chapter Four.


Recent kreasi are characterized by an individualistic and rational approach and are full of freedom. According to Dr. I Made Bandem: Preservation does not only mean to bring something back to life but reinterpretation as well (Bandem 85). . . . Therefore the expression of traditional and aesthetic values which are imbedded within the gong gede repertoire can be made to conform to the changing times [modernity] . . . [I] hope to add something to the traditional repertoire and as well attempt to express new experiences. (Subandi, 1993)

These modern musical preservation/development projects are intended, through the incorporation of new techniques and forms, to re-energize musics which are seen as losing relevance among the general population. However, this often simply means a kebyar-ization of the repertoire.67 As a result, many young composers have been criticized by older, more established composers who suggest that their new works “break tradition” (“merusak tradisi”). One young composer defends the new styles:

No, [musik kontemporer] actually enhances [tradition]. The kontemporer composer is protecting Balinese culture. For instance Subandi. He is constantly writing kontemporer works. In the paper they say he is ‘breaking tradition.’ No, the composers that are attracted to and compose kontemporer works have their roots in classical [traditional] repertoire, and they really are concerned and care about Balinese tradition. They are adding to it. (I Ketut Suandita, personal communication, December 2001).

Rather than conceiving of musical revolutions, or breaks from tradition, young Balinese composers often strive to situate and frame new music within the context of tradition. There are no musical manifestos in Bali, and while the actual amount of musical difference between musik kontemporer and traditional repertoires may be comparable to the amount of variation between swing and bop, for example, the evolution of the two musics have been represented very differently by their practitioners: bop as a turn away from, revolution from or deconstruction of swing, and musik kontemporer as centrally connected to


The kebyar-ization of gong gede was so common during my research that musicians had developed a special term for it: gong gebyar.


tradition, serving as the new vehicle for the perpetuation of traditional Balinese culture into the future.68

Pengembangan Pengembangan means development, innovation or expansion. A more generic and common term is pembangunan, which refers more broadly to nationalistic rhetorics of development and modernization. The term is used in several contexts in modern Indonesia, most often heard in reference to the development of rural areas and economies, and of national electric, water, etc. infrastructures. Development as a concept conveys notions of national progress and nationalism. Development, ironically, is also a part of the language of cultural conservatism in Bali, as alluded to above. In Bali development, in the cultural sphere, often means re-invention, re-contextualization, or reinterpretation rather than truly innovative creation, and development does not work at odds with protection. Nearly all graduating students at STSI appeal to the idea of development in defense of their final compositions. Development is expected, and students would not receive a satisfactory grade if they completely adhered to classical models. Each STSI music student ostensibly strives to create a work which plays a role in the “effort to develop the Balinese traditional arts” (Budayasa 1999:4). However, in Bali development almost always requires that traditional ensembles are divorced from their original and often sacred contexts, and performed on the concert stage for large seated audiences. According to the composer I Made Sue: “Today gamelan is a medium for the expression of concepts. If I think of kreasi baru or musik kontemporer I see


Whereas in central Java, where musik kontemporer involving gamelan instruments began, the term avant-garde, revolutionary, and radical are sometimes used by composers in describing their works and their aesthetic intentions. See Rustopo 1990, pp. 32.


‘instruments’ [instrumen-instrumen]. If I think ‘klasik’ (classic) I think of gamelan and ceremony” (I Made Sue, personal communication, November 2001). For many artists and composers, the increasingly fine line between recent kreasi baru and musik kontemporer is a function of the rate of pengembangan. According to the composer Suandita, all forms, even classic and seemingly ossified forms, are constantly developing but the comparatively quick rate of development is what distinguishes musik kontemporer from both kreasi baru and traditional music. Many Balinese musicians, composers, and bureaucrats stressed to me the connections between new and traditional forms, and strove to convey a sense of musical continuity, both synchronically and diachronically between contemporary music and older, or classical forms. Rather than imagining an either/or binary between the new and the traditional, many young Balinese composers imagine musical continuities and coexistence, illustrating the considerable conceptual limitations of the Jakarta developed tradition/innovation dualisms discussed above and providing evidence of conceptual dissonances between the official rhetorics of authoritative institutions and the actual aesthetics of composers. Here we find evidence of rifts between Balinese musical discourses (often dominated in official formal settings and institutions by an ideology of tradition) and musical practices69.

Rhetorics and Policies of Multiculturalism During Suharto’s New Order cultural policy focused increasingly on the celebration of difference and polyethnicity as a sign of Indonesian identity. During and after the New Order the concept of indigenous other-ness (regional and subcultural expressions) was


I use the term “practice” here in roughly the same way as Bourdieu, in the sense of individual cases in time, contextualized and particular.


captured and employed by the government in the creation of national subjectivities. Since the beginning of the New Order the national motto Bhinekka Tunggal Ika (one-ness in manyness) has become increasingly dominant in Indonesian cultural rhetorics. Indonesia provides an excellent example for investigating how regional ethnicity intersects with imaginations of the national. Since the 1960s, various national arts institutions have employed faculty from other regions (i.e. Balinese faculty at conservatories in Central Java and vice versa) and since the early 1980s a multicultural curriculum, originally called keakraban Indonesia (Indonesian togetherness) by its creator Humardani, has been an important focus in the programs of all tertiary level arts institutions.70 The contemporary Indonesian arts campus is a site of polyethnicity, both Indonesian and international. Foreign students interact with Indonesians from various cultural backgrounds all using a second language (Bahasa Indonesia) to communicate, in a situation recalling the use of Latin in medieval European universities. The result of this multiculturalism has been the sporadic creation of hybrid Indonesian forms, often light in nature, which in paradoxical ways simultaneously celebrate and capture difference through homogenizing the grosser elements of various regional expressions. Increasingly, Indonesian musical experimentalism tends to borrow elements from various regional traditions often labeled as ‘etnik.’


The Javanese dance and gamelan instructor Pudiyono became a regular faculty member at KOKAR Bali in 1968. Pudiyono greatly helped develop the Balinese sendratari form, based on earlier Javanese models.


Etnik Since the mid 1980s musik kontemporer has probably absorbed as many or more influences from the various traditional regional forms of Indonesian and world music as it has from Western experimentalism. The increasing interaction of Balinese with non-Balinese Indonesians and other non-Western artists has had a great influence on the development of experimental arts in Bali. We might term these influences as “lateral” as opposed to the influence of Western Culture often imagined as a force from above pressing down upon regional cultures. The emergence of the term and concept “etnik” (ethnic) in Indonesian discourses surrounding musik kontemporer reflects the importance and influence of regional interaction in the development of new music. Many young Balinese artists are deeply interested in the music of India, China, Africa, and Japan as well as various non-Balinese Indonesian forms. The sources of this interest are many, and not necessarily musical, but are also related to social, economic, and religious conditions.71 Several young Balinese musik kontemporer composers, including Subandi, Suanda, Dewa Alit, and Gusti Sudarta, have


Other Asian, mainly Javanese and Chinese forms have long influenced Balinese culture. Chinese cultural influence is seen in the southern gong beri form, and in many dramatic forms including more modern dramas such as the Sampik story, incorporated into Arja in the 1930’s. The modern interest among Balinese musik kontemporer composers in Indian and other Asian cultures is partially related to the historical presence of theosophy in Bali. By the 1930’s theosophy was well established in Indonesia among both native and Dutch scholars. “Theosophy was a convenient system through which Bali was fitted into the world of Indian cultural influence and the ‘mystical east’, as a source of wisdom. The Dutch, Javanese and Balinese here and in their broader interests in Theosophy, Indian religion and Javanese and Balinese culture were trying to elevate culture and religion from their Balinese contexts and relate them to what they considered authentically Eastern patterns“ (Vickers 1989:154).


begun studying the North Indian tabla. Subandi and Suanda suggested their studies were motivated by an interest in more deeply understanding “original” Hindu culture and music.72 African music has made an impact in Bali partly through the local tourist industry. Beginning in the mid 1990s scores of local tourist shops began producing West African style djembe drums of various sizes, originally intended to be sold to tourists. These drums, ostensibly meant to signify an anonymous “ethnic” music culture, are marketed towards tourists in search of “authentic” ethnic culture and objects. Partly because of their ubiquity many Balinese musicians and composers have begun using these drums in new compositions.73 Japanese music is performed occasionally at the PKB, where major Taiko groups are sometimes invited to perform. Many young Balinese composers and dancers are involved in teaching and performing in Japan, coming into occasional contact with traditional Japanese music. It seems however that, like their understanding of both American, Indian, and African music, the Balinese understanding of Japanese traditional arts is largely superficial and based on observation rather than sustained study. While I Ketut Suanda admits that large sections of his musik kontemporer work Boreh (2001) is influenced by traditional Japanese music, his interaction with the music is based only on occasional listening. Etnik is an important category for Indonesians when discussing musik kontemporer. I was frequently asked by several Javanese unfamiliar with the current situation in Bali as to how the Balinese have been using etnik music as a source of materials in new composition,

“Agama dan kebudayaan Hindu yang asli” (personal communication, I Ketut Suanda, March 2003). Ironically, most of the knowledge of Indian music gained by Balinese artists has come through their interactions with Indian-trained American musicians in America. 73 It seems, however, that few Balinese composers know any traditional West African rhythms; those that do have often studied the instrument with American amateurs. Rather, most Balinese employ a transformed Balinese kendang technique when playing djembe. Compound rhythms, the heart of much West African groove, is unknown in Balinese traditional music, and most contemporary Balinese djembe performers continue to play and invent patterns in duple time.


by which they often mean their own regional Javanese music. In Bali etnik has at least three, sometimes contradictory, meanings. Firstly, etnik is used to refer to cultural elements borrowed from other, non-Balinese, cultures. This most obviously manifests itself materially in the use of foreign instruments such as djembe, Sundanese kendang, terbang, etc. While less obvious, abstracted ethnic musical elements are present in contemporary Balinese music as well. Examples of this include the use of central Javanese gerong and koor melodies, Sasak (Lombok) melodies, or Japanese Taiko rhythms etc. transformed and performed on traditional Balinese instruments. Secondly, and most closely aligned with its original English meanings, etnik is used in Bali to refer Balinese musical subcultures. Musically, traditions which are not found island-wide such as slonding (from the East), jegog (from the West), and gong beri (from Denpasar) are sometimes referred to in Bali as “musik etnik.” However, it should be noted that those who refer to these forms as etnik are for the most part not members of the subcultures being referenced, but musicians and researchers in positions of cultural hegemony centered around STSI Denpasar who actively appropriate such esoteric “ethnic” expressions within new musical creations. Thirdly etnik in Bali refers to a category of consumption, usually foreign consumption. In this case etnik is employed self-consciously as a form of advertisement directed towards the market, specifically towards the tourist economy.



“Here the word ‘kritik’ [critic, or criticism] often simply means hatred. We need criticism that is healthy.” – I Made Subandi.

Balinese experimental music is reviewed and discussed in local newspapers (primarily the Bali and Denpasar Posts), radio and television programming, academic journals published by STSI’s throughout Indonesia, and in some national magazines and newspapers (primarily Kompas, Gong, Tempo and the Jakarta Post). It was not until the 1970s that reviews of music, traditional and new, began appearing with any regularity in Bali. In the 1970s and 1980s, according to the Jakarta-based music critic Franki Raden, most critics dismissed early musik kontemporer through the suggestion that composers were employing the term “experimental” to cover up structural and conceptual weaknesses (Raden 2001:270). In Bali, reviews written by those outside the field of production are often negative, and offer little of what the Western reader might recognize as music criticism, but are rather poorly investigated diatribes against the perceived dangers of experimentalism to tradition. A polemic which regularly appears in the Bali Post centers around the “kontemporer bisa merusak tradisi” (“contemporary arts will ruin tradition”) thread, often posing well footed and older government officials with little practical knowledge of the arts against younger, often more articulate composers with albeit little cultural or political capital to draw upon. The composer Pande Made Sukerta has commented on what many composers have noted is the unhelpful and simplistic notion of artistic criticism in Indonesia:

There are two kinds of criticism here. First, like Pak [Gendhon] Humardani: “Your works are shit!” said with the intention of inspiring and motivating the artist. And secondly, reviews in the paper which say “Your works are shit!” but with the intention of getting us to stop. These latter really just mean “I don’t like you.” I enjoy being criticized, but in a substantial way. Rip my pieces to shreds, that’s fine. Let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about how to improve it. But


most of these people in the papers, they aren’t even musicians, they can’t talk about music. (Pande Made Sukerta, personal communication, September 2001).

Reviews that criticized the kontemporer works performed at the Musik Masa Kini (Contemporary Music) Festival at STSI Denpasar in 1991 focused more on the non-musical aspects of the performances, decrying Yudane’s work Laya as being disrespectful to tradition and commenting on seemingly superficial aspects such as his dress and long hair, but offering very little in the way of musical discussion.74 In many of Indonesia’s major papers, reporters do not specialize in a certain field, but are typically assigned stories covering an almost bewilderingly wide spectrum. As a result reporters assigned to cover music events typically have no training or understanding of new or traditional music. Exceptions include Suka Hardjana’s regular reviews in Kompas and Kadek Suartaya’s regular arts reporting in the Bali Post.75 Arts journals and magazines involved and concerned specifically with new and experimental music include Gong, a biannual magazine published by the Javanese Traditional Art and Media Foundation (Yayasan Media dan Seni Tradisi) with support from the American Ford Foundation. This magazine has featured articles on Balinese composers such as Nyoman Windha (#37, 2002), and regularly publishes reviews of new music recordings. The academic journal KALAM began as a series in the Indonesian newspaper Tempo, edited by Nirawan Dewanto. The journal was overseen by the well known writer and cultural commentator Gunawan Muhamed, editor of Tempo. Before the journal went bankrupt in 2001 it was a major arts journal covering nearly all aspects of Indonesian performing and plastic arts with a focus on modern forms. Efforts to improve the level of arts coverage in

Ironically it was this very negative criticism which helped to spread Yudane’s name and notoriety as a composer of experimental music, leading to several new commissions and performing and touring opportunities. This lead in turn to more negative criticism, an arrangement that Yudane admits he was not wholly unhappy with. 75 Kadek Suartaya is a long-time ISI Denpasar music department faculty member and during the second half of my research head of the music department. His articles typically betrayed a bias towards ISI sponsored events, works, and performers.


Indonesian print media include training sessions in arts reporting lead by Jabatin Bangun, of the Indonesian Society for Arts Education, with funding from the Ford Foundation. ISI Denpasar offers a class on criticism entitled kritik seni (art criticism). Several students commented that the class simply consisted of occasionally listening to new works, especially those of the American gamelan Sekar Jaya, and discussing them with little consideration of the history and role of music criticism in or outside of Indonesia. Yudane was critical of what he was taught in STSI’s kritik seni course.

They said that there were two kinds of criticism. 1) Constructive and 2) Deconstructive. I asked what they meant. What is deconstructive criticism? Give me an example. Now if you are just trashing someone’s music, then that’s not criticism! It’s just talking s***. Criticism is criticism. It is a concept with an intellectual responsibility and is extremely important. The word kritik has developed a really negative connotation in Bali, it has come to mean a kind of hatred. It means the same as “Ngomong ngengci.” We need to save the word for its constructive uses. We don’t have enough discussions or critical thinking. We are too sensitive. But in Java, they are really using criticism, it makes us look stupid. How can we create new concepts without criticism? (I Wayan Yudane, personal communication, September 2001)

Music criticism in Bali typically revolves around the paradoxes and contradictions of the philosophical double bind (traditional versus innovation) discussed above, and writers usually fall squarely in line with one or the other perspective. Writers often suggest either that new works are detrimental to tradition or conversely that new works are essential to the cultural development of Bali in a national and global context. Similar to the national cultural polemic which began in the 1930s, the local Balinese version, which began in print in the 1970s, has changed little since its first arguments were stated. ISI associated writers, including I Made Bandem, consistently attempt to situate the school, its composers and philosophies squarely between the two camps suggesting that artistic production should follow a model of “continuity in change,” a practical mantra of Bandem and his ardent followers. Like many of the official policies guiding artistic production at the national arts schools this mantra is fortuitously and purposely ambiguous in its nestling of a preposition


between polar opposites.76 Experimental works performed at ISI are often defended in print as representing examples of “continuity in change” (in English). As long as traditional instrumentation is employed, then, continuity can be claimed.77 In the vocabulary of contemporary Balinese music criticism, new works which demonstrate “continuity in change” are evaluated positively.

BALINESE HISTORIOGRAPHY: THE PRAKEMPA In this section I focus on a single Balinese historical manuscript78, the Prakempa. The Prakempa deals at length with the mystical origins, uses, and religious significances of Balinese musical ensembles and the musical and mystical theories surrounding their performance and repertoire. The document which I am focusing on here is not a primary source but an edited secondary publication printed by STSI under the authorship of I Made Bandem. The Prakempa, as it exists today, functions as part of at least three cultural discourses in Bali. The Prakempa serves to: 1) connect modern and experimental Balinese arts to a distant and partially forgotten, or imagined musical past, 2) to assert Balinese scholarship in a modern sphere of Indonesian theory, and 3) to serve as a source of theoretical and compositional inspiration to modern Balinese composers working in both traditional and


Heimarck (2003) reports hearing Bandem’s phrase as “continuity and change” during her research in Indonesia, some ten years before my research was conducted. 77 The concept is also present in many of the official writings produced as texts at ISI and students are encouraged through their experiences at the school to produce works that embody such philosophies. 78 These manuscripts are known as lontar. Since the European Middle Ages most Balinese texts have been recorded on lontar manuscripts, a writing tradition that continues today. Lontar are made of narrow strips of the lontar palm leaf which are specially prepared for writing. The narrow strips allow for only one to four lines of text per panel. An entire lontar consists of several panels connected by strings at the ends and folded, accordion style, into a stack which is protected on the top and bottom by thick slabs of bamboo.


experimental forms. My translation of Bandem’s introduction and analysis of the Prakempa is included in appendix D. The Prakempa lontar deals directly with several aspects of Balinese music. It is one of only three lontar known to deal directly and in depth with musical matters79. According to the critical edition of the Prakempa (Bandem, 1986), the word “Prakempa” means roughly “the unrest of the world,” referring to a time of proto-genesis during which all was chaos, sounds flew freely in the winds and heaven, earth, and hell were jumbled. In Kawi (archaic Javanese) it more commonly means earthquake. There is no musical notation included in the lontar, although other lontars do include types of musical notation based on elements (vowels characters) of the aksara Bali script. Despite ostensibly representing a relatively late work, (it apparently represents a work dating from the late 18th century or early 19th century, at the earliest) the Prakempa is significant as it represents Balinese musical life before colonial domination, the dissolution of the courts, the influx of tourists, and the innovation of new musical styles in the first half of the 20th century. Many of the historical manuscripts contained in lontar are “actively used in reproducing Balinese culture” (Vickers, 1986:16). Rather than being an example of the positivistic ideal of ‘history for history’s sake’, much of the historical writing contained in lontar is, to borrow White’s (1987) phrase “history for.” Many of these documents are, in essence, recipes for the future.80 Several musicians interviewed privately questioned the pedigree and provenance of the information upon which Bandem’s academic edition is based. Based on my research in


The other two major musical lontar being the Aji Gurnita and the Gong Wesi, both of which have only been partially translated and deal almost entirely with the mystical aspects of the Balinese gamelan. 80 Much has been written about the prophetic nature of Javanese and Balinese lontar. See Florida, 1995 and Worsley, 1972.


the Prakempa referred to in Bandem, it is valid to question if the Prakempa ever existed as an historical lontar. It may be that Bandem’s edition is based rather on the personal writings of a well-respected, intelligent teacher (I Made Geria, d. 1986) whose notes were claimed to be from an ancient lontar in order to invest them with greater authority or veracity. I myself did not deal directly with any primary sources, nor have I ever seen any original copies of the Prakempa.81 The Prakempa, old or not, “authentic” or not, is a story that Balinese musicians tell themselves about themselves and their own musical culture. It coincidently emerged in the same year (1986) as new experimental seven-tone ensembles and repertoires began to emerge and has been employed often as a medium through which to connect musical innovations to traditional and mystical prototypical ideals. It furthermore serves the functions of providing a canonical school text, and a source for the all-valuable scholarly citation, so desperately needed by young music students in order to invest their written theses with elements of the form and structure of the Westernized scholarly work. Bandem’s edition of the Prakempa is used by many of the karawitan (instrumental music) professors at ISI Denpasar as a standard school text. In many respects one could consider the information in the Prakempa as irrelevant to students of modern Balinese arts. The musical world described in the Prakempa does not include modern, influential, and widespread ensembles such as gong kebyar and semara dana. Yet, the seemingly anachronistic Prakempa is nevertheless employed as a core text. The re-edition and translation of the Prakempa, as part of the official institutional discourse of preservation in Balinese arts, is meant to help forge a sense of connection between Bali’s new flourishing

I have encountered four copies of historical lontar called Prakempa: two in Singaraja at the Gedong Kirtya and two in Denpasar at Diskbudoc. However, none of these manuscripts are the same as that cited by Bandem, nor are they concerned with music. It seems then that the name “prakempa” refers to a class rather than a single lontar. Heimarck (2003) reports encountering a much shorter version of the Prakempa concerned with musical topics at the Gedong Kirtya in Singaraja; this version was edited by Putru Martha.


and, some have warned, almost dangerously experimental musical landscape of today and the pre-colonial musical ecology of Bali. Although the text is in many ways irrelevant as a historical and theoretical (in the Western musical sense) document, the Prakempa has inspired several contemporary composers in the creation of new, and sometimes experimental works. Several composers involved in the recent resurgence of seven-tone ensembles in Bali have cited the work as a justification for the modern focus on seven-tone music, as the Prakempa suggests that seven-tone pélog ensembles are the progenitor of all other ensembles, and cites the existence of an ancient and prototypical seven tone ensemble, the gamelan genta pinara pitu, which may or may not have evolved into the semar pegulingan saih pitu. Composers of musik kontemporer often seek in ancient (or perceived as ancient) manuscripts an aura of authenticity and authority to compensate for the cultural patina which gradually accrues upon what come to be known as traditional works through the depth of countless hearings, interpretations, and instances. Several contemporary composers 82 have used the Hindu symbology of the pengider bhuana and the associations drawn between it and the meanings of musical pitches in the Prakempa as a justification or source of inspiration for their experiments in extending the Balinese musical scale. In this way their works can by defended against criticisms of endangering tradition by associating and contextualizing them within traditional religious themes.

The Critical Edition of the Prakempa as Part of a Larger Scholarly Discourse Bandem’s edition of the Prakempa is entitled Prakempa: Sebuah Lontar Gambelan Bali (Prakempa, a Lontar of Balinese Gamelan). Bandem’s edition includes a lengthy analysis, organized into several introductory sections, followed by the original Kawi text

Primarily the composers Asnawa, Arnawa, Widnyana, and Suryatini.


(recto) with Indonesian translation (verso), which is then followed by a series of photographs of ensembles mentioned in the Prakempa83. Bandem’s analysis employs four core conceptual categories through which the work is to be understood. The Four Core Principles (Philosophy or Logics, Ethics or Morals, Aesthetics, and Techniques) outlined in the text (introduced in the second chapter) are not explicit in the kawi text itself but are identified by Bandem from various strands weaving and intertwining through the text. The application of these conceptual categories on this largely religious work is rather strained.84 The Prakempa speaks prophetically from the past to help the Balinese reclaim what is thought to be lost or disappearing music. But while the lontar beckons the Balinese to become more like themselves, Bandem’s edition and analysis illustrate, through connection to a larger scholarly discourse, how the Balinese have changed. Bandem’s edition of the Prakempa serves several aims simultaneously. As a historical text it functions to educate young musicians about the origins and religious purposes and symbolic meaning of older ensembles and repertoires. As a piece of literature it serves to inspire young composers and instrument makers. As a scholarly theoretical work (here I’m referring to the introductory analysis), the publication serves to further assert Balinese scholarship both within the wider Indonesian university system (specifically the STSI system) and in the transnational field of musicology/ethnomusicology.85


Although the modern gamelan genta pinara pitu (an experimental progenitor of the semara dana, invented by Wayan Beratha in 1983) and gong kebyar gamelan, which are nowhere mentioned in the text of the Prakempa, are illustrated in the back of the text, with no explanation. 84 For example, in the sections the authors identified as being examples of “Technique” (gagebug) the clearest text is as follows: “The playing techniques of the ceng-ceng [hand-cymbals], also known as Edan Ulangan [continuous frenzy], should have the sound of a waterfall” (Bandem, 1986:71). 85 The publication of STSI Denpasar’s critical edition of the Prakempa interestingly mirrors the earlier STSI Solo publication of a similar Javanese musical treatise, the Weda Pradanga, edited by then STSI head Sri Hastanto. The Weda Pradangga was created by a known author (Warsadiningrat) in the early twentieth century and contains much more practical and historical information (such as composers’ names) than does the Prakempa. However the Weda Pradangai, like the Prakempa, also recounts the mystical origins of gamelan ensembles and ancient repertoires.


The critical edition of the Prakempa reflects the voice of a class of highly educated Balinese elite working within pan-Indonesian theoretical discourses. Bandem’s edition reflects the motion of Balinese knowledge from one discourse to another – individual or village to state. The Prakempa is Balinese in that the text originates from Bali and the subject matter deals with Balinese music but the publication exists in a broader field of texts, contributing to an Indonesian, and further trans-national sphere of scholarship. The critical edition is not a unique, idiosyncratic Balinese piece of scholarship but a regional scholarly variation on a national or international intellectual theme. The writing represents less the product of an ethnic group, but a social group, the Indonesian academic middle class of Bali. The citation style and the authors cited (Becker, Pigeuad, for example) identify the publication as a trans-national work, and the publication reflects a larger incitement to discourse within the pan-Indonesian conservatory system. According to Perlman “STSI’s current regulations require its teaching staff to contribute to the formal discourse of karawitan [instrumental music] in order to win promotion” (Perlman, 1994:81).86 The critical edition of the Prakempa displays many of the rhetorical characteristics of current Indonesian (especially Javanese) theory and betrays a sense of Javanese hegemony in Indonesian music discourse.87 In the framing of the Kawi text within the theoretical framework of Bandem’s critical edition, the once restricted language of the lontar is accessed through the formal channels of dissemination in the state’s educational system. Thus the power/knowledge contained within the lontar is multiplied as it is formalized and co-opted by the state system. Based on Foucault’s ideas in Discipline and Punish (1991) an analogy could be made between the

I include here Perlman’s footnote concerning the promotion scheme at STSI “According to Supardi, STSI staff are promoted based in part on the credit points they accumulate. Under the Three Duties [tridarma] system, equal numbers of these points must be earned in teaching and research. To support the staff’s research activities, STSI’s Research Bureau makes available Rp 250,000 (currently about $100) for each project” (Perlman, 1994:81). 87 For more on Javanese hegemony in the STSI system, see Weintraub 1993.


incitement to discourse Foucault notes in the institutionalization of discipline in modern societies and the institutionalization of mystical, historical works in the state conservatory system as exemplified by Bandem’s edition of the Prakempa. Foucault suggests that as knowledge becomes more disciplined and institutionalized it defines both 1) what doesn’t count as knowledge (exclusionary) and 2) what canons must be learned (inclusionary). The Prakempa, in its original form was invested with a certain kind and amount of power, by being institutionalized and widely disseminated (transferred from a little known manuscript read by a few learned experts to university canon) its power has increased, now functioning as part of the state system.

The Prakempa as a Source of Inspiration to Modern Composers Although the text is in many ways irrelevant as a historical and theoretical (in the Western musical sense) document, the Prakempa has inspired several contemporary composers in the creation of new and sometimes experimental works. The Prakempa is the most often cited text in student skripsis (theses). Students cite the work primarily for its categorization and dating of classical and traditional Balinese ensembles, as well as for the mystical information contained in the text. The reasons for its being cited are many, and no doubt many students simply cite the text because they understand that some works must be cited in a scholarly thesis, and the Prakempa is one of the few they encounter during their study. Furthermore, it cannot hurt to cite the works of important STSI officials (Bandem was the head of STSI during much of the 1980s and 90’s), in the effort to curry a favorable evaluation.


The Prakempa has served to inspire modern musical compositions and the creation of at least one new experimental ensemble based on historical/mythical archetypes, specifically the genta pinara pitu. The name genta pinara pitu was given by Bandem to Beratha’s 11 key gamelan (a combination of the gamelan gong kebyar and gamelan semar pegulingan saih pitu) which was the prototype of the now popular (12 key) gamelan semara dana. Through this Bandem and Beratha attempted to create the new out of the past88, both to revive what they understood to be ancient forms and to provide a vehicle on which to perform wholly new creations.89
Balinese solfeggio: Approximate pitches: Gangsa keys: Deng E 1 Dung G# 2 Dang A 3 Ding C# 4 Dong D 5 deng E 6 deung F# 7 dung G# 8 dang A 9 daing B 10 ding C# 11

Figure 2.2. Genta Pinara Pitu Gangsa

Other composers have found within the Prakempa justifications for modern experiments. In 2000 I Ketut Gede Asnawa composed a kreasi beleganjur (processional gamelan) directly inspired by the account of the evolution and origin of the beleganjur and associated ensembles contained within the Prakempa. The work, entitled Waton dan Plutuk, musically illustrates the development of the contemporary beleganjur ensemble, from its creation by malevolent spirits and through various stages of development, as expressed in the Prakempa. The work is essentially theatrical, expressing the discovery of sound, and the development of music itself. ISI vocal instructor Ketut Suryatini provides a second example:


ISI professor Komang Astita called the ensemble “a new music with an ancient spirit.” The gamelan semara dana (and genta pinara pitu) provides an excellent example of Florida’s concept of future intentions in Indonesian historical texts. 89 A picture of this ensemble is included in Bandem’s edition of the Prakempa, although the ensemble had been invented some three years before Bandem’s edition was published, and some 150-200 years after the original lontar was purportedly written.


There is the mention of harmony in the Prakempa within a discussion of gender wayang technique. There is a discussion of ngapit bisik90, two notes struck together, meaning harmony. (Ni Ketut Suryatini, personal communication, December 2001)

Suryatini is here defending the use of harmonies closer than a Balinese “empat” interval, (typically a fifth). Notes closer than four keys apart (in five-tone ensembles) are rarely played together, except in some gender wayang repertoire. Here Suryatini has found in the Prakempa official and sanctioned evidence of the use of harmonies other than an empat and has used this information as both inspiration for and defense of the creation of new vocal forms (specifically sandhya gita) which increasingly use harmonies closer than an empat.91 The Prakempa is not concerned directly with an explicit musical theory, but with a kind of mysticism or numerology of pitches, ensembles, and styles.92 The critical edition contains several mystical images illustrating the connections of the various pitches of the gamelan to their respective deities, cardinal directions, colors, affects, and other religious significances. For many Balinese, religious imagery is itself magically powerful and many composers explain their works in terms of religious imagery and structures. This theoretical act is done in the musical field both prescriptively and descriptively. For some composers, including Asnawa and Arnawa, musical forms become a space in which they attempt to connect or illustrate the pervading religious tropes and structures that govern their beliefs and

Ngapit means gap or interval in Balinese and Javanese. Bisik means one in Balinese. The Javanese kempyung (Balinese empat) interval is sometimes called ngapit rara, meaning ‘striding two’ keys, with the enclosing keys sounding an interval of a kempyung. Here ngapit bisik refers to an interval with a single key/pitch in between such as dong-dung. 91 See the discussion of Desak Laksmi’s Tembang Gending in appendix A for a more detailed analysis of close harmonies in modern Balinese vocal arrangements. 92 Indeed, much of the information contained in the charts in the Prakempa, such as the relationship between the concepts of genta pinara pitu and the dasaksara with the slendro and pélog tuning systems, is highly confusing. On the one hand, the author(s) suggest that the full realization of seventone pélog involves borrowing two tones from slendro, so that the number ten, the basis of the dasaksara is maintained. Yet, the borrowed pitches are named differently between the charts, nor is this suggestion bore out in actual musical practice. To a certain extent the Prakempa may be purposefully non-rational, opaque, and impenetrable in order to suggest connections with the immaterial world and or in order to allow for a proliferation of (sometimes contradictory) interpretations and inspirations.


lives. Asnawa recounted his attempt to find and construct in musical structure the numbers four, three, and zero which symbolize both religious concepts (i.e. three = the Hindu triumvirate, zero = the circle and cycle of life, reincarnation), and the human body (i.e. three = the triangular form of the legs and waist of the seated musician, four = the trapezoidal shape of the shoulders and elbows of the musicians, zero = the circular shape of the musician’s head). These three numbers embody in turn the tri potensi rohaniah manusia, or the three human potentials: cipta, rasa, and karsa--creativity, feeling, and motivation. Arnawa incorporated the imagery and number associations found in the Hindu pengider bhuana (see appendix D) concept to generate long and complicated interlocking melodies and rhythms which he used in both his STSI Solo Masters recital works (1998) and his later compositions as a faculty member at ISI Denpasar. The ways in which these concepts are incorporated into new music may be as transparent as the number of repetitions of a section, or as abstract and opaque as the construction of short interlocking forms and associations with pitches (i.e. three = ding, four = deung, or dung, zero = gong). Generally, there is a tendency in Balinese composition, especially in modern, intellectual composition to connect musical structures to structures found in Balinese Hindu religious thought, especially to concepts of mystical cosmology. Rather than imagining music as a complex manifestation of simpler, fundamental structures, many Balinese often imagine music as a simplified representation of an aurality which is complicated beyond the capacity of human consciousness to experience or comprehend. It is imagined that only the Gods can experience the profound musics of the cosmos. In this way we might conceive of music produced for human reception as a kind of avatar, a distilled representation for the limited capacities of human consciousness of the sum total of cosmic vibrations.93 The mystical


This concept is developed further in the discussion of Widnyana’s work Trimbat in chapter five.


concept of the genta pinara pitu does not suggest an actual musical instrument. Instead, it references sounds and vibrations transcending a normal person’s aurality. The concept is connected to the Hindu idea of the Sapta Patala, or seven layers of the world (cosmos), including the earth, underworld, planets, and beyond. Each layer of the world is associated with a different pitch or kind of sound. Essentially, this concept is similar to the ancient Greek concept of the music of the spheres. It is thought that the Gods became enraptured and fascinated by these sounds and created the seven ancient ensembles (described in the Prakempa) to provide humankind the pleasure of experiencing, albeit in a limited way, the joys of these mystical sounds.94 In this way, concepts such as the genta pinara pitu serve as a conceptual bridge, or religious process, between the material and immaterial. “Tradition” in Bali is a category claimed for any acts, beliefs or productions which maintain a philosophical or religious connection either to pre-urban customs or social activities (such as cockfighting, as in the musik kontemporer work Tajen, mentioned above), or any activities or performances which maintain a connection to Balinese religious notions of the transcendent. Generally, anything imagined as existing beyond the senses, as immaterial, or as related to the spiritual realm is termed “niskala.” Conversely, all things manifest or visible are termed “sekala.” A musik kontemporer work, even if it borrows foreign influences or is otherwise quite modern, can be defended as “Balinese” (if not spontaneously traditional) if it claims connection to the realm of niskala. The Prakempa serves as a bridge through which contemporary Balinese composers can connect the material manifestations of their artistic imaginations to ostensibly universal traditional Balinese conceptions of the profoundly transcendent.


This information is primarily from the Prakempa and conversations with I Ketut Gede Asnawa and I Gusti Sudarta.


Abstraction Versus Representation and the Continuum Between Kreasi Baru and Musik Kontemporer in Bali The binary of abstract versus representational expression began to dominate the cultural policies and rhetoric of Indonesia, but especially Central Java, in the late 1970s primarily through the influence of Gendhon Humardani, then head of STSI Solo, the national conservatory in Central Java. Humardani negatively portrayed the development of “representational” (representatip) (Roth 1986:259) explanatory methods of dance movement in sendratari as opposed to the classic Javanese arts which he characterized as nonrepresentational (tidak representatip) or, in Javanese, “tan wadag.” In this understanding “representational” is taken to mean a kind of unstylized pantomime in dance (characterized by Humardani as “idiotic kitsch”) or, in music, the use of realistic “sound effects” to paint mood or theme rather than representing affect or action purely through, say, melody (ibid 258-259). Historically, Balinese musik kontemporer works have tended towards representational expression through the use of such theatrical elements and sound effects. These works typically traded radical musical experimentation for a programmatic compositional approach which focused on representing Balinese traditional religion, village culture, or nature. Many Balinese musik kontemporer composers balance the perceived disconnection from or damage to tradition resulting from the incorporation of non-traditional methods and forms with a theatrical, thematic, and representational association with Balinese traditional custom and the realm of niskala. While the Javanese “tan wadag” is translated by Sumarsam as meaning “non-corporeal” (1995:126) it can also be translated as of or being related to the non-manifest spiritual realm, that is, niskala.95 In this way, the development of


Robson and Wibisono (2002) translate wadhag (wadag) as meaning: “visible, corporeal (as contrasted with non-material, spiritual).” Thus rendering tan wadag to mean non-material, spiritual.


musik kontemporer between otherwise aesthetically differentiated scenes in Bali and Solo can be connected by the fact that, in both, composers attempt to maintain an aura of tradition, albeit in different ways. In Solo this aura is maintained by the continued adherence to nonrepresentational aesthetics. In Bali, representationalism is employed to relate works to traditional life, beliefs, and the realm of the abstract world of niskala. Balinese tabuh kreasi baru, as it developed in the 1980s and 1990s in the context of arts festivals, represented extreme abstraction as it was disconnected from dance, drama or themes based on a narrative. Furthermore, the kreasi baru form, until recently, maintained a strict adherence to standard gong kebyar orchestration and predominantly employed traditional gong kebyar musical syntax. These works often took themes so abstract as to be meaningless: “love,” “beauty,” “unity” or purportedly drew inspiration from nature. Throughout the 1990s musik kontemporer works, often incorporating gong kebyar instruments (rather than full ensembles), began to influence the kreasi baru composed for the arts festivals. Innovative playing techniques and forms began to be increasingly incorporated into kreasi baru by composers such as Yudane, Subandi, and Widia, who also were active in the development of musik kontemporer. Komang Astita notes that: “when my work Semara Winangun was first performed in 1979 (with the title Gema Eka Dasa Rudra) it was avantgarde musik kontemporer, but when it is performed today it just sounds like kreasi baru” (I Komang Astita, personal communication, July 2000). By 2000 kreasi baru works performed in the annual arts festivals (the Festival Gong and the PKB) began including non-kebyar and non-gamelan instrumentation such as bamboo angklung, terbang drums and even materials not traditionally considered musical instruments, such as sheets of tin and plywood boards. The inclusion of experimental “instruments” such as plywood in I Made Sue’s Mangrove, composed and performed at the 2000 PKB created a


sensation among composers and critics for its highly representational nature, specifically the use of experimental instruments to vividly represent the sound of wind rushing through the leaves of a mangrove forest – a technique typically associated with musik kontemporer. The Balinese composer Asnawa negatively portrays the use of non-kebyar instruments in the use of kreasi baru, and the tendency of younger composers to use these instruments to represent environmental sounds, such as wind or birds. Asnawa portrays Wayan Beratha, the grandfatherly maestro of kebyar and kreasi baru, as a genius of melodic construction, who due to his considerable talents never had to resort to such low musical “tricks.”
Pak Beratha never used acting or sound effects; it’s all expressed through the melody.96 Beratha did not use realistic sounds; ideas are expressed abstractly through his melodic genius. If he wanted to represent wind, he would have just used the suling flutes. (I Ketut Gede Asnawa, personal communication, September 2000)

Works such as Sue’s Mangrove represent the continuously dissolving boundary lines between musik kontemporer and kreasi baru. As kreasi baru increasingly incorporates techniques and concepts from musik kontemporer, it also tends towards musik kontemporer’s penchant for realistic expression.

Chapter Summary and Theoretical Perspectives In the beginning of this chapter I presented a “polyphony” of voices in the effort to avoid a unitary, essentialized “Balinese” perspective and meant, to some extent, to remove myself as narrator. I reviewed official institutional policies and examined the difference and play between official rhetoric and actual musical practices. I discussed the presence of lateral influences through the rhetorics and policies of multiculturalism, and problematized the

Beratha did in fact use realism in at least one instance, the use of drums to imitate the Islamic bedug and the pistol shots in his (1964) Gesuri.


conventional Euro-American concept of globalization as being synonymous with Westernization. The discussion of multiculturalism in this chapter represents a continuation of the discussion of plurality and nationalism, on the one hand, and globalization, on the other hand, as these issues were discussed in the first chapter. Continuing, I examined written discourses such as music criticism and the Prakempa and the relationships between disciplines, discourses, and power. The theory of detraditionalization--the loss of traditions and “the traditional” in modern and developing countries--as articulated in social and cultural studies in the 1980s and 1990s focused primarily on binaries: tradition versus change or innovation, the embedded (situated or socio-centric) self versus the disembedded (de-situated or autonomous) self; and self under control versus self in control etc. with each of these binaries informed by a basic past to present/future dynamic. The arguments of detraditionalization suggest that tradition is lost as societies have acquired the opportunity to stand back from, critically reflect upon, and lose their faith in what the traditional has to offer. If subjects in a society imagine themselves as belonging to a whole, the argument continues, detraditionalization cannot occur. Detraditionalization, as an all-encompassing theory for change in Indonesia, is countered by the evidence in Bali in which several, at times contradictory, forces are at play including: detraditionalism (indeed some old and sacred repertoires are atrophying and becoming extinct as Western mass media becomes more popular among the young), retraditionalism (penggalian), tradition maintenance (pelestarian) and the construction of new traditions (pengembangan). And, as all of the above forces interact and interpenetrate, we see in Bali complex evidences of tradition-in-modernity as well as modernity-as-tradition.


The Invention of Tradition In their work The Invention of Tradition (1983) Hobsbawm and Ranger suggest that since the industrial revolution many societies, in the face of the constant change and innovation of the modern world, attempted to structure “at least some part of social life . . . as unchanging and invariant” (2). In Bali “traditional” music is neither unchanging or invariant. Rather, it is constantly being (re)invented.97 The Balinese music scene represents a fluid and complex tradition analogous to moving streams in which each genre--classical and new--is constantly flowing and rippling with innovation, with some streams flowing faster and more wildly than others. Hobsbawm and Ranger suggest that the 19th century Western liberal ideology of social change systematically failed to provide for the social and authority ties taken for granted in earlier practices, creating voids which had to be filled in by invented traditions. In Bali something of the opposite occurred as the 20th century Dutch colonial and later national ideologies of social and cultural preservation largely failed to acknowledge and allow for the inherent forces of and tendencies for change and innovation in the oral Balinese


As part of an ASTI (the national conservatory in Denpasar) community outreach (KKN) program in 1984 I Made Bandem (ASTI rector) “revitalized” a nearly extinct form of traditional rejang temple dance from Kuta known as the Rejang Dewa. Bandem incorporated several new movements and modernized costumes. Nyoman Windha and Wayan Suweca created a modernized accompaniment for the gamelan gong kebyar. This work was then performed for President Reagan during his short visit to Bali in 1986 and was later taught in the villages by ASTI graduates. Although it essentially represented a secularized kreasi baru, the dance, authorized by its (re)creation at ASTI and official performances, quickly became sacralized and within a matter of years was a standard inner temple (wali) dance throughout Bali. In 1998 Bandem arranged a secular performance of the dance in Yogyakarta at Prambanan for then president Gus Dur (Wahid). At the time several Balinese cultural commentators decried Bandem’s defiling of the “sacred” Rejang Dewa by performing it outside of a temple for political uses, demanding that he return to Bali and publicly ask the Balinese people’s forgiveness in front of the regional parliament; Bandem refused. (personal communication, I Made Bandem, September, 2003). (For a similar example concerning the transformation of the ceremonies surrounding death, see Vickers 1996:31). This example provides an interesting challenge to the notion of the invention of tradition as formulated by Hobsbawm and Ranger. Often, what they claim to be invented traditions are actually variations or developments of pre-existing cultural forms (i.e. the Scottish kilt, the Rejang Dewa being a similar example). Furthermore, they imagine these “invented” forms to be somehow frozen, or invariant, as suggested above, this is rarely the case in Bali.


musical culture, forcing musicians, composers, and bureaucrats to camouflage change in terms of the preservation of tradition. In Bali, the idea of tradition and its relationship to innovation is uniquely Balinese and the Balinese new music scene challenges many older Euro/American theoretical concepts concerning tradition and its function in changing societies. The West has portrayed its own cultural history as periodized in terms of a clear-cut break between “the traditional” and “the modern.” This dualism was then applied by sociologists and anthropologists looking outside of the West whose theories have tended to suggest a struggle between the “powers of tradition” and the “forces of modernity” (Heelas 1996:13). In Bali where so much of the new is retrieved from the past, a periodized and unidirectional view of the traditional and the modern is absurd. Heimarck suggests that Balinese notions of the relationship between traditional and modern are expansive rather than linear: “The development may not move linearly from one to the other, but instead often involves an expansion of the traditional to include the modern. At the same time, modern developments may be adapted to accommodate traditional needs” (Heimarck 2003:29). While ISI defends its policies for their role in “saving” traditions, in its adherence to the ideology of tradition, it rarely acknowledges that the policies of penggalian, pelestarian, and pengembangan themselves are innovative and completely modern. The ways in which the official rhetorics of pelestarian, penggalian, and pengembangan are actualized are complex and do not adhere completely to the binaries of tradition versus change, preservation versus development etc. that have been handed down from both Jakarta and the Western scholarly tradition. Indeed, in many ways, being traditional is being modern in Bali. Vickers has pointed out that new elements of culture that are evaluated positively are often defined as traditional by being assigned to the category of religion (1996:30). During my research,


women’s gamelan ensembles became quite popular in Denpasar. While completely untraditional from an historic perspective, the women’s gamelan trend was popularly hailed and described by the mayor of Denpasar as a way in which modern Balinese women could come to understand better their traditional culture and religion.98 In Bali, we do not encounter the “invention of tradition,” in Hobsbawm’s and Ranger’s sense of the creation, out of nothing, of invariant cultural forms. Instead, we encounter the invention of a rhetoric of tradition which at times attempts to suggest that Balinese performing traditions, many of which are constantly mutating, are somehow ancient and invariant.

Balinese Cultural Cryogenics In developing a description/theory that more neatly fits the landscape of cultural development in Bali I borrow the concept of cryogenics as an analogy to describe how new music is developed and the nature of its relationship to older repertoires perceived as ancient or traditional.99 Cryogenics, the science of preserving a living thing from the present (or past) for retrieval/re-animation in the future recalls the ways in which traditional musics are used and referenced in Balinese musik kontemporer. Rather than simply preserving music in an exercise in cultural taxidermy--as an object to be viewed as a museum piece in the future-cryogenics suggests that the cultural materials will continue to live, change, and develop


For more on this see McGraw, Latitudes, December 2004. The power of Balinese religion to authorize new performances and aspects of culture is very strong. During my research the composer I Made Subandi attempted several times to have his musik kontemporer works performed in temple contexts, with varying degrees of success. Kontemporer forms of wayang have been performed several times in temple settings. 99 I use the rather playful “cryogenics” rather than such terms as “revival” or “heritage” because these latter terms, as they are theorized by Livingston (1999) and Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (1995) respectively, portray revival and heritage movements as reactions against the contemporary cultural mainstream. Furthermore, both suggest that revivalist and heritage presentations are produced for others (outside populations). This is not the case in the production of musik kontemporer which is more often imagined by Balinese composers to represent the fusion of the past and the future in the present and is produced primarily for their own communities.


dynamically within the future. Rather than strictly defining the boundaries of traditional and sacred repertoires, Balinese composers extensively incorporate material from ancient ensembles in radically new works. However, as in the cryogenic process, “preserved” materials are often altered. In the case of musik kontemporer, composers often suggest that alterations must be made to make the traditional materials more relevant to present and future audiences and thusly more likely to continue to live. Conservatives suggest that what is altered is oftentimes the very soul of the tradition, thus killing/transforming it before it can be fully appreciated in its authentic form by future generations. In an illustrative example I Made Subandi arranged a musik kontemporer work for a combination of slonding, luang, and gambang (all ancient and sacred seven-tone ensembles) for the 2004 PKB. While he extensively referenced idiomatic techniques and traditional repertoire he also incorporated completely foreign concepts. In one section Subandi incorporated canon techniques among the gambang instruments as well as sections in which dramatic dynamic and temporal profiles are explored. Traditional gambang music is unique among Balinese ensembles for its very flat and stable dynamic and temporal profiles. Subandi suggested that to make the rare and esoteric gambang attractive to modern audiences who prefer the dramatic tempos and dynamics of kebyar and are generally unaccustomed to traditional gambang repertoire, novel arrangements were necessary. Certain conservative commentators, such as the gambang expert I Wayan Sinti, suggested that the very flat dynamic and temporal profile of gambang is a central feature of its sound and when changed, the “flavor” (rasa) of gambang is lost. This conflict represents another commonality between the development of new musics and the analogy of cryogenics: freezer burn.


Chapter 3 Audiences, Composers, and Patrons
BALINESE AUDIENCES The nature of audiences for experimental music in Bali is not that different from new music audiences in other parts of the world. That is, it is not a large or mass audience, but rather narrow and confined primarily to those involved in its production. However, there are scenes in Bali in which broad cross-sections of society come into contact with experimental music. New experimental works are not demanded by the general listening public as are new kreasi baru works for gong kebyar or semara dana, however there are individuals, institutions, and venues that occasionally commission new musik kontemporer works. In Bali, and Indonesia in general, composers and performers are the primary force directing and expecting the development of experimental music. In Bali this music is primarily by and for the academy: students, faculty, and staff at SMKI and ISI, although there are a number of leading experimental composers who are not employed by or enrolled in the academy (but are graduates of STSI). In this respect musik kontemporer is the expression of a cultural elite--a class of college educated artists. Raden (2001) suggests that musik kontemporer represents the “other within its own society, a music with a small and specific audience” (xx). Raden also states however that Indonesian musik kontemporer enjoys an audience which extends beyond the academy as it is often, in his perception, an expression of national culture. Rustopo suggests however that it is appreciated by an “extremely limited audience, primarily young artists” (1988:53). The nature of audiences for experimental music in Indonesia varies by locale.100


Raden (ibid) suggests that experimental performances generate the most interest in Jakarta, the cosmopolitan capital. However, based on my experiences observing and performing in new music


In Bali experimental music is primarily performed at ISI, the PKB, or at various smaller festivals in Denpasar, Ubud or the tourist cities in the south, and very rarely in rural villages. In the two primary scenes, ISI final recitals and the evening or two of experimental music at the PKB, attendance is almost always at capacity.101 Attendance at these performances always includes a number of ISI faculty, students and graduates, but also includes family members, local Denpasar residents, tourists, foreign musicians and researchers, and other groups of Balinese and non-Balinese Indonesian. Today the role of television is increasingly important in creating audiences for traditional, popular, and new music in Bali. TVRI (Televisi Republic Indonesia, Republic of Indonesia Television) airs both national and local programming, including arts programming. Bali TV, founded in the late 1990s, also airs regular arts programming. These programs have functioned to widen audiences for all musical forms, especially in rural and outlying areas where residents either cannot attend the PKB events in Denpasar, or find attending to be an inconvenience. Many Balinese who have never been able to attend the festival now watch it on television.

Audience Behavior Balinese music audiences are not like American music audiences, with the possible exception of an especially rambunctious crowd at the Apollo Amateur Night. The Balinese audience is more reminiscent of Western sports audiences and many have made the comparison between Balinese music audiences and the sometimes ornery audiences at
concerts throughout Indonesia, Balinese audiences are the largest and Solonese are the most informed. While the Jakarta Arts Summit is considered one the most prestigious venues for new works, the audiences in 2002 averaged around 50 people. Average audience for new works at the PKB or ISI student recitals average around 200-800 people. 101 The Ksirarnawa stage at the Taman Budaya arts complex which hosts the PKB has a capacity of approximately 1500. The Natya Mandala stage at ISI has a capacity of approximately 800.


European soccer matches.102 Audience members, especially at the popular and competitive gong kebyar kreasi baru performances, jeer mistakes and applaud virtuosity. They often talk throughout a concert, resembling 18th century Italian opera houses more than new music concerts in America where silence and immobility are considered signs of appreciation and courtesy. Audiences generally applaud what they find familiar or obviously and physically virtuosic. If it is clear that a group is well rehearsed, the audience applauds. Generally, Balinese audiences have a low threshold for anything imprecise, indeterminate or intellectual. In my experience at new music concerts, large sections of the audience quickly lost interest during extended slow or soft passages. Audiences are vocal and will let a group or composer know if they are not enjoying themselves. I Wayan Suweca recounted that during a performance of one of his most experimental works, Fajar Menyingsing, in which performers improvised on experimental and found instruments (in black concert dress) the audience continuously jeered, shouting “stop!” at one point. At large kreasi baru performances objects have been thrown at performers, and mass hooting can erupt if a musician or dancer makes an obvious mistake. Contrariwise, during performances of Ketut Suanda’s comic experimental works, the audience often bursts into spontaneous laughter and applause, often yelling encouragements and good-natured taunts at the performers. Balinese audiences want to be engaged during a performance. They expect to have interaction and communication with the performers, as is often the case in the traditional performing arts, especially theatrical forms. If an audience comes across music or dance which they cannot understand or which they cannot tell is being played correctly or


“I don’t know if it is because of over-crowding or the thunderous yelling, but the performances are like soccer matches. I sometimes can’t handle it, watching these friends of mine who have rehearsed for up to six months, and then the audience goes so crazy you can’t even hear the music sometimes. And they sometimes even throw things onto the stage.” (I Wayan Sinti, personal communication, December 2002)


incorrectly or if it is unclear if the performance required great amounts of rehearsal or talent, they quickly become distracted and will not hesitate to let the performers know. The fact that audiences are often hostile towards and sometimes do not understand, or even seem to try to understand contemporary music and dance is a fact discussed in some student theses and several students performing kontemporer recitals have experienced negative audience reactions (see for instance Ariany 1998). The issue of the ill-behaved audience has been a subject for some discussion in news articles and official publications by the PKB committee: “Furthermore although the form, depth, and performances are sufficiently good, the manners of the audiences needs to be upgraded through guidance and education” (PKB 1989:38).

BALINESE COMPOSERS The Composer / Audience Interaction Historically, composition in Bali was an anonymous and more communal and transformational process than it is today. Today composition in groups with a single identifiable ‘leader’, later attributed as the primary composer, is the most common form of creation. Works composed prior to the development of kebyar are almost all attributed to anonymous tradition and many earlier kebyar works are likewise the products of name-less brilliance. Today the notion of idiosyncratic, individual compositional style is ascendant.

The idea of finding one’s unique voice has gained unprecedented value and currency. Today younger composers strive to find their voice and make a name for themselves whereas in previous decades it seemed that specific recognition and citation were reserved for only those very few older proven masters of specific forms.


An investigation of the relationship between the musik kontemporer composer and the audience can help reveal the ways in which these composers identify themselves within the larger world of Balinese composition, and the ways in which they differentiate themselves from traditional composers and composers of previous generations. Most Balinese composers, young and old, feel that the composer-audience connection found in Bali is unique, strong and unlike the situation found in other parts of Indonesia or the world. According to Asnawa:

We’re collective, all under one roof [wantilan]. Balinese composers still care about the audience. In Java it’s sometimes different. They have ventured out. Compositional development here is slow by comparison. We take only short steps so that the audience can keep up with us. The Javanese have partially lost their traditional arts because they weren’t careful about maintaining that relationship. (I Ketut Gede Asnawa, personal communication, August 2002)

Evoking the structure of the wantilan, the traditional Indonesian open air structure, Asnawa suggests that the Balinese are still together with their audience, interacting as in a communal market, while in Java composers have begun looking for their own cultural space. Asnawa is here referring to the perceived (and indeed real) loss of many of the larger classical gending in central Java, the decreasing frequency of both traditional klenengan103 and wayang, and the recent surge in popularity of such light hybrid forms as campur sari. According to several Balinese composers, the comparative strength of the Balinese performing arts is due to the unique level of understanding and communication between composers and audiences.104 Komunikasi (communication) is a stated goal of almost all Balinese composers and the need to be understood and appreciated almost immediately is desired by most composers in Bali, regardless of age or style. While some Western

Traditional Javanese musical gatherings, in which musicians play music apart from dance, theater or wayang contexts. 104 Many Balinese composers made disparaging reference to the declining relevance and importance of traditional Javanese religious practices and custom in which gamelan had once played a vital role as contributing to the degradation of the classical Javanese performing arts.


experimental composers may believe that the perceived quality and integrity of their expression is primary and that recognition can be, and probably will be delayed, even posthumous, the Balinese composer desires immediate acknowledgment. According to the composer Ketut Suanda, whose experimental works are often thematic and comic and very popular with audiences:

We perform for the general public at what are usually free concerts. There are no closed performances, and so we are like sellers, or businessmen; we have to appeal to everyone. So, we have a business, a product; we need to sell it so that people buy it, not with their money (because no one really makes any money off of experimental music anywhere in the world, right?), but they pay with their hearts. So, we as composers have to think: ‘what will they buy?’ What will they accept into their hearts? (I Ketut Suanda, personal communication, October 2002)

Traditional and Older Composers
“The old people are just silent, but their faces, oh, they don’t approve.” – I Ketut Gede Asnawa

While almost all Balinese composers consider audience tastes in the creation of their work, many older composers, as well as contemporary traditionalist composers, express the sentiment that younger composers, especially those involved in the production of musik kontemporer, do not seriously consider audience tastes or that they do not consider the audience at all. According to I Wayan Beratha:

When I was active as a composer I always worried about the audience and about what my friends would say. I’d take their advice and suggestions. Now my pieces are standards all over the island. When composers only care about their own ideas and tastes, then that’s how music is lost and is separated from society. (I Wayan Beratha, personal communication, September 2001)

Many older composers comment that the great composers of previous generations such as Lotring, Kaler, etc., were not as egotistical, compositionally, as today’s composers.


Rather, these masters are portrayed as caring more deeply about both the tastes of the audiences and the preservation of tradition. The power of general audience taste to influence the form and construction of Balinese music is very real. In a discussion of Ni Ketut Suryatini’s approach when composing vocal arrangements, the question of the limits of the use of harmonic techniques brought up the issue of audience tastes and desires.
Could you sing dang and ding105 together in kreasi baru? No. You could sing dung and ding, or deng and ding, but not that very close interval between dang and ding. It’s a matter of good composition technique. The audience might react with confusion, because they are unfamiliar with such sounds. It would be best not to chance it. (Ni Ketut Suryatini, personal communication, December 2001)

For many composers, when working in non-experimental idioms, good compositional technique means giving the audience primarily what they want and what they are accustomed to. However, some younger composers suggested that the attitude of older composer and musicians towards Balinese new music and methods of composition was simply a matter of age. They suggested that this was probably the case in most musical cultures, and that even they themselves will be thought of as conservative and backwards-thinking in their old age, according to Sue:

Pak Beratha, while we love him, is an old man. It is always that way, you see it in the audiences; old people simply will not understand you as well. But, it is very likely that many old people during Pak Beratha’s youth thought that even he was a renegade and maybe a little crazy for the music he was writing. And now his music is ‘classic.’ So, while we want to be appreciated, we don’t really worry if the older composers don’t understand. (I Made Sue, personal communication, November 2001)


Dang and ding are Balinese solfeggio syllables, here referring to an interval of roughly a major third in pélog, a distance of one key on the gamelan kebyar.


Young Composers Many young Balinese composers feel that Balinese music should be energized by constant and sometimes radical development and change and that as long as traditional religion and custom, with its requirement of nearly constant offerings in the form of traditional music, dance, and theater is maintained, then Balinese culture will remain vigorous and healthy enough to withstand cultural experimentation. Furthermore, as every Balinese Hindu must take part in traditional ceremonial practices, they come into frequent contact with traditional music, socializing them within a specific musical syntax which composers can employ to communicate with mass audiences when needed. Many younger composers noted that while the official governmental and academic discourses surrounding music focuses on preservation of so-called classic forms, that nothing was classic at inception, but must have been considered originally as a kind of kreasi baru, if not musik kontemporer. Many experimental composers view themselves as the vanguard of a mutating and evolving Balinese traditional culture, and for them the audience, while remaining important, sometimes takes a back seat to aesthetic concerns. According to a young STSI graduate:

Of course the audience and its tastes are relevant. But we make music not only for the audience, but for ourselves. We don’t disregard people like Pak [I Wayan] Beratha, but it is a matter of proportion. We do not mean to be egotistical; no one wants to hear indulgent music, but we want to develop our music and our individual identities as composers to be heard. (I Gede Arsana, personal communication, September 2002)

Arsana’s comments illustrate the deep interest among contemporary composers in both musical evolution and the development of the role and position of the Balinese composer. Individual identities have become more important than the development of repertoires. According to I Made Subandi, a leading composer of experimental forms:


For me, the audience is number two. The most important things are my ideas and the players involved. I do not, cannot, follow the tastes of the audience. I welcome the audience but I know that they will only be able to partially understand and appreciate my music, and that maybe I am the only one who can ever fully understand it. (I Made Subandi, personal communication, October 2001)

Many younger composers responded to accusations of over complexity, egoism, and intellectualisms in their compositions by suggesting that appreciating a piece of music should be a process, and that if the average listener can fully appreciate and enjoy a work in the first hearing then it is probably not a substantial work. Many young composers commented that they themselves had not come to a full understanding and appreciation of their own repertoire, especially the gong kebyar repertoire, until after performing it for several years. Furthermore, many suggested that through the large indigenous cassette industry composers, players and audiences could experience works more slowly, over many listenings, rather than only once within the context of a PKB performance. These attitudes have lead to increasingly complex music involving fewer internal repetitions and more complicated orchestrations. Why repeat sections within the work, many ask, when there is a rewind button? While most young composers were, during my research, more interested in creating experimental instrumental works rather than dance accompaniments or works in traditional idioms, they still placed a greater importance on the desires and tastes of the audience than would the typical young American composer. In their recital works students continue to primarily use the gong kebyar instruments as it is the ensemble most understood and liked by the general audience. I Nyoman Suanda suggested that if, in rehearsal, he felt his works were becoming too abstract or intellectual, he would often try to “include a section or passage that imitated the style of Pak Beratha, or even Pak Asnawa, so that it would be palatable to the audience.” Suanda felt that while musical experimentalism was a good thing, it needed to adhere to the Balinese concept of tri hita karana, or the three core relations or connections in


human life: the connection between 1) people and God 2) person to person, and 3) people and their environment, or society as a whole.106 Suanda attempted to explain the negative reception of some of Yudane’s more experimental computer generated works in terms of this concept:

In terms of the tri hita karana, the work was not appropriate for the audience. In this work, two elements of the tri hita karana were missing: 1) the person to person connection; the work was for a solo musician sitting in front of a machine, rather than for live players interacting through music. And 2) the connection between people and their environment or society. The Balinese audience is not used to or ready for these sounds, and also, it was not natural music, the instrument was a machine, not wood, skin. I’m sure Yudane’s work was well thought out structurally and I’m sure it was meaningful to him, and maybe he felt a connection to the Gods when he played and composed it. But the audience, they did not feel a connection and they left. (I Ketut Suanda, personal communication, November 2002)

A major audience complaint of much musik kontemporer, and even, but to a lesser extent, recent kreasi baru is that it is too intellectual. Despite the level of hostility towards overtly radical and intellectual experimentalism in Bali, many younger Balinese composers view their role as part educator; to introduce the audience to new forms of expression. Many composers believe that they are, through their art, foreshadowing or at least reflecting, sociopolitical and aesthetic change. Many suggested that this was best done through incremental, conscientious change in performance practice and compositional styles. Most composers feel that audiences are still largely engaged and understand many of the changes young composers incorporate, if not always in musik kontemporer then almost always in kreasi baru. According to Nyoman Windha:
The audience is still important and they are coming to understand our new concepts. Because step by step we try to pull the audience to understand. We are slowly changing the function of each instrument. Like when I use trompong with three people107 or use the jegogan to play

Other Balinese composers had differing interpretations of this concept. Asnawa, for example, interpreted the concept as meaning the connection between man and god, man and man, and man and hell, or the underworld. 107 Trompong are typically played by a solo performer in Southern Balinese styles and at STSI. However, in some classical gong gede repertoire from the northern region of Buleleng and Bangli,


melody or kotekan rather than just supporting the melody. But still, the composer should worry first about shaping the music, not the audience. (I Nyoman Windha, personal communication, July 2001)

Other composers have tried various techniques to shock audiences. Pande Made Sukerta has placed musicians behind the stage and hidden in the audience, concealing instruments within their clothes, as a way to surprise and entertain the audience. “I like to play the audience like an instrument. It’s fun to play with their reactions. And I think they learn something also.” Sukerta commented that sometimes certain audience members, those cultural elites that take the music sometimes too seriously, can create an atmosphere that is too stiff. To surprise these audience members and the sometimes stuffy dancers and musicians involved in experimental music, Sukerta sometimes plays unexpected tricks on stage:

Once I asked a woman, a dancer who does experimental dance, to improvise during one of my pieces that used recorded tape. The audience was very serious. I wouldn’t let her rehearse, so that it would be spontaneous, I said. The stage setting was very ‘experimental’, stark with dark lighting. And ha!, I included sounds of a woman having an orgasm on the tape, (real sounds, by the way), and the audience went crazy; the dancer didn’t know what to do. Needless to say, there was no second performance. It’s good to do that sometimes, play with the audience and performers. Music for me is a question, not an answer. I try to ask questions of the audience. What is this? How should we react? (Pande Made Sukerta, personal communication, August 2002)108

The two most active Balinese composers living in Java, Pande Made Sukerta and I Wayan Sadra, have created works that seem to be based purely upon shocking the audience. In the late 1990’s Sadra composed a work incorporating several bass guitars, amplified gongs, and a live water buffalo. The animal was subjected to loud and extremely low vibrations until it violently evacuated its bowels on stage.109 Sadra’s other fragrant works

trompong are sometimes performed by three people. This is also often the case in gong luang styles. However, this is generally understood by students at STSI to represent experimentalism. 108 Funnily, more than one contemporary composer has recounted this story to me, naming themselves as the composer. It may be apocryphal or may have been a trend. 109 Marc Perlman reports seeing a different composition by Sadra in 1997 involving a cow. The cow, which simply stood to the side of the stage, was not necessarily a musical part of the composition, but


include Telur Busuk (rotten eggs) in which aged chicken eggs were thrown in front of the audience. For many Balinese composers, young and old, the issue of audience context is extremely important when creating a work? When asked how he composes I Ketut Lanus responded: “first I have to know what it is for, who is the audience and where is the performance – the music depends on that.” Many composers cite the Balinese concept of desa kala patra, or place, time, and context as an important framing tool in the creation of music. Suweca commented that he came to the realization, after the negative reactions to one of his experimental works, that all forms of music have their appropriate place, time, and context, and that may not be the Bali Arts Festival. Many experimental works have been created by Balinese artists for festivals outside of Bali, primarily in Jakarta. Asnawa commented that his work Kosong had been renamed from Windu (discussed in chapter five) to appeal to a Jakartan audience, and that its very experimental nature was in part an attempt to surprise the ostensibly more cosmopolitan and educated Jakartan audiences. Regional differences often play a part in how a Balinese composer writes. Sukerta suggested that audiences in the north of Bali, especially around Tunjuk, were more amenable to experimentation than southern audiences. In a performance of his early work Asanawali Sukerta found audiences in the north to be receptive. However:

When we first played that piece in Bali, we were in Singaraja. The local dinas (cultural administration) head said to me “Made, if you played this piece in Denpasar, they might kill you.” I said “really ?” I thought at first he was kidding. He said they might throw rocks. I said, “well, if I was tortured because of my art, then there would be no need to cremate me,

was used as a political symbol, here referencing the PDI Democratic party lead by Megawati Soekarnoputri (personal communication, Marc Perlman, March 2005). This work was purportedly the inspiration for a work by Ketut Suanda for the 2002 PKB in which he “performed” a live puppy.


because I’d already be in hell!” (Pande Made Sukerta, personal communication, September 2001)110

Many Balinese composers have acknowledged a perceived change in audience tastes over the past two decades. These changes are most likely due to increased urbanization, the growing tourist industry, and the increasing interaction between the Balinese and other ethnic groups. Recent changes in the quality and quantity of primary and secondary education in Bali have likely also impacted the tastes and nature of audiences. The mass media, in the form of the cassette industry, the internet, and television have had an immeasurable impact on increasing the average Balinese’ awareness of and interest in non-traditional and foreign cultural forms. Composers of experimental music find today’s audiences increasingly amenable to new music and more accepting of experimentation than audiences in the late 1970s and 1980s. According to Suanda:

We used to make crazy musik kontemporer (but we didn’t call it that) when I was a kid in the 80’s. It was just the local kids, on whatever instruments. I would compose strange stuff and we would play it in the banjar for events. The older people would stand there with their arms crossed, and then just yell “You’re insane!” and walk off. But eventually that stopped. People actually stay for my performances now. (I Ketut Suanda, personal communication, September 2002)

Most composers feel that audiences come closer to understanding their works each year. According to I Wayan Dibia audiences over the past two decades have slowly changed from being “lazy and passive” towards being more engaged and willing to “accept a challenge” (I Wayan Dibia, personal communication, December 2002). Most composers

comment that audiences at the Bali Arts Festival are increasingly uninterested in the classical forms which they regularly hear in the context of temple performances, and look to the

While probably hyperbole, Sukerta bolstered this statement by suggesting that northern audiences were more open to new sounds because they had had longer contact with the “outside world” (the colonial administration was first centered in Singaraja before Denpasar.)


festival as a venue in which to hear the newest, latest thing. For many composers, the classical gong kebyar, and even the kreasi baru style of the 1960s to 1980s, is no longer an option for a serious composer.

You can’t write pieces like that anymore if you intend to have the people embrace it. Like Beratha’s kreasi Purwa Pascima, experimental at the time, now it’s commonplace. The audience won’t have it, they’ve changed. So, I wonder sometimes, who is pulling who, the composers or the audiences? Sometimes you can’t tell in Bali. (I Wayan Suweca, personal communication, June 2001)

While it seems that audiences in Bali do crave newness, this is true only to a point. New experimental music represents aesthetic heterogeneity and a threat to the rather homogenized aesthetics of traditional Balinese performing arts. Many composers have commented on the ways in which experimental music could be “socialized,” or made more acceptable, or palatable to larger audiences. Many of these artists take the capitalist advertising industry as a model. For some composers and artists it is not that musik kontemporer is inherently strange, or structurally flawed but simply that the new palette of ideas employed in musik kontemporer are not yet familiar. According to the visual artist Nyoman Erawan:

Large crowds can understand and appreciate musik kontemporer, Suanda is an example of this. But generally the audiences are still hostile of really experimental music, but only because they are afraid of difference. We should advertise more. You know, when you first see a product you think “what is this, this is probably rubbish, this toothpaste--let’s say toothpaste--is no good.” But then you are bombarded by ad after ad. You come to think, “hey this must be good, I need to buy this!” It’s the same with art. We need to advertise more. (I Nyoman Erawan, personal communication, June 2003)

Erawan and others complained that the problem of less than enthusiastic reception for musik kontemporer among Balinese audiences was due primarily to a lack of consistent exposure and involvement. They cite the sporadic and infrequent sponsorship for new music at STSI and other festivals and the only one or two evenings devoted to experimental performances at the PKB as responsible for low audience appreciation. If audiences had


regular and sustained exposure to experimentalism, as they do with kreasi baru, then it would become more widely understood, appreciated, and patronized. Generally, Balinese composers of musik kontemporer resemble those of Romantic era Europe in their concern over musical meaning. Many Balinese composers want their instrumental music to speak “directly and immediately to the listener’s imagination” (Muxfeldt 2003:258), and many are averse to describing for the audience their compositional intent in literary accompaniments to performances. However others, such as Erawan, fearing dwindling audiences have championed the use of explanatory notes to help socialize musik kontemporer.

Disconnection Many older composers and performers have pointed to the fact that almost all recent kreasi baru and student works have been performed only once or twice as proof of an absence of artistic quality and a lack of communication between modern composers and audiences. Most detractors suggest that many new works are not singable or are too complicated to disseminate out of the academy and festival setting and into the villages. Some composers (Asnawa, Yudane, and Sadra) suggested an analogous relationship to the unpopularity of Euro-American concert music among mass audiences beginning in the early half of the 20th century. As Schoenberg and others took chromaticism to its logical limit in dodecaphonic and a-tonal writing, much concert music became increasingly complicated or abstract and audiences gradually withered.111 Some Balinese observers worry aloud that as young composers become increasingly interested in extended playing techniques, experimental forms, the use of multiple modes, frequent modulations, and poly-modal


Although change in musical style was only one of a myriad of factors contributing to changing audiences in the first half of the twentieth century in the West.


writing, Balinese audiences will similarly become alienated and disconnected from their own culture. According to I Wayan Dibia: “Lately the compositions have been so difficult. Almost impossible for the average village group to play, and so many of these pieces just die after the first performance. It takes these all-star groups of highly trained players to pull them off in concert. We need music that better fits the needs and desires of the community” (I Wayan Dibia, personal communication, September 2001). Some younger composers have responded that while the audience is important, that appealing to a mass audience, or a kind of lowest common denominator listener or amateur performer, is not their aim. If the works are too complicated, virtuosic or advanced for the average village neighborhood group to throw together for a local festival, then so be it. For these composers the works performed at the arts center are in part meant to showcase the high level of playing and compositional skill of the island’s best artists.

PATRONS I Wayan Sadra has defined musik kontemporer as that music which must be paid for by its creator. Only a few organizations support the creation of musik kontemporer outside of the academy and festival. During my research the Kelola foundation (funded primarily by the Ford Foundation), located first in Solo and then in Jakarta was the largest Indonesian nonprofit arts organization, providing a few grants each year for the creation and performance of new musik kontemporer works with an average grant of $2200. A talented and hard working student may be lucky to get one of these grants after graduation but beyond this there are few ways for him to support his or her experimental creative expressions on his own. The primary patrons for new Balinese music are festivals, foreign granting institutions, and the academy.


The Bali Arts Festival (Pesta Kesenian Bali-PKB) History After ISI the second most significant regular supporter, patron, and venue for experimental music in Bali is the annual Bali Arts Festival, held for thirty days beginning in mid June at the large Taman Budaya Cultural Center in Denpasar just to the south of the ISI campus. The festival, held since 1979 (a year that in many ways serves as the beginning of musik kontemporer in Bali), showcases primarily traditional arts but also hosts performances of experimental music and dance. The PKB is always opened by a high-ranking government official. In the past this has included Balinese governors, heads of the department of culture, and presidents. In these opening addresses the cultural and arts policies which inform the development of the festival and its program are revealed. In the opening address of the first festival in 1979 Bali governor Dr. Ida Bagus Mantra suggested that while a culture could “never remain static, the festival should try to develop the existing culture and revitalize it to fulfill its function in modern life” (PKB 1989). In 1981 the Minister of Social Welfare, Surono, suggested in his opening address that the festival was based in principle upon the idea of cooperation, and hoped that “local artists would work to aid the government’s development efforts, in contrast to overseas where art was for art’s sake” (ibid). The opening address often stresses government cultural policies and propaganda campaigns and reflects the festival’s primary emphasis as an instrument to implement the government’s cultural policies, that is, art in the service of the government and broader society.


Setting PKB performances and events are spread throughout the several venues in the large Taman Budaya park. Music and dance events take place in the Wantilan, the second floor auditorium of the large Ksirarnawa building, at the several small open amphitheaters, and at the very large stadium-styled Ardha Candra stage. Selected events are also held at the Natya Mandala auditorium on the ISI campus. The large Ardha Candra stage has played a major role in the development of the colossal sendratari dance drama, in which up to 100 dancers perform on stage at once. It is also on this large stage that the most popular events, the kebyar kreasi baru contests, are held. Traditional ensembles are the standard fare at the PKB and to be considered by the committee to perform at the event marks a significant achievement for traditional performing groups, who are theoretically paid by the committee for rehearsals, preparation and final performance. 112 Experimental music and dance events are almost always held in the Ksirarnawa theater. The majority of the performances are traditional, or “new-traditional.” The gong kebyar contests are the most popular events, involving sold-out stadium shows (causing nightmarish traffic congestion), intense television and radio coverage and hotly debated contest results. According to I Nyoman Sumandhi, a dalang and member of the SMKI faculty, it was suggested during preliminary planning that the PKB be held either every year, every other

Corruption is rampant within the Taman Budaya bureaucracy and especially within the organizing committee of the PKB. Musicians, after not being compensated for performances which they may have spent months preparing for, are often told by the organizers that to perform in the festival is an act of ngayah, a term used to describe obligatory non-compensated performances at temple ceremonies. This is an especially arrogant maneuver as all participating performers are aware that the festival organizers receive hundreds of thousands of dollars by the central and local governments for the festival. For a festival of new music as part of the 2003 PKB organizers had allocated nearly $6000 for two evenings of performances. I estimated that only 1/10th of that amount was given to the performers. Several young composers have talked at length about ways in which to develop their own festivals or to boycott the PKB, with as yet no results.


year, or every four years. “For an artist [every two or four years] is too infrequent but for a composer it is very difficult to make good music every year. But if you organize it, composers can do it – although they complain, of course” (in Hough 2000:304). The issue of the frequency of the PKB, and the need to create new works every year has become central to Balinese discussions concerning the rate of musical change and development over the past two and one half decades. Sinti, for example, complains that the demand to create new works each year is too taxing on both tradition and the composer, and too frequently results in music which is not of the highest quality. Younger composers such as Subandi, however, complain that they are only given a single opportunity per year (at the PKB) to create major new works. The PKB is a point of representation, a site in which Bali projects itself to the outside world and to the Balinese themselves. This representation is formulated in terms of a dichotomy between classical or traditional forms and new forms. Classical and traditional forms perfected by the experts in the academy ostensibly represent the authentic, original Bali, while new music, exhibiting sometimes non-traditional values, foreign influences, academic and rationalized conceptualizing, and a focus on the individual represents a more inauthentic Indonesianized middle class Balinese identity. The Bali Arts Festival is at once a regional, national, and global event and there are influences and pressures on the organizers to represent all three of these cultural and political realms. Generally, local culture is highlighted over national forms (there are very often performances of Javanese, Sumatran and other regional forms), and national forms are highlighted over global or foreign forms. Much of the rhetoric in printed material and in the omnipresent speeches and welcoming announcements at the PKB appeals to the development and integration of national culture.


Official Rhetoric: Tradition and Innovation at the PKB According to the official rhetoric of the PKB organizers (see PKB 1989) the festival is seen to serve three primary functions:
The Bali Arts Festival represents the crystallization of the efforts to excavate, develop, and create the Balinese traditional arts. (PKB 1989:28)

The notion of the development (pengembangan) of tradition plays a major role in the conception of the function of the PKB as discussed in chapter two. Almost everything presented at the festival is framed within the context of tradition – either being an ancient source of tradition, a living and developing tradition, or a new example of tradition. In this way it is clear that forms that are advertised as, or are conceived of as being anti-tradition are viewed as an anathema to the politics of the PKB organizers. The organizers also stress the importance of demonstrating within the PKB the role and place of Balinese regional culture within the modern Indonesian nation-state: “the creation and development of culture in Bali is not independent from the creation and development of national culture as a whole” (ibid:2). These rhetorics suggest that new works in Bali must be aesthetically based on the national guiding philosophy:
. . . the Bali Arts Festival should stimulate and develop new creations and the activities of culture and art that do not conflict with an ethnic identity that is based on the philosophy of Pancasila. (ibid)

Such rhetorics would seem to outlaw the incorporation and patronage of expressions that wholly reject or radically transform indigenous cultural materials as this would theoretically conflict with the philosophy of Pancasila. Indeed, such types of expressions are occasionally


barred from inclusion within the festival, as was the case with Yudane’s earlier musical experiments. Some composers noted that audiences for the evenings of new music were historically not receptive and occasionally outright hostile. Some composers suggested that this was because the events were not properly advertised, and that programs were not made available to explain the form and conception of the works. The PKB committee generally acts to give the audience what they want, rather than forcefully giving them what some think they may “need.” This is partly because the festival also functions as a venue for shops, crafts markets, and other types of businesses that depend upon large and interested audiences in order to maximize profit. While many composers, ISI faculty, and even PKB committee members may want to provide more venues and opportunities for the “excavation” of esoteric classical forms or the presentation of experimental music, the practical economic demands of businesses generally win out during the planning stage. PKB organizing committees have acknowledged the substantial interest in experimentalism by performers and composers, while suggesting that there is not enough funding to actively support it, and recommending that musicians and dancers look elsewhere for financial support (ibid:30). Unlike the tabuh kreasi or gong kebyar performances, experimental or musik kontemporer performances at the PKB are notable for the apparent lack of competition between composers or groups. In these performances there is not the stress on appearance (penampilan) or style (gaya) which seem to so much define the performances on the large stage, attracting large crowds partly because of the very competitive stance of the performers. In the more intimate settings of musik kontemporer performances, the stress is on musical ingenuity and surprise through the presentation of new, novel, or even shocking innovations.


The PKB and the cultural policies guiding its development are in many ways paradoxical. On the one hand, the festival is primarily intended to support local culture, and to strengthen it against foreign influence (Dibia 2001:12), and yet it is an arena in which artists are able to interact globally by working with foreign composers and artists, and assert themselves globally, by performing for tourists and foreign performing groups. Some, such as Dibia, have attempted to reclaim the PKB as an extension of Balinese traditional events, such as the odalan ceremony.113 The festival is primarily involved in the “excavation, preservation, revitalization, and promotion of culture, as well as for the strengthening of ethnic pride” (Dibia 2001:12). Expressions that cannot be immediately identified as ethnically Balinese, for instance music by Balinese artists that completely eschews, or even apparently disregards Balinese traditional forms, is not likely to be sponsored by the arts festival. The kebyar competitions are the central event of the PKB, and the final performers are drawn from yearly island-wide gong kebyar competitions which precede the PKB. Since 1982 the list of works presented by each group has only occasionally deviated, with each presenting two instrumental works: a kreasi lelambatan, or an innovative ritual work, and a tabuh kreasi (kreasi baru). Other performance requirements include a new work for voice and gamelan (sandhya gita) and a new dance (kreasi tari).114 It is the tabuh kreasi which composers primarily focus their creative energies upon. Recent developments in tabuh kreasi includes the use of non-kebyar instruments, such as the terbang frame drum, hand-held

Odalan are annual or biannual temple ceremonies which vary in size and importance. Live gamelan music and dance are always a feature of odalan, as often are wayang and other events. 114 Although recently kreasi tari has been eclipsed by the production of larger fragmen [fragment] sendratari, large works choreographed for many dancers. In 2004 the committee, in an unusual move, required that groups perform a previously existing tabuh kreasi, but one that was not less than five years old. This move annoyed several of the active composers of tabuh kreasi. The committee defended its actions by suggesting that through repetition it was helping to ingrain and canon-ize successful tabuh kreasi which typically are forgotten after the festival season.


angklung rattles, large ceng-ceng kopyak cymbals or even such experimental “instruments” as large pieces of sheet metal (as in Sue’s Mangrove for the 2000 PKB). Therefore the line between what would have been considered musik kontemporer, and relegated to the smaller Ksirarnawa theater in previous years, and those works acceptable for inclusion under the tabuh kreasi classification has become blurred. Kreasi baru performances cater to crowds usually numbering 6000 and attest to the mainstream popularity of the form. Such developments demonstrate the practical outcomes of the rhetoric encountered at STSI and within the student’s skripsis (theses) suggesting that kontemporer works, rather than aiming to divorce themselves from Balinese “new traditional” works are actually meant to ‘enrich’ more mainstream forms such as tabuh kreasi, and that kontemporer in this way are meant to represent “the future of traditional gamelan.” Wayan Yudane has called musik kontemporer the “future cars” of tabuh kreasi: “someday we’ll all be listening to something like this” (personal communication, I Wayan Yudane, September 2001).

Other non-Academic Festivals and Patrons The growth in patronage for experimental music in Indonesia in the late 20th century was intimately connected to the changing political and economic conditions in Indonesia during the height of Suharto’s New Order regime and the reformasi era. The late 1960s and mid 1970s saw a major oil boom, unprecedented exploitation of natural resources, foreign investment, and huge international loans. The New Order’s new expendable income led to the development of expendable art forms. There was suddenly more funding for arts within central and local governmental, semi-governmental, and private institutions. This was generally the trend for many East and Southeast Asian countries during the late 1970s through the mid 1990s. For composers in other countries the Asian Composers’ League


served as a scene in which composers could interact, share ideas, and review performances of new works. However, because most composers affiliated with the Asian Composers League work in Western rather than traditional idioms, most traditionally trained Balinese composers are not aligned with or associated with the organization. Instead, a series of local festivals (sponsored in Bali primarily by LISTIBYA115) and seminars such as the Pekan Komponis Muda (Young Composer’s Week) geared towards composers working in regional forms were developed in the mid to late 1970s. Electronic and print media expanded, functioning to disseminate reviews and information about new music. In Bali, the spread of kreasi baru was greatly aided by the expansion of local radio and cassette industries. Musik kontemporer has never received the media attention kreasi baru has, although this is gradually changing. RRI (Radio Republik Indonesia) began broadcasting in 1950 in both Singaraja and Denpasar (Tenzer 2000:106), but it was not until the 1960s, when more Balinese could afford to purchase radios, that the station began to develop a larger audience. Listeners from around the island tuned in to the daily 6:30 am Acara Karawitan (karawitan broadcast), a show which greatly helped to popularize I Wayan Beratha’s kreasi baru after the 1968-69 Festival Gong (ibid). Each year the competing and winning kreasi baru and tabuh lelambatan have


Upon taking power Suharto outlawed the affiliation of cultural institutions with political parties. LISTIBYA was formed in 1966 and was originally populated by members of the former LKN. The institution practically continued LKN support of the creation and fostering of “People’s Culture.” In 1968, 1969, 1978 and yearly since 1982 LISTIBYA (Majelis Pertimbangan dan Pembinaan Kebudayaan, Arts Evaluation and Cultivation Board) has sponsored the Festival Gong Kebyar which precedes the PKB. Participating groups are selected by local arts councils from each district, sometimes by reputation, although occasionally local arts councils select lesser known groups in order that they share the spotlight and to encourage younger groups to develop. Chosen groups are given financial support by the regional government in order to prepare new and traditional compositions and dances. The finalists from this festival are typically chosen to represent the district at the annual PKB performances in June-July.


been mainstays of the station’s karawitan broadcasts, as well as traditional music and theater forms, primarily arja.116 In the 1990s the popularity of the station waned as televisions became more affordable and the TVRI-Denpasar station began broadcasting from its studios in Renon, south Denpasar. TVRI regularly broadcasts footage from the PKB as well as masters level ujian recitals both live and in repeat broadcasts throughout the year. During my research experimental performances, especially those hybrid works by the American Sekar Jaya and the composer Michael Tenzer were regularly aired. Bali TV, a smaller station devoted solely to Balinese cultural programming, airs PKB, ujian, and local ritual performances on a nightly basis. Since 1968 cassettes of traditional music have been produced in Bali for local consumption. Bali Stereo and Maharani are the two largest cassette companies currently active in Bali today, together forming a catalogue of over 2000 releases (Tenzer 2000:107). Composers and coaches today frequently learn repertoire from cassettes and dancers often practice to specially made (usually by STSI) “practice dance” tapes.117 Regional and traditional forms are also studied in this way by many musicians. The most popular items are the yearly gong kebyar tabuh kreasi works and the many tape outlets around the island always feature the latest works from annual festivals. Festival winners can demand significant commissions from recordings. In the early 1990s commissions rose to 2 million rupiah for a performance, by 2002 I Nyoman Windha was demanding 10 million rupiah

Certain composers including Sadra maintain that “applause tracks” were frequently inserted into radio broadcast recordings of Beratha’s and KOKAR’s gong kebyar recordings of the 1970’s as a way to increase their popularity. Inserted into the pauses in opening kebyar phrases the manufactured applause was meant to suggest that the recordings were live broadcasts and that the works were received with wild enthusiasm. I was not able to corroborate such a controversial claim. RRI suggests that the early recordings have been lost and Beratha and those closest to him deny such claims. 117 STSI recordings of traditional dance and ceremonial music (semar pegulingan, gong gede, etc) are typically considered the “definitive” versions and help to spread STSI’s musical hegemony around the island.


(approximately $1,000) for his adventurous kreasi baru. Funds derived from recording commissions are typically divided among the players, composers, and others involved in the management of the ensemble, with the composer taking the highest percentage. This is a single fee however, as copyright is not established in Bali and performers and composers do not expect to receive royalties. Recordings of self-consciously academic musik kontemporer works have only recently entered the catalogue of the larger cassette companies. Composers such as Yudane and Sadra often self produce recordings and sell them at local cassette shops.118 Sadra’s self-produced CD’s circulate through a kind of underground music trading network that is limited to a small community of composers and connoisseurs. Other recordings, such as those by the Ubud based Planet Bamboo ensemble, are popular among tourists, but only occasionally have any direct influence on the ISI affiliated crowd of experimental composers.119


Some of these recordings, such as Yudane’s 1992 Water Music, have met with some success selling in shops that cater to tourists in the Ubud area. 119 Planet Bamboo is a “new age” ensemble that often bills itself as a “musik kontemporer” group, a label more serious Balinese musicians and composers dismiss. It is interesting to note that while the musik kontemporer scene is definitely amorphous, small, porous, and ambiguous, it does nevertheless have its insiders and outsiders, poseurs and experts.


Academic Festivals The Pekan Komponis Muda

“To our young composers, We praise your continued struggle. Your fight will soon be appreciated by the peoples of Indonesia! Amen.” -Iravati Sudiarso, Head of the Jakarta Arts Council, addressing the PKM, Jakarta, May 1986.

Beginning in the late 1970s and continuing until the mid 1980s the events sponsored by TIM (Taman Ismail Marzuki) Jakarta and the organizations under its stewardship played a central role in the development of the first generation of modern Balinese experimental works. TIM was opened in 1968 by the governor of Jakarta. The center houses several institutions including: Akademi Jakarta (Jakarta Academy), Pusat Kesenian Jakarta (Jakarta Arts Center), DKJ (Dewan Kesenian Jakarta – The Jakarta Arts Council), and IKJ (Institut Kesenian Jakarta – The Jakarta Arts Institute). In 1979 the DKJ initiated the annual Pekan Komponis Muda (Young Composers’ Week--PKM) and Pekan Tari Muda (Young Choreographers’ Week--PTM), which were designed, with the initiative of organizer Suka Hardjana, as festivals rather than competitions. These festivals encouraged the participation of both western-trained composers as well as those working in traditional ethnic music backgrounds. Balinese composers including Asnawa, Astita, Windha, Rai, Sukerta, Lasmawan, and Sadra among others participated yearly in these events. In Suka Hardjana’s (1986) compilation of the proceedings and notes of six years of PKM meetings120, the director of the Jakarta Arts Council (DKJ) expressed the hope that the meetings have served to “develop” composers “and allow them to flourish in a form that can forcefully break through the thick walls which have bound composers for so long” (Hardjana 1986:v).

I provide a partial translation of Hardjana’s compilation in Appendix D.


As noted by the head of the Jakarta Arts Institute, the PKM was intended for those “young composers who have moved beyond traditional forms” (Hardjana 1986:12). The aim was to inspire composers to explore personal expression and to think more rationally and critically about the composition process. Critical discussion sessions followed each performance with composers and musicians making suggestions, asking questions, and providing explanations. The types and forms of music ranged widely in the PKM performances, from the gamelan compositions from ASKI Solo and ASTI Denpasar to the radically experimental electronic works by Jakartan composers Franki Raden and Otto Sidartha. PKM commissions typically came to schools where the director would then pick an individual composer and group of performers to attend. After being held eight times, government funding ended and the festival was held sporadically with private funding. The festival was not active during my research. According to Hardjana, the festival was designed as a forum to sponsor the individual composer in creating “pure art,” divorced from political uses. The forum arose out of discussions about Indonesia’s cultural past and future and its relationship to Western artistic and philosophical trends. According to Hardjana:

By the mid 70’s this tragic polemic of traditional versus modern had started up again, it really had never ended since the 1930s. The issue, what is modernism? I was asked at that time, “what is modern Indonesian music?” I couldn’t answer the question because the understanding and meaning of the term ‘modern music’ in the West is settled, and represents a certain history and consensus. Modern music in the West has a specific history and meaning – a history from Stravinsky, Bartok, Schoenberg, to Cage to Reich, today’s composers. But what is modernism in Indonesia? (We weren’t using the term kontemporer at that time.) For me the term modern was only for there, the West, because it represents a certain history. But it’s difficult to define what Indonesian music is, much less Indonesian ‘modern music.’ Somehow it should be something that connects us all, like contemporary Indonesian language, Bahasa Indonesia. But I couldn’t think of any examples. I rejected popular music, because our popular music has since the 1930s been very American. (At that time we didn’t yet have dangdut – real Indonesian pop.) I rejected our traditional music because it was regional and we called it‘ musik daerah,’ at the time which was rather a pejorative term, certainly not modern. Anything termed ‘Indonesian’ was considered modern. Just then we opened these


festivals, the PKM and the PKT with Sardono [Kusomo] and Sal Murgianto. (Suka Hardjana, personal communication, August 2003)

Hardjana studied Western music extensively in Yogyakarta, Germany, and America and is a professional clarinetist, with very limited experience performing Javanese gamelan. While, as the organizer of the PKM, he sensitively worked with regional composers, their traditions, and aesthetics, Hardjana’s aesthetics and approaches in the design of the PKM festival was rooted in his interpretation of Western modernism. Hardjana’s idealization of the purity of Western arts and artistic development, a view which conveniently coincided with New Order efforts to de-politicize the performing arts, lead to the specific shape of the PKM festival and the works presented within it. Hardjana expresses this clearly:

Here [in Indonesia] politics constantly influences artistic discourse. This is the fundamental difference between us and Westerners. In the West art is art, an independent expression, independent from other factors like economics, politics, religion etc. But here we only have ‘arts-in-context’ – ritual, social, cultural context. It is not yet free. If we look to the West we see the performance of Brahms or Beethoven or Cage on the concert stage, art for art’s sake. It’s not ritual, it’s independent, and it’s professional. Here, we can’t yet do this. We don’t really have independent arts. The strong meanings and connections of our ritual arts had have been claimed and manipulated by politics, especially in the idea of creating “Indonesia.”

Hardjana overlooks Western music’s very political history and ritual capacity. Indonesian traditional musics have to a certain extent been divorced from their ritual contexts as those traditional rituals lose meaning and veracity for contemporary Indonesians, being replaced by modern (sometimes westernized) forms of culture and ritual. Composers participating in the PKM came from various backgrounds: folk, traditional, classical Western, and experimental. Hardjana required that the compositions presented at the festival be completely new, have a definable “concept” and have a “new meaning” (ibid). Prior to the yearly festivals, Hardjana would travel from Sumatra to Bali discussing with composers the issues, needs, and requests in the development of festival format, compositions, and panels. He actively encouraged composers working in traditional


idioms to develop their ideas further, and often, but abstractly, towards the Western models which formed the core of Hardjana’s musical experience:

From the first year I saw that we had to work to make changes and developments to traditional forms and structures. There must be reinterpretation. Traditional gamelan had already been perfected; it is an analog to classical music in the West. So, for the PKM there had to be a vision and a goal of creating something different. In the first year we had Supanggah’s reinterpretation of sinom, Sri Hastanto’s reinterpretation of gambuh, Pande Sukerta’s reinterpretation of kebyar. We created many variations, many violations of rules. (ibid)

Hardjana’s normalizing value judgments of Indonesian and Western culture provides a glimpse into his philosophy in the creation of the PKM. His rhetoric begs the question: to what extent was Hardjana attempting to simply raise the level of composition and discourse in Indonesia, versus attempting to intellectually Westernize Indonesian composers? In many cases Western aesthetics and concepts made there way into the form of Indonesian experimentalism through Hardjana’s development of festival formats. Both Hardjana’s Westernized aesthetics and Indonesia’s rocky economy contributed to shape the form of the third PKM meetings. According to Hardjana:

During the planning for the third meeting, there was an economic recession. 3000 rp became 1000 rp. We didn’t have enough money and the festival was almost cancelled. But I thought we needed to try to find a way, otherwise, it would be difficult to restart it. So, my thoughts went again to Western music, chamber music specifically. Indonesia needed to develop its chamber music forms. The term chamber music, or musik ruang, kamar, was not yet known in Indonesia, but we did have a few examples of it. Javanese and Balinese music is dominated by the large ensembles, but away from the courts you find smaller, more flexible ensembles, even in the gamelan traditions, like in Sunda where you only have five or eight players. I wanted to develop this form of expression. The chamber ensemble is a very individualistic form of expression. The characters of the individual players is very clear. The playing technique of all players must be very high. (ibid)

After the third PKM the term musik ruang [lit. music room, or chamber music] began to circulate among schools and composers in Indonesia. This resulted in the development of, among other works, Ketut Suryatini’s Irama Hidup. In this case a small ensemble (gender wayang) used for accompanying Balinese wayang shadow puppet performances was


expanded to fit the instrumental conventions of Western chamber music, in which each of the instruments played a roughly equal role. Here we see Hardjana’s appeal to Western musical and social/political ideals (democracy versus feudalism, horizontal versus hierarchical orchestration, individual versus group) in his development of the guidelines to the PKM festival. Furthermore, Hardjana strove to aestheticize the works brought to the festival:

For Ketut [Suryatini’s] work I didn’t want ‘gender wayang.’ I wanted the instruments to be freed from their ritual context. I didn’t want to present an image of that music performed in the rice fields or in the village. But a modern ensemble of eight players playing music on the modern concert stage. Something that would have been impossible in Bali at the time. (ibid)

Through his influence in creating the format of the compositions performed at the PKM, Hardjana, with good intentions, worked to further peel away Balinese performing arts from their exclusively ritual contexts, helping turn them into abstract expression, rather than ritualistic, functional sound. However, Balinese artists simultaneously worked in creative ways to re-insert religious, philosophical and ritual meanings and symbolism into the works composed for the PKM through the incorporation of abstract themes and narratives. In 1983 the Balinese composer I Ketut Asnawa, at that time a student at ASTI, composed the work Kosong for the PKM. His reflections on the experience illustrate the representational politics involved. Rather than necessarily being the personal expression of an independent composer, Kosong was more of a communal effort of the campus, with then ASTI director I Made Bandem overseeing rehearsals, providing suggestions, and making changes--going so far as to change the work’s original title in order to make it more palatable to a Jakartan audience. According to Asnawa.

Because we were young, we were expected to be experimental. They were trying to get us to establish new composition processes. We Balinese realized that for us, from outside Jakarta, the metropolitan area, everything would be new, modern, overwhelming, so we had to show up with something surprising. In Jakarta you can do whatever you want, it doesn’t bother people. But, it wasn’t the right time or place to do that here, in Bali. In Jakarta, we took all


traditions, mixed them and looked at them in a new way. It was very experimental for the Balinese. (I Ketut Gede Asnawa, personal communication, September 2001)

The PKM provided a cultural space in which Balinese artists were encouraged to explore the boundaries of their composition skills and ideas. Furthermore, it represented a venue in which Balinese composers could come into intellectual and artistic contact with the different styles and ideas of other Indonesian (primarily Javanese and Sumatran) composers.

Post PKM Festivals at STSI Denpasar Beginning in the late 1970s the state-run conservatories began hosting regular art festivals, festival seni, in which representatives from each of the major conservatories throughout Indonesia converged on a chosen campus for performances, workshops, and lecture/discussions. Between 1980-1984 the expanded festival seni, modeled on earlier workshops and events at ASKI Solo (see chapter four) were held at various campuses in Indonesia and included participants from ASTI Denpasar, ASKI Surakarta, ASTI, AMI (later ISI) and STSRI Yogyakarta, ASTI Bandung, and ASKI Padang Panjang.121 In 1991 STSI Denpasar held the Festival Musik Masa Kini (Festival of Contemporary Music) in which faculty, alumnae, students, and guest artists performed new and experimental works. Several composers attending this festival experimented with electronic music and innovative musical instruments. The Balinese composer I Wayan Yudane created a work that caused an uproar in the Balinese music scene and beyond:
[STSI] picked musik kontemporer works, and because I was really the only person seriously doing musik kontemporer at that time, my works were picked again. After this festival the criticism from the papers really started. My name began to spread because of all of the critical

After 1985 the festivals were stopped because the funding organization, Proyek Pengembangan IKI (the Project for Tertiary Institution Development) was discontinued (Rustopo 1988:41).


press about the Musik Masa Kini festival. All of the traditional elite said my work was “depraved, vulgar, rough and degrading to the arts.” This is because at that time I took it really far, I threw rocks at a gong. But I really practiced throwing rocks at a gong, and underneath the gong I placed a lot of gamelan keys, the rocks would bounce and ring among the keys. I really worked on the composition. (I Wayan Yudane, personal communication January 2001)

Foreign Patronage The Musik Masa Kini festival was likely precipitated by foreign influence, specifically the 1989 Balinese New Music Commissioning Project initiated by the University of California Pacific Rim Research Team. The project commissioned works by three STSI faculty: I Wayan Rai, I Komang Astita, and I Wayan Suweca. In 1990 Elaine Barkin and Linda Burman Hall, UCLA music faculty, oversaw the final rehearsals and recording process.122 Other foreign forms of patronage include the American gamelan Sekar Jaya which has commissioned new tabuh kreasi and collaborative experimental music, dance, theater, and shadow puppetry since 1986. Several smaller institutions and university programs have sponsored composers (primarily Yudane and Windha) in Europe (France and Germany), Australia, and New Zealand. The major 1986 International Gamelan Festival in Vancouver was a four-day event which included several papers and presentations on new music for gamelan in Indonesia and North America and included several performances of new Indonesian music, including Asnawa’s Kosong, and Pande Sukerta’s Asanawali.


Foreign recordings which feature musik kontemporer works are rare but include the 1999 Living Art, Sounding Spirit: The Bali Sessions, produced by Mickey Hart (with new works by Suweca, Windha, and Sugiartha) and the Jody Diamond and Larry Polansky produced recordings New Music Indonesia (Lyrichord) which featured new works by Sadra and Sukerta.


The American Ford Foundation funds new artistic work in Bali both through direct grants to composers (such as that for Yudane in 2000 and 2001), groups (such as its regular support of the Cudamani ensemble in Ubud) and indirectly by funding the Kelola foundation which provides small grants to composers creating new works (such as that provided to Subandi in 2004). Foreign support, though often locally mediated and managed, plays a significant role in funding and generating interest in experimentalism and new forms in Indonesia.123

ASTI/STSI/ISI Denpasar124 The primary and most important supporters of musical experimentalism in Indonesia are the state funded and directed conservatories, the STSIs, ASTIs, ASKIs, KOKARs, ISIs, and other governmental and semi-governmental bodies with which these schools maintain connections. In Bali nearly all of the composers who have been involved in modern experimentation and musik kontemporer are either faculty or graduates of STSI Denpasar. Campus events such as the student recitals, the Dies Natalis (anniversary) presentations, workshops, and composition courses provide the primary arenas for the composition and development of experimental music. In this section I discuss the rather convoluted history and structure of the Balinese Conservatory of the Arts, ISI. I begin with the proviso that while ISI, its curriculum and faculty are enormously influential, probably the most influential body involved in shaping the form of Balinese new music, no one individual or institution has the power to completely authorize or shape Balinese culture.

Besides American funding, Indonesian composers also receive funding and opportunities from the British Council, The Japan Foundation and the Dutch Erasmus Huis among other sources. 124 The institution has changed names and rank several times. During most of my research it was STSI, later upgraded in late 2003 to an ISI. When referring to the school I employ the name it carried during the events I describe occurred.


STSIs, ASKIs ASTIs, and ISIs, as tertiary level institutions are bound by the governmental policy/philosophy of Tri Dharma Perguruan Tinggi (the three duties of higher education): research, education, and community service.125 These institutions, while ostensibly institutes of higher education, are in reality primarily bureaucratic bodies. Faculty and staff are governmental civil servants and often to an outsider it can seem that more time is spent developing forms, reports, proposals, and research projects to be sent to Jakarta than educating the student body.126 ISI is the primary arts institution on the island and the “ISI style,” largely comprised of village forms found in Denpasar, Badung, where ISI is located, now dominates the current performing style throughout the island. The school is bound by its guidelines to “contribute to national development through the development of culture” (translated in Hough 2000:113). Its primary function has been to foster and preserve

(melestarikan) Balinese traditional forms.

History KOKAR, the forerunner of ASTI (later renamed STSI, and now ISI) was founded in 1963 before the abortive coup. Before the failed coup and the massacres that followed, many Balinese gamelan clubs and most performers aligned themselves with either the PKI (communist) or the PNI (nationalist) parties. Many groups that were associated with the PKI were destroyed after the failed coup, their members killed, and their instruments burned. Ornstein (1971) describes the massacre of a famous group and composer from the North during the killings.

The leader of the Kedis Kadja orchestra, a man named Merdana, was a talented composer who employed instrumental techniques that are a distinctive contribution to the modern kebjar
125 126

Dharma Penelitian, Dharma Pendidikan, Dharma Pengabdian pada Masyrakat. Of course, the same could be said of many schools in America as well.


[sic] style… The inhabitants of Kedis Kadja were known to be PKI members or sympathizers. During the purges that followed the coup, Merdana and other club members were killed; their gamelan instruments were burned. A major contributor to musical life in Bali had vanished. (Ornstein 1971:53).

It was out of this violent socio-political scene that the cultural policies of KOKAR and later ASTI/STSI/ISI developed. In the post-coup environment many artists were concerned that some Balinese performing arts (especially endangered classical forms) might disappear altogether. It was thought that training young students in classical forms was paramount, lest it be ‘too late.’127 As an authoritative cultural institution, KOKAR was founded with a perceived moral mandate to intervene into the performing arts scene in order to reverse perceived cultural decline due to colonialism, political violence, and Westernization. KOKAR provided primarily a practical conservatory style education. Many Balinese intellectuals and musicians including Dr. Djelantik, Nyoman Rembang, Gusti Ngurah Pinda and Dr. Moerdowo felt that there needed to also be an institution that developed the arts along “modern” lines, where students would be trained to think scientifically and systematically and where they would receive a more well-rounded academic background (Hough 2000:118). In 1967 ASTI Denpasar was founded, based upon ASTI Yogyakarta and ASKI Solo, from which it borrowed its original curriculum. Nyoman Pandji was given directorship of the new school. Due to internal restructuring in the department of Education and Culture, in 1976 tertiary arts institutions were transferred from the control and oversight of the Directorate General of Culture to the Directorate General of Education. This change was reflected by the transformation from a conservatory style system to a university style system


Later, when the tourist industry was revived in the 1970’s, the dominating rhetoric of preservation at KOKAR continued; but with a shift of focus, suggesting that the Balinese classical arts needed to be preserved from the deleterious influences of tourism.


of education, a transition which impacted the content and structure of curriculum, the focus of the school and the way in which it was funded. Although ASTI was primarily a dance institution by name, music was also taught. In 1973 a karawitan department was officially established and in 1974 a pedalangan (shadow puppet theater) department was added. In 1981 I Made Bandem returned from doctoral studies at Wesleyan University and was appointed the school’s second ketua (director). The energetic Bandem instituted many changes at the school and in the Balinese cultural landscape in general. By 1983 the school was able to offer Seniman Setingkat Sarjana degrees, equivalent of a BA, whereas previously students had to study in Yogyakarta towards this degree. In 1988 ASTI was upgraded to a college (Sekolah Tinggi, STSI) in response to the many changes and developments in curriculum and facilities which Bandem initiated. In 1988 a Fine Arts Department (Jurusan Seni Rupa) was added, divided into both carving (seni kriya) and painting (seni lukis). During my research the school was upgraded to the highest tertiary level institute, ISI (Institut Seni Indonesia, Indonesian Institute of the Arts), theoretically allowing it to expand to include departments of film, television, theater, ethnomusicology, and western music. For musicians, the most important areas of campus are the Natya Mandala Auditorium and the Lata Mahosadhi museum. Most rehearsals, final recitals, workshops, concerts, and some classes are held in the Natya Mandala space which houses a gamelan gong kebyar, gamelan gong gede saih pitu128 and saih lima, and a gamelan semar pegulingan saih pitu. The Lata Mahosadhi museum, officially opened in 1997, houses examples of every type of Balinese musical ensemble as well as those from Java, Sumatra and Lombok. Before


The seven-tone gong gede is an experimental ensemble. During my research the first two had been created in Denpasar. The orchestra is identical to a traditional gong gede except for the addition of all seven tones on every instrument.


this facility was constructed STSI housed fewer gamelan ensembles which were stored in buildings spread throughout the campus. Several students have commented that within this single new facility it is extremely convenient to experiment with ensemble mixtures, to find which tones match between different ensembles, to create wholly new laras and patetan by combining slendro and pélog pitches between differently tuned ensembles, and to create new orchestrations and timbres by mixing instruments from various ensembles. I will later demonstrate that it is partly due to the very presence and structure of the Lata Mahosadhi space that musical experimentalism within the karawitan department increased beginning in 1998, reaching its height in 2001-2004 when all graduating karawitan students opted for creating “konser” (instrumental) works rather than pairing with a graduating dance student and creating dance accompaniments. Significantly, the majority of these works featured combinations of ensembles that happened to be found on the same floor within the museum.

Administration The conservatory director (ketua) is the primary mediator between the institution and government bodies (Depdikbud, Pemda, Deppen, Depparpostal) and although his salary is comparatively small the position is coveted for the visibility, control, and opportunities to other sources of income that it provides. The director also has the opportunity to manage incoming recording, performance and tour contracts. The director is highly visible, frequently being asked to comment and speak as the authority on the Balinese performing arts on local and national television, and is often the first to be offered the opportunity to represent the school abroad. Finally, the director has great artistic control and can significantly shape the landscape of the performing arts in Bali. A director’s opinion of a composer, personal or


aesthetic, can decide if he or she receives commissions and whether or not his or her works are included in programs and touring set-lists. Observing the history of the relationship between composers and administration, in particular the STSI director, illuminates much about the history of innovation in Balinese music over the past 40 years. A strong composer-director alliance is key to the development and dissemination of new works. I Wayan Beratha was the primary composers and music instructor at the early KOKAR and ASTI institutions. Beratha maintained a close alliance with Panji, the artistic director of the school at the time. Panji insured that Beratha’s works were given first consideration when performance lists and commissions were being developed. The school, in its many local and abroad performances, regularly featured Beratha’s instrumental and dance works. Beratha’s works were featured prominently in local and foreign recording contracts. Students were regularly taught Beratha’s works, which were treated as a canon. When faculty and students participated in the mandatory KKN service, (Kuliah Kerja Nyata) in which members of the university teach and study in local village banjar, it was often Beratha’s works that were taught. By the mid 1970s Beratha’s works were known throughout the island. I do not mean to suggest here that Beratha is not truly brilliant, he is, or that the Balinese do not love his works based on their own musical merits, they do, but to propose that the administrative structure at KOKAR and ASTI facilitated and quickened the production and spread of these works throughout the island and abroad. During the 1980s a similar alliance, this time triangular, developed between director Made Bandem, his wife and dance faculty member Swasthi Bandem, and the faculty composer Nyoman Windha. In this case Windha served as a kind of court composer, providing the accompaniments to Swasthi’s dances, which then were popularized and disseminated via Bandem’s cultural and political capital. This alliance resulted in the now


standard dance works Cendrawasih, Tari Belibis, and Puspanjali, among others. These works, like Beratha’s, were featured in STSI programs and were eventually to become required repertoire for the PKB festivals. Bandem frequently replaced Beratha’s now standard version of the kebyar work Oleg Tambulilingan with Windha’s Cendrawasih.

Faculty and Faculty Duties Most of the faculty at ISI Denpasar are graduates of the institution. Some faculty are borrowed in from UNUD (Universitas Udayana in Denpasar), and others are graduates from sister institutions such as STSI Solo, or ISI Yogyakarta. This final group of professors typically teach their regional form of gamelan or dance. During my research four Javanese faculty taught full time in the school, two in the karawitan department. Beyond these four there are occasionally musicians from Sunda and Sumatra who teach sporadically, for the longest a semester at a time. The presence of faculty from other areas of Indonesia has had an influence on the production of new music at ISI Bali. Primarily these influences come from Javanese traditions discussed in the next chapter. As mandated by the Tri Dharma Tinggi declaration, research should be conducted on both an individual and collective basis at ISI Denpasar. For arts institutions in the Indonesian system this research can also include the creation of new art works, dances or music.129 According to Dibia (1997:6-7), by 1997 the college had created 210 collective performance pieces including both reconstructive works and wholly new works. Among these new works


The school also publishes group research projects (mostly descriptive accounts of village forms) and individual research projects as well as two regular publications: Mudra, a scholarly publication published bi-annually, and Wreta Cita a news magazine published bi-annually that includes information about the activities of the school, its faculty, and students.


were Astita’s Eka Dasa Rudra and Windha’s colossal Tali Keragaman.130 Other achievements include the development of new ensembles and experimental works such as the Adi Merdangga marching band which represents essentially an augmentation and modernization of the beleganjur form. Often performances of new and experimental music are categorized as research projects and are showcased at the annual Dies Natalis activities just before graduation. By 1997 STSI, in association with KOKAR, had created at least thirty large sendratari for the Bali Arts Festival. STSI excels at creating large-scale projects and has created several spectacular productions intended to highlight Indonesia’s cultural diversity. These productions, intended both for tourists and Indonesians, were performed frequently during the last two decades of the New Order. These often involved the creation of musical/dance medleys in which a variety of different traditional Indonesian forms were performed by Balinese dancers (imitating Javanese, Sumatran, and Irian dances) accompanied by music performed on a seven-tone semar pegulingan. These musical accompaniments were often directed by Nyoman Windha. During my research Windha was especially interested in inserting non-Balinese materials into his gong kebyar kreasi baru and musik kontemporer works (see the discussion of his Lekesan in chapter five) and it is undoubtedly his involvement in these projects which led to this development within his style. According to Desak Made Suarti Laksmi:
The idea behind these enormous pieces and the teaching of non-Balinese performing arts at STSI (the Javanese, Sundanese, Sumatran music and dance) was multiculturalism [multikulturalisasi]. This was an idea borrowed from America, intended to give people a sense of national culture. But in Bali we really just use this stuff as materials for our new creations on gamelan. It’s not just for tourists or propaganda. For the commissions from Jakarta, like Beautiful Indonesia, we would make a huge performance with Balinese gamelan, Javanese gamelan and we use talempong from Sumatra. These were new creations meant to


The many innovative student recital works were not included in Dibia’s list.


develop all of the cultures, to make a national culture, created by STSI. (Desak Made Suarti Laksmi, personal communication, September 1999)131

The production of large scale works which attempt to musically capture and represent several regional forms on traditional Balinese ensembles has had a major impact on the development of experimental forms in Indonesia, especially those works often called ‘musik nusantara’-- Indonesian musical hybrids. A central element of experimentalism in Bali involves the exploration of other Indonesian musical traditions, especially Javanese forms, a tendency I discuss in more detail in the following chapter. Like the PKB, ISI is caught in a rhetorical paradox. As an institution it is expected and interested in preserving those traditional forms that are emblematic of Balinese culture as it is represented to the world and to the Balinese themselves. As an arm of the modern Indonesian state ISI acts as an agent of modernity in Bali. The prevailing sentiment among many faculty and administration is that no institution or sanggar should be seen as being more modern than ISI. Yet conversely ISI also regards itself as the authoritative bearer and protector of tradition. This situation emerged as a result of the complex and contradictory cultural policies of the New Order discussed above. Although the New Order has long since dissolved these sentiments and paradoxes largely remain.

Pedagogy STSI Denpasar, like many governmental education institutions in Indonesia, bases its pedagogy upon the rote learning of material: music, dance, or material in textbooks, and typically the students’ unquestioning acceptance of this knowledge and the teacher’s methods

Other large scale performances in this vein have included the Rainbow of Indonesia or the Spirit of Indonesia performances which according to Dibia, were intended to “provide a general picture of the cultural diversity of Indonesia” (ibid).


is expected. Parker describes the quality of teaching in the Balinese public schools, saying that: “to Western eyes the absences of student-initiated learning, creative writing, alternative viewpoints and criticism, problem-solving and comprehension and questions that ask “why” is noticeable” (1992:101). Based on my experiences, this observation also applies to the style of learning and teaching at ISI as well. Most students are not critical, with the notable exception of the painting students, a matter I take up later in this discussion. According to Hough: “. . . the [STSI] system neither expects, facilitates nor rewards pedagogic innovation. The acquiescence of civil servants is thereby obtained by a combination of regulations and procedures, positive incentives and negative sanctions, and mundane compliance to bureaucratic dictates” (2000:385). While respectful and deferent to ISI faculty and especially to I Nyoman Windha and his abilities and talent as a composer, all of the composers I interviewed during my research in Bali (all of whom had graduated from ISI) complained of the quality and quantity of education in composition at the school. Most students indicated that they simply had to find their own way, out of need, in composition. There is little or no analysis of musical structure or the composition process at ISI, and often the intellectualisms included in student theses have a sense of being pasted on after the fact or following the format of previous successful theses. All students complained of the lack of materials, books, recordings or scores that would help them in their development as a composer. According to a recent graduate of STSI.
There are composition ‘courses,’ at STSI but in practice you have to have a lot of ‘outside informants.’ (personal communication, STSI student, December 2002 )

This student’s experiences are indicative of the experience of most of his classmates in the karawitan department in STSI over the past few years. Other graduates and composers were more frank:


All I really learned was from personal discussions with Pak Windha. When I studied at IKJ [Institut Kesenian Jakarta – the Jakarta Arts Institute], it was more conceptual. STSI was easier. They never talk about technical issues. I slowly learned how to compose from reading outside of school and working on my own. (I Wayan Yudane, personal communication, December 2001).

According to Hough: “Students [at STSI] learn from early on in their education that success in the system invariably entails “not rocking the boat.” The path of least resistance is acquiescence to the demands of curriculum, lecturers, and the institution. . . Lecturers act as conduits of knowledge whose authority should not be questioned by students” (2000:183). Indeed, for experimentalists in dance or music it can be a dangerous prospect to vary too far from the norm.

Conservatism and Liberalism on Campus Students in the painting studio were considered by most faculty and students (including the painters themselves) to be the most radical. The painters often instigated and led the various protes (protests) that were frequently held during Dibia’s tenure as director. These protests criticized the school’s lack of facilities, lack of academic rigor and bureaucratic corruption, amongst other things. Painting students at ISI were also more aware of and interested in foreign cultural, aesthetic, and philosophical ideas than students in other departments. The ISI painters led a more bohemian life-style and more often disregarded Balinese traditional cultural themes within their art in their search for a personal voice. Why is it that Balinese visual artists would be more radical than either dancers or musicians? The reasons for the varying levels of innovation in various departments at ISI has everything to do with their respective roles in and relationship to traditional Balinese culture. Balinese dancers and musicians must, as an artistic and religious duty, perform ngayah,


obligatory performances at religious ceremonies for which they are rarely compensated.132 Therefore, the learning and regular performance of traditional works called for in temple contexts absorbs much of a dancer’s and musician’s time and energy. Painters, on the other hand, do not have the same religious duties and are not expected to produce works of art for regular religious ceremonies. While many Balinese painters are trained in and can create works of religious artwork, such as traditional wayang styles, they are not obliged to create at the volume dancers and musicians are. Nor is there, as for dancers and musicians, the extensive rehearsal process involved in the painter’s art. As a result the painters seem to have had more time and cultural space and freedom to explore ideas and concepts from other forms, incorporating to a much greater extent than dancers or musicians streams of thought and trends from foreign schools.133 As the painting department has grown slowly over the years so has their intellectual influence in ISI campus culture. Beyond the other influencing factors above, the interaction between musicians, painters and foreign students has to a certain extent influenced the recent wave of experimentalism in the music department. The dance department, regarded as the most conservative department, is comprised mostly of female students. Contemporary Balinese culture, while not as chauvinistic as it once was, still heavily constricts female roles and the range of position and movement of the female (and male) body. To openly and flagrantly flaunt Balinese traditional body movement seems to be more of an affront to traditional Balinese values than experimentation in the plastic or musical arts. Frustrated with the low interest in experimentation within the dance faculty many musicians during my

Symbolic compensation is often provided in the form of fruit, rice, cigarettes, and a few rupiah for transportation expenses. Rarely, wealthier families and temples will provide an actual honorarium to performers. 133 It is sometimes the painters who push musicians, inspiring them to new levels of experimentalism. This is the case with the well known painter and performance artist I Nyoman Erawan and his group of musicians from Sukawati.


research opted to create instrumental works rather than dance accompaniments for their recitals. In 2001-2004 all of the karawitan students chose to create instrumental works. The question of the composers’ identity and the collective identity of the department was an important issue in the musicians’ decision to divorce themselves from the dance department. According to Gede Arsana, a student who graduated from the karawitan faculty in 2001:

I didn’t want to ‘kawin’ [marry or pair]134 with a dancer. I wanted karawitan to be more visible. For dance accompaniments the audience’s attention is focused on the dance, not the music. I didn’t want that. In konser works, the musical identity is more obvious, more free, and not dependent on or connected to the dance. We are free to make something new, to make something that hasn’t existed before. (I Wayan Gede Arsana, personal communication, December 2002)

Part of a director’s perceived duties is to control the rate and amount of change in campus culture. Bandem was regarded by most as an extremely effective and influential director. However, many musicians, while acknowledging his effectiveness, quietly complained about his conservatism, especially when compared to the comparative freedom composers in areas such as Solo enjoyed. In 1994 Bandem barred several karawitan students from creating experimental instrumental ujian recital works rather than dance accompaniments in a kreasi style. Composers including Subandi, Cater, and Dewa Beratha, following Yudane’s creation of his instrumental work Laya in 1993, began developing musik kontemporer works for their


Arsana is playing on the three meanings of kawin in Bali. In Indonesian it could mean either to literally marry, or to pair with. In Balinese it means to have sexual intercourse. Arsana’s use of this term is more subtle than a simple play on words. Many young Balinese composers of experimental music move in two or more social spheres, that of the traditional, rural or urban Balinese musician, and that of the worldly, touring composer interacting with musicians, composers, and students from around the world, primarily Japan and America. Many composers noted to me that they felt inspired, influenced, and more free by being able to move between these worlds. Many noted that they had ‘lost their taste’ for the traditional Balinese wife, family, and lifestyle, and most of the female dance students at ISI were viewed as being “un-innovative,” “un-exciting,” and “too traditional.” In fact many composers of the young generation have married non-Balinese, including Dewa Beratha, Dewa Alit, I Wayan Yudane, Kadek Suardana, Putu Setiawan, I Made Sue, I Wayan Wija, and Gusti Sudarta, among others.


ujian before being stopped by Bandem. Students are controlled and indoctrinated through official acts, printed materials, guidelines, and pedagogical structures such as the ujian recital. According to Bourdieu:
Official language . . . sanctions and imposes what it states, tacitly laying down the dividing line between the thinkable and the unthinkable, thereby contributing towards that maintenance of the symbolic order from which it draws its authority. (Bourdieu 1977:21, also quoted in Heimarck 2003:150)

The Ujian Seniman (Recital) ASTI Denpasar convened its first Sarjana Muda examinations in 1973 with four graduating students. Each was expected to develop a small dissertation (skripsi) and to compose a kreasi baru. In 1977 students were then required to create a kreasi baru, take oral examinations, perform a classical work or dance and to create a skripsi based on original research. In 1983 STSI began offering the more advanced Sarjana Lengkap degree for which graduating students had to produce a new creation one hour in length. Between 1983 and today the format has varied and sometimes karawitan students were paired by the faculty with dance students in order to create large sendratari type productions. By the early 1990s most graduating students were producing shorter fifteen minute works. Every year each graduating student in the performing arts must create and perform a new dance or piece of music approximately 12-15 minutes long. According to Hough: “Although there may not be any overt prejudices on the part of the examiners, some students did express the view that it was better not to choreograph a contemporary piece as they perceived it would not be well received” (Hough 2000:212). Many dancers and musicians suggested that contemporary works are more challenging and risky and that it was a form that one had to “graduate” into,


by developing one’s traditional skills first. In Bali all of the composers of contemporary works have strong (but varying) foundations in Balinese traditional music.

The Ujian Process By mid October most music students have arranged an ensemble of players and have some compositional concepts to work with. Some students who live far outside of Denpasar sometimes opt to use players from their home banjar in order to facilitate rehearsal. However, the majority engage their classmates to perform, and most rehearse on campus, often in the Lata Mahosadhi museum. Many students perform in several ujian each year.135 Rehearsals typically last two hours or more, starting once or twice a week, and as the final recital date approaches rehearsals often are held each day. Students are not paid to perform, and all fees incurred in the rehearsal process are out of pocket. Dance students incur significant expenses as they must design and pay for new costumes, find outside gamelan groups and composers and pay for transportation and refreshment fees for the participating dancers and musicians.136 The composition process at ISI is traditional, that is, it is intuitive and rather collaborative. Although the name of a single individual composer is associated with the work at the time of the recital and in the written skripsi, the work typically represents the efforts, ideas, input, and abilities of several individuals often, but not always, dominated by the


Two young drummers I knew performed in 14 recitals in 2001. This was extraordinary considering they were playing kendang, a leading instrument, and that all of the music was new, much of it experimental, and all of it memorized. This meant that these two musicians learned nearly three hours of original music in the span of only about three months, for little or no compensation other than occasional free lunch at rehearsals. 136 Opinions concerning these developments generally fell along department divisions. Dance faculty felt that such a development was potentially detrimental to the future of the department as students would be expected to spend a considerable amount of cash simply to produce their final works. Music department faculty saw this as a positive development as it would encourage increased artistic activity and participation among village and neighborhood groups outside of the ISI community.


named composer. Occasionally some students who do not feel qualified or are uninspired or timid, covertly commission a ghost composer, often a classmate, to compose the work for them. During my research in 2002 I knew of one composer, a recent STSI alumnus, who was the primary composer for two graduating karawitan students that year. The composition process for recital works is reminiscent of Morris’ (2000) description of poetic authorship in historic Thailand: “One may glean . . . that ‘authorship’ in mid-nineteenth century northern Thailand was conceived as being a complex technology of writing at the boundary between repetition and newness rather than an originally creative act” (22). For Balinese composers, especially younger composers, imitation, quotation and outright theft are key elements of the creative process. There is no enforceable copyright law in effect in Bali, or Indonesia. Most traditional forms are quite conservative and new works in traditional genres often constitute relatively minor melodic, and to a lesser extent, formal arrangements and variations. Often structural forms are conserved while melodic content is original. Drumming often remains the same between pieces in classical forms, being associated with formal, rather than melodic structures. As compared to composition in completely traditional idioms, kreasi baru compositions involve more and quicker innovations over time and between composers. Musik kontemporer recitals are more liberal, but ideas and forms from established composers and repertoires are often borrowed in this form as well. Some students, especially dance students, attempt to create a sensation during their final performance by including “special effects” not previously revealed in dress rehearsals. In 2001-04 this typically involved the use of a loud and weak smoke machine which produced little smoke but could be heard rumbling distinctly over the gamelan. Other


favored tricks involved fire-works,137 suspension cables, and elaborate props and staging.138 Audiences often respond with spontaneous applause at the appearance of these tricks, helping to drown out the sound of the smoke machine.

The Ujian: Copyright and Originality in New Balinese Music The role of copyright and the question of authorial integrity and originality was brought to the fore in the 2001 ujian recitals in which a graduating student was accused of musical theft. In this case a student composed a musik kontemporer work for many kendang of various sizes, placed vertically in wooden stands, and played on one head with two sticks, in the manner of Japanese Taiko. An electronic keyboard, western flute, and rebab were also used. The piece was seemingly uninfluenced by traditional Balinese gamelan music, but instead borrowed elements from Japanese traditional and new age music, and specifically from the composer Kitaro. For the final performance musicians were dressed in vaguelyJapanese looking headbands and outfits. Despite the fact that several jury members were aware of the strong resemblance between the student’s music and Kitaro’s, he graduated, receiving the highest grade among the student body. This outraged several of the other students, and articles concerning this event were published in the Bali Post (January, 2002). The faculty, Dibia (then director) specifically, defended their actions in passing the student by suggesting that he had created a sufficiently original work and although materials were borrowed from other sources, they were used in creative and original ways.


I found the indoor use of fireworks especially exciting considering they were ignited close to the curtains in an above capacity theater with no sprinkler system and few exits. 138 These kitsch effects, often thrown in at the last minute and never quite successful, always seemed to me to be in a wonderfully ironic disjunct to the often very highly rehearsed, refined, and accomplished dance and music students presented at their ujian.


Dibia suggested that the very healthy state of Balinese musical life is at least partly due to the absence of the notion of copyright on the island. Because composers can feel completely free to borrow materials from one another and from traditional works, new Balinese music maintains a kind of grammatical connection to earlier kreasi and traditional works. This in turn helps maintain the large and engaged audiences of lay Balinese that patronize the arts, showing up in droves for the annual kreasi baru concerts and purchasing tapes. If each new composition was expected to be wholly original, and each composer was expected to develop an idiosyncratic and original compositional language, Dibia argued, the audience would quickly become overwhelmed, confused, and alienated by the rapid increase in the rate of change in new music. Dibia noted that new music in Bali was healthier, in the sense of there being a very large lay and amateur audience, than new music in America, where copyright is strongly enforced and where there is a wider range of compositional languages and forms of expression. In his conversations on the topic with Hough (2000) in 1995, Dibia suggested that copyright in Bali would simply function to kill creativity (“mematikan kreativitas”) and further the modern negative trend towards individualism and individual gain.139


It is interesting to note here that the materials borrowed from Kitaro were primarily melodic. In Balinese music what is most often conserved or borrowed between works are formal structures, drumming patterns, tutti rhythmic arrangements (both the grammar of the virtuosic opening kebyar as well as the metered rhythmic patterns shared by the reyong and the kendang), and kotekan techniques. Specific melodic shapes are often original. For instance, the drumming, reyongan, and form of the pengawak of such standard works as Oleg Tambulilingan and Margapati appear in countless other kreasi baru works, with different melodies. This is considered standard compositional process. However, it would not be kosher to, for instance, take the literal melody of Oleg or other works, and to change the drumming or reyongan or to in some way alter the form or rhythmic ratio between instruments. Melodic material encapsulates more of a piece’s unique identity than does drumming or form. To take the literal melody of Kitaro’s works represented, to many students, an illegitimate form of borrowing – the co-option of the work’s musical identity.


Evaluation of the Ujian Performance The jury (which often includes non ISI faculty, such as SMKI faculty, or members of other institutes such as Listibya or Taman Budaya) and the reviewing faculty base their evaluation of ujian works on three primary criteria: Idea, Form, and Performance:

Ide Gagasan Tema Cerita

Bentuk Komposisi -teknik gending -struktur gending Ornamentasi Kreativitas

Penampilan Expresi Rasa Kebersamaan Keharmonosan

Idea Concept Theme Narrative

Form Presentation Composition Expression - musical technique Feeling of Togetherness - musical structure Harmony Ornamentation Creativity Figure 2.1. Karawitan Work Assessment Criteria (Kriteria Penilaian Karya Karawitan) for 1994/1995 Ujian Sarjana Seni.

These set of criteria are formulated to create a certain kind of music. Although karawitan students are ostensibly allowed to create any kind of performance, and kontemporer forms are not theoretically judged unfavorably against traditional or kreasi baru forms, it is clear that these criteria guide students to create moderately innovative kreasi baru works, and not to stray too far from the musical status quo. Through these kinds of criteria ISI is able to control and regulate musical change. These criteria firstly assume that the student’s music must have a theme and story-line, resulting in many pieces following a programmatic and often representational structure. Works that would rely heavily on open improvisation or aleatoric chance are essentially ruled out. Works that portray purely musical disjunctions and juxtapositions without being connected to a specific narrative would be critiqued as being anti-narrative and might possibly violate the criteria of rasa kebersamaan


and keharmonosan. Works that are purposively dissonant, chaotic, or minimalist would potentially be critiqued as being out of “harmony” and in general there is a great stress and value upon creating “beautiful” works which do not challenge the overall perception of aesthetic beauty or the boundaries of the definition of music in Bali.140 Furthermore the term ornamentasi within the criteria list is clearly a reference to the interlocking kotekan figuration typically employed in kreasi baru and traditional works, guiding students to compose within these forms. The category “rasa kebersamaan” guides students to compose for a full ensemble, rather than for a duo or solo performer. To date no student has created either a solo or duo recital work, despite the great difficulties in funding, arranging, and scheduling involved in composing for a large ensemble.141 And while one might think that the higher the level of innovation within a work, the greater the kreatifitas (and the higher evaluation it would receive) this is not practically the case. Extreme creativity in the ujian recital can backfire. Historically, the safest way to ensure graduation (and to avoid paying extra fees to enter the ujian process a second time), to musically not rock the boat--to create new pieces which gradually introduce new playing techniques, musical structures, and concepts to the existing performance practice, rather than to attempt a musical revolution by the introduction of obviously radical, experimental or non-Balinese musical approaches or concepts. However, as will be discussed later, many karawitan students in 2001-2004 openly challenged STSI’s


One of the few works I encountered that was purposefully very dissonant and chaotic, at times using sampled screams played through a keyboard, was Arsana’s (2001) work Moha which represented the ethnic clashes between Javanese and Chinese in Jakarta in May of 1998 described in chapter five. 141 I Wayan Yudane’s 1993 recital work, Laya, was the smallest ensemble to date, involving only six performers. In response to the limited availability of full ensembles on which to compose and rehearse at STSI, especially during the pre-recital period, Yudane ingeniously created an experimental ensemble using only those gamelan instruments that were rarely used, and almost always available such as bende, kajar, and genta-orag.


musical status quo, preferring to push musical boundaries by composing and performing musik kontemporer works.

The Skripsi (Thesis) As part of the overall ujian process students take a comprehensive exam. This is an oral exam in which the student defends his or her written script (skripsi) and final performance piece before a panel of six faculty. The written script, typically around fifty pages in length, consists of a nearly routinized format which varies little from student to student. Most skripsis involve the description of the student’s chosen theme and an explanation of how the music realizes that theme in sound. The structure of the thesis is based on an explanation of three phases of the creative process: “exploration,” “testing,” and “formation.” The section concerning compositional form is purely descriptive. To an outside observer it seems odd to read such banal and obvious organological descriptions intended for those who already intimately know the instruments. It is this kind of routinized “padding” or Boasian cataloging--all details and little image--that is often the bulk of both student skripsis and research projects by the ISI faculty. While students are not explicitly required to follow this format for their skripsi, they almost all do. Among faculty research projects these “padded” theses are encouraged as a matter of bureaucratic betterment. The school is given a budget for each project and faculty can increase their rank (and therefore, eventually, income) if they participate in such endeavors. These projects are not strictly evaluated upon completion.


The formalized structure of the skripsi was created primarily by I Made Bandem, ASTI and STSI director until 1997 and ISI Yogya director during my research. According to Bandem:

I was involved in developing the form of the proposals and skripsi. We used primarily Western models and strongly encouraged the faculty and staff to follow these formats. If our proposals and documents are not in this kind of format they will not be understood by the director of general and higher education. The governmental departments only give money for research, not money for pure creation. In order to get funding we are forced to make these criteria. I worked hard in the effort to get money from Jakarta for our schools and this involved learning to speak their language. We have to convince those bureaucrats, officials and directors, whose backgrounds are in the sciences, to support the arts. So you follow their models: research, process, form, report etc.

The Indonesian system of higher education favors the “harder” empirical sciences and practitioners in the humanities are obliged to tailor their projects, curricula and pedagogies to sometimes incompatible models from the sciences. Yet, while many musicians and composers view the business of creating skripis and proposals as bureaucratic drudgery which must be endured but has little relation to the actual act of creation, there have been impacts of this scientific and rationalized approach upon the face of new Balinese music:

It’s hard to describe the artistic process and sometimes in these skripsis and proposals the final product does not actually resemble the proposal. It’s forced sometimes. Composition by pure intuition is the traditional method in Bali. Now we are asking students and faculty to rationalize in order to create a sensible proposal and to get funding for the project. But sometimes the results of these rationalized projects are quite awkward [kaku]. Or sometimes the papers are good, but the music sounds lousy. As an administrator and an artist this can be very frustrating. You constantly ask yourself “which is more important?!” It’s a vicious cycle [roda satan]. (personal communication, I Made Bandem, February 2004).

The Tema (Theme) According to the judging criteria listed above all works must have a theme and the skripsi must, at least partly, attempt to explain the connection between the theme and the music itself. All graduating students, dancers, painters, and musicians must identify a theme within their works. Often the dances illustrate specific, chronological stories most of which


are borrowed from either religious sources or local legends. For the dancer the connection between the dance and the theme is more explicit. For the musician developing instrumental works, most often without sung text, the role and relevance of a theme is more ambiguous. Among the faculty and administration there is some disagreement as to whether or not the use of themes is a requirement. Suryatini, Asnawa, Astita, and Windha, all faculty actively engaged in advising developing composers, said it was a requirement. Windha states that: “framing it in a theme helps student composers create more clearly. And often, especially today, they get inspiration for these themes from non-musical situations, like the political or economic situation in Indonesia.” It is the case that at times student composers simply compose, inspired by nothing but the music itself. Afterwards, the composer strains to find a narrative that conveniently maps on to the music. However, during my research most composers did start with a concrete theme which had a definite narrative structure. Gede Arsana’s Moha, composed for his ujian sarjana in 2001 provides an example:
I am always inspired by events. For Moha, I was inspired by the situation in Indonesia concerning the ethnic Chinese living in Jakarta on May 14th, 1998. At that time I had just returned from [living and playing music for two years in] Taiwan. Watching these events on TV I became very sad. I thought that the country could possibly disintegrate because of this kind of ethnic violence. Why can’t we accept different ethnicities? In Bali there have always been Chinese. In the temple, in our religion there is Chinese culture. I was worried that this might be lost. I read reference books, watched TV, and my inspiration was always coming from that. Then I focused on the feeling of China/Chinese for my ujian. I wanted the audience to say, ‘let us come together again!’ (I Wayan Gede Arsana, personal communication, December 2002)


History of Themes in Balinese Music Traditional Balinese music is often extremely abstract and the title has little or no relationship to the music itself, other than being a mnemonic device for musicians. The music used to accompany dramatic forms such as wayang, topeng, and gambuh is associated with character types and scenes and is meant to convey certain moods, but not necessarily convey a distinct narrative. Isolated from the dramatic forms they are meant to accompany, these works simply recall archetypical character types, moods, and feelings rather than distinct narratives. These works are thematic in the sense that one piece may be associated with a “beautiful, refined woman,” or another with “war,” or “love,” but these are more similar to what Tenzer (2000) identifies as “topics” in Balinese music and when divorced from their dramatic settings they are essentially non-representational. The use of narrative themes in Balinese composition, more specifically the creation of representational works, has its modern roots in the experimental music by Balinese composers working during the late 1970s and early 1980s, primarily Asnawa, Astita, and Windha. Komang Astita’s 1979 Gema Eka Dasa Rudra, composed for the first PKM represented the first of a series of new theatrical Balinese experimental works. This work and those that followed represented a shift in Balinese instrumental music from abstract composition to thematic and often theatrical representationalism. The work, which is partially a re-staging of a rare purification ceremony, involved several new musical techniques which I have discussed elsewhere (McGraw 2000). For the present discussion it is important to note that this work was programmatic, representing on stage and in the music the various stages of the Eka Dasa Rudra ceremony.142 The performance was theatrical in that it involved


The piece was later, in what must have been a distinctly Balinese moment of postmodern simulacrum, actually performed at an Eka Dasa Rudra ceremony.


musicians doubling as actors. Musicians played the role of farmers and priests as they enter the stage one by one taking up their instruments. Later this theatrical formula would be repeated in I Ketut Gede Asnawa’s Kosong and I Nyoman Windha’s Sangkep, presented in subsequent PKM festivals. In Kosong (discussed in chapter five) Asnawa represented the Balinese nyepi ceremony in music, illustrating phase by phase each element of the event. Windha’s Sangkep similarly portrays a traditional Balinese community meeting. These works provided new and interesting aesthetic, technical, and musical models that later generations of composers emulated. The influence of Asnawa’s Kosong is palpable in the 2001 Cudamani work Tajeng, in which a cock-fighting contest is represented on an innovative ensemble of horizontal gongs. The more theatrical model provided by Eka Dasa Rudra established precedent for Suanda’s recent comedic/musical works including Mangsi, based on traditional Balinese religio-culinary practices, and Boreh based on Balinese traditional medicinal practices. It is notable that new music at KOKAR-ASTI Bali should develop in this manner during the 1970s considering the almost opposite aesthetics of the administration at its predecessor, STSI Solo, in Central Java. Humardani, the director of the PKTJ (Pusat Kesenian Java Tengah – Central Javanese Arts Center) and later STSI Solo director (between 1971-1983), was a prolific writer who by the 1970s’ had firmly developed his aesthetic approach to new music which he felt should be, like all of the classic arts of ancient Java and Bali, abstract and non-representational (in Javanese “tan wadag”). Panji and Bandem, the leaders of KOKAR-ASTI Bali during Humardani’s leadership, never espoused a similar approach towards music. Instead, each of the themes employed in the first generation of Balinese musik kontemporer works strictly adhered to the representation of official and touristified notions of “traditional” Balinese culture.


Graduation Upon successful performance of the final recital and acceptance of the thesis students graduate with the Seniman Setingkat Sarjana degree. According to Hough “the degree awarded to successful candidates confirms their status as ‘experts in the arts’ and also differentiates them from village-based practitioners” (Hough 2000:218). The graduation process is highly ritualized involving both Balinese Hindu symbolism and Indonesian nationalist rhetorics, combining the two in a mix of bureaucracy and religion. Typically the trademark dance of the school, Tari Siwa Nataraja, a kreasi baru choreographed by Swasthi Bandem with music by Nyoman Windha, is performed before the entire seated audience prior to the awarding of degrees.143 Upon graduation each student recites the Janji Wisudawan, the graduates’ promise:

We graduates of STSI Denpasar, sincerely and determinably promise: 1) That we will always be obedient and faithful to the Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution, the State and Government of the Republic of Indonesia. 2) That we will use our knowledge, technology and arts for the sake of the People, Nation and the State. 3) That we will continue to protect the status and good name of our alma-mater and will always act in its service. 4) That we will in serving the People, Nation and State always be diligent, orderly and responsible in our work, and will foster unity and integrity, as well as place the needs of the Nation and State above personal or group needs. 5) That we will always strive to increase the quality of knowledge and the ability for the expansion of technological science and the arts in the contexts of development of the Nation and the State. (translated in Hough, ibid.)

The promise is a Jakarta-produced document intended for all tertiary institutions, scientific and artistic. In it the students swear an oath of artistic obedience to the nation-state, pledging that they will serve the needs of the nation before personal needs. Such an oath


According to Bandem, until recently the performance of this kreasi was strictly reserved for events at STSI (ISI) and it was forbidden by the senat (senate) to be taught to or performed for those not associated with the institution (personal communication, I Made Bandem, May 2004).


seems to be in direct conflict with the very individualistic nature of contemporary experimental composition in which the composer often seeks to find a unique voice in which a sense of regional or global aesthetics take precedence over a search for nationalist expression. Students who were active in the production of musik kontemporer during my research developed no works that could be seen as demonstrating an explicit allegiance to the nation state over regional aesthetics or identity. However, most composers defended their works as patriotic by invoking the national motto of Unity in Diversity (Bhinekka Tunggal Ika) in their skripsi and suggested that by further developing Balinese performing arts they were in effect developing national arts.

Chapter Summary This chapter has been concerned most broadly with describing the sites and ways in which Balinese musik kontemporer is created; and more generally about the ways in which musical change is controlled and regulated. I examined the relationship between Balinese audiences and composers and how this relationship has been involved in changing notions of “the composer.” Extensive discussions and interviews with Balinese composers illustrated how musical changes are evolving in line with changing subjectivities and identities. Interviews with composers suggested that the Balinese composer imagines him or herself as both a member of a small and elite musical subculture, but also, often, as a member of a larger society with a broad cultural responsibility--the cultural education and “upgrading” of the general Balinese population. In this section I discussed the efforts at socializing musik kontemporer and the conversations concerned with the meaning that is conveyed within new music. Discussions concerning the rate of musical change were framed in terms of the connection or lack thereof between Balinese composers and audiences.


ISI/STSI was discussed in terms of its overwhelming role in sponsoring, shaping, and authorizing the creation of innovative musical forms. The examination of the roles of the director, faculty, pedagogy, and various testing procedures illustrate the many and detailed ways in which this official institution attempts to control the kind and rate of cultural change in Bali. However, interviews with composers illustrated, as was the case in the discussion in the previous chapter of official rhetorics, the room for play and the creation of idiosyncratic identity in the rifts between official sanctions and practice. Festivals such as the PKB and PKM were discussed in terms of their role in sponsoring and influencing the development of musik kontemporer. The discussion of the PKM connects to the efforts to delineate divisions around musik kontemporer as a form which were presented in the preface and first chapter. The first generation of Balinese musik kontemporer composers all had connections to Jakarta, either through extended periods of residency in the city (such as Yudane, Sadra, and Suardana) or through temporary contact, through participation in the PKM (as was the case for the composers Asnawa, Astita, Windha, Rai, Suryatini, etc). Between the mid 1970’s through the mid 1990’s those composers creating self-consciously experimental music had demonstrable contact with the capital.144 The second generation of Balinese musik kontemporer composers (such as those associated with Cudamani) have had less contact with Jakarta but have all been trained in composition by the first generation of composers mentioned above. These connections are all contained within the sphere of Indonesia. In the next chapter I discuss the more problematic and clouded issue of the diffusion of Western compositional practices into Indonesia, and the relationship between the two areas (Indonesia and Euro-America) during the emergence of musik kontemporer.

With the possible exception of Suanda, who is in many ways a “special case,” as his performing live animals (discussed in chapter three) suggests.


Chapter 4 Foreign Influences and Other Scenes
Much musik kontemporer sounds vaguely like Western twentieth century experimental music, but finding evidence of direct Western influence is difficult.145 Many of its pioneering composers (Wayan Sadra, Pande Made Sukerta, Al. Suwardi, etc.) never studied in the West, or did so long after they began composing kontemporer works. In the beginning of their careers few of these composers incorporated Western instruments or techniques or had any awareness of the music of Cage, Feldman, Wolff, or any other pioneers of the Western avant-garde. However, it is tempting when observing musik kontemporer works to hear seemingly Western influence. At times the development of new forms of Indonesian composition techniques bears a striking resemblance to developments in American and European new music. And, considering the long and deep interest among American composers in Indonesian music, such influence before or during the emergence of musik kontemporer seems plausible, even probable. However, in investigating possible cultural connections, we should be weary of pitfalls. Earlier scholarship into Balinese painting of the late nineteenth century suggested that Balinese modernisms had been the direct influence of Western artists acting as catalysts. Recent re-assessments146 suggest that Balinese modernisms were a more indigenous development than previously suggested. Recently, since the development of musik kontemporer, there has been a significant amount of direct interaction between Indonesian composers and the West, but whether or not the original interest in experimentalism in Indonesia, beginning in the 1970s, is traceable to

I am not concerned here with elucidating these various sonic similarities, although I would suggest the reader compare for instance: 1) the extensive exploration of percussive timbres within Feldman’s and Cage’s works and the works of composers working in Solo in the 1970’s, especially those of the Balinese Pande Made Sukerta, 2) the exploration of minimalism and repetition in the works of Reich and Glass with Sadra’s, and Asnawa’s early experimental works, 3) exploration in new instrument design by Partch in America and A.L. Suwardi in Indonesia. 146 Primarily H.I.R. Hinzler, 1986.


Western cultural influence is unclear. The facts bear out a complicated scenario. In order to investigate more closely the similarities between Western and Indonesian new music and to trace the beginnings of musik kontemporer, I approach the issue from two theoretical perspectives: 1) an older anthropological theory known as idea diffusion, and 2) a theory of social analogy

1) Idea diffusion Diffusion is the “method by which part of a culture spreads to other areas” (Winnick 1956:167). Diffusion, unlike acculturation, can occur without sustained cultural contact. Idea diffusion (also called stimulus invention) is the combination of diffusion and invention whereby a mechanism from one culture is only partially accepted, not fully learned, misunderstood or is otherwise incompletely incorporated into another culture. The mechanism is then reinterpreted, or reinvented in the host culture, in congruence with local values. It is possible, furthermore, for the original cultural object, mechanism, or idea to not fully penetrate the host culture, but through superficial contact act as a catalyst to stimulate the invention of a similar, more suitable mechanism or object in the host. According to Kroeber, who first proposed the idea in 1948, the resultant mechanism in the host culture “is such that its results look wholly novel and original even when they are not; and the factors involved tend not to get into the historical record and often become quickly forgotten” (Kroeber 1948:154). Idea diffusion mediates the tension between evolutionary theory, which presumes that innovation is a common feature in social life and that the shared brain physiology of our species make it likely that inventions will be developed independently in various societies and diffusionist theory which “presumes that humans are inherently


conservative and uninventive and that the major route of progress in culture history has been through the spread of civilization from a very few culture centers” (Winthrop 1991). Idea diffusion represented a development of the earlier concept of point diffusion in which traits could be tracked from one point to another. In order to evaluate the suggestion that Indonesian experimental music could be a manifestation of idea diffusion through contact (however fragmentary) with the West, we must first survey the existing evidence of the interaction between Indonesian and Western musical cultures.

Early Western Artists and Scholars in Bali – Impacts and Interpretations147 Walter Spies (1895-1942), the German painter, musician, and scholar arrived in Bali in 1927, after leaving his conducting duties at the orchestra in the court of the Sultan of Yogyakarta. The presence of European artists and scholars in central Bali in the 1920s and 1930s profoundly influenced Balinese arts, especially painting. By the 1930s most Balinese painting was geared towards image-making for European tastes, influenced by the style and instruction of certain Europeans, including Spies. In 1927 Spies helped a Balinese troupe develop the kecak trance dance into a large, tourist oriented dance-drama based on selections


Western influenced performing arts have been present in Bali since at least the 19th century. During colonialism some elite and wealthy Balinese were able to gain a European education that included art, theater and musical training. These European-trained students sometimes performed for audiences in Bali. During the early decades of colonialism Balinese newspapers and scholarly journals provided sporadic reviews of Western music and theater performances. The Balinese students who performed in these events, students of MULO, formed an organization of Balinese studying abroad (primarily in Java) who, when they returned on their vacations to Bali, maintained contact and organized events. According to Putra (2000:26), the group performed stambul theater, gymnastics, music and martial arts, among other forms of entertainment. Dutch was always the language used and the performances were always held in modern venues, including movie (bioskop) theaters and comedy rooms rather than in temples or community wantilan (open performance spaces). These ticketed events in restricted venues catered only to the elite classes living in Bali: members of the Dutch administration, wealthy ethnically Chinese merchants, and educated, bi-lingual Balinese. However, the limited existence of these performing arts in Bali likely had little or no influence on later experimental composers interested in borrowing foreign and Western elements.


from the Ramayana.148 Spies spent 15 years on the island introducing many scholars, artists, and celebrities to the island’s culture and to the “arts village” of Ubud which he almost single-handedly developed into an alternative tourist retreat. It was also likely through Spies’ influence that Balinese painters began turning away from representations of Balinese mythology to scenes of everyday life, a focus on daily social activity which would also become central to the first generation of musik kontemporer composers in Bali.149 The ideology informing the colonial-era foreign interest in and contact with Balinese art and artistic development is summarized by Vickers:

They [foreign artists such as Spies and Bonnet] saw themselves as helping Balinese painting take off from its medieval limitations to a Renaissance-like height. The historical parallels were very clearly drawn by a number of writers. The assumptions were always paternalistic: the West was already developed and artistically mature; Balinese culture was being helped by benevolent westerners to go through the proper stages of development and maturity. So the ethical ideas of protecting and preserving Bali did not, in practice, prevent change. Instead, they meant that change should occur according to the tastes of the Western observers. (Vickers 1989:114)

Despite inevitable cultural diffusion through everyday interaction, Western artists and scholars residing on Bali in the 1930s primarily encouraged Balinese artists, especially musicians and composers, to continue looking inward, culturally, towards their traditional forms and structures for inspiration rather than providing them with sustained, substantial and concrete information about Western arts. There is little evidence to suggest that there has been any concrete or sustained connection between Balinese modern musical experimentation (beginning the late 1970s) and the presence of Western modernists in Bali during Dutch colonialism. Raden (2000) argues vigorously that the presence of Western tonal music in


The Javanese choreographer Sardono Kusomo maintains that Spies’ partly modeled the choreography of his kecak on Swan Lake (Sardono Kusomo, personal communication, September 2003). 149 See for instance the description in early Balinese musik kontemporer of folk life in works by Asnawa, Rai, Windha, Astita, and Ida Bagus Mas, in Appendix D, 2.


colonial church, military, and concert settings had a profound impact on the development of Indonesian musik kontemporer. Mack (2001) disagrees just as strongly.150 While European arts education and performance in Bali likely had little direct impact on the overall musical ecology of Bali during colonialism, Dutch cultural policy and administration introduced structures of patronage and thought that would profoundly influence the course of the development of the Balinese performing arts and later the development of experimental forms. Under the Dutch system of administration and schooling Bali’s most successful experimental form, kebyar, developed and thrived. Seramasara, in his thesis on the secularization of the arts in Bali, suggests that the Dutch schools, and the colonial system in general, introduced “rational thought” and Western derived concepts such as the division between sacred arts (those performed for religious ceremony) and secular arts (those performed away from the temple and court for entertainment). This binary division had not previously existed in Bali. The division and reification of arts as either sacred or secular later greatly influenced the development of Balinese experimental forms during the last quarter of the 20th century.151 According to Seramasara:
Through the policies of Baliseering. . . the production of art moved from a process of slow traditional development to a method of creativity based on rational thought. This change in

Both arguments are flawed. Raden compares apples to oranges as it were, associating the musical activities of relatively disparate groups of musicians and composers with a single history of colonialism. Mack discounts the impact of lower-brow music, believing, it seems, that only the high classical and romantic composers are the ones that “count.” Mack (2001:19), however, importantly acknowledges the historical and stylistic disconnect between the diatonic music of the colonial era and the experimental forms of the last 25 years. 151 Prior to the first few decades of the 20th century the idea of being a performer of secular forms as a profession was virtually non-existent in Bali. Even court musicians were also typically farmers. With the idea of a division between sacred and profane works, the concept of the professional musician gained currency as musicians could then accept remuneration for performing non-sacred works, previously performed as a religious/customary duty (ngayah) without monetary compensation. Receiving money for performance only began in earnest around the 1930’s as tourism began to develop on the island.


thinking in the creative process led to the development of radically new forms such as, for instance, the gong kebyar and kebyar dance forms. (Seramasara 1997:68).

The rationalization of creation, the heightened notion of the individual composer and professional performer, emerging concepts of sacred and profane art and the increased spread of communication through the Dutch built schools all influenced and aided the development of new and experimental forms, firstly kebyar. These notions, already present in a limited form in Balinese culture since colonialism, would be amplified and spread prior to the emergence of musik kontemporer in the 1970s through the influence of Indonesian artists and bureaucrats trained in the West.

Western Arts in the Post-Colonial Indonesian Academy The Indonesian cultural polemic concerning the development of national art forms which emerged in the early decades of the 20th century has essentially continued to the present. There has never been an answer to what national or Indonesian music is and the question is still hotly debated. Concerning music, the question has always centered around the status of regional forms and their relationship to foreign musical elements. In the early 1950s the debate lead to the development of two major institutions: KOKAR Solo152, which would focus on traditional (primarily Central Javanese) performing arts and SMI (Sekolah Musik Indonesia, Music School of Indonesia) Yogyakarta which would focus on Western


As in Bali, the first conservatory in Solo was named KOKAR and was based on implementing Dewantara’s concepts of national culture. The government played both sides of the polemik budaya. On the one hand the government supported Dewantara’s aim of supporting the development of regional forms through the establishment of KOKAR Solo while on the other hand supporting the development of musik Indonesia Baru (supported by Dungga and Manik) -- Westernized new art forms, through the establishment of the Western conservatory SMI (AMI) in Yogyakarta.


“classical” traditions.153 Originally SMI and its curriculum was designed along the lines of a European conservatory. That is, the focus was primarily on developing performance skills, and not on a liberal education. Many of the faculty at the newly opened SMI school were Western musicians who had previously been engaged by the Dutch colonial administration as court entertainers or radio orchestra performers and a few were traveling musicians.154 The school followed a fairly rigorous teaching routine. Students (including several Balinese) performed regularly and graduating students often found employment in radio orchestras and other ensembles. The clarinetist and composer Suka Hardjana (founder of the PKM), who performed for years as a professional chamber musician in Germany, was a product of the curriculum at SMI. In 1959 Sukarno initiated his prohibitions against the influx of Western culture which he viewed as detrimental to Indonesian culture.155 According to Hardjana, who was an undergraduate student at SMI at the time, the Western faculty was not fired, but were meant to feel unwelcome in the current political/cultural climate and many returned to Europe. SMI was funded as a governmental institution, as was KOKAR Solo, and after the cultural changes of 1959, the government stepped in and radically reshaped the school’s curriculum. Students were made to study not only music but also religion, economics, sciences, Indonesian, English, and a class on Pancasila. The format of the curriculum was changed from a conservatory model to an “academic” model and the name was changed to AMI (Akademi Musik Indonesia, Indonesian Academy of Music). By the 1960s AMI had produced

This institution produced the leading composers Slamet Abdul Sjukur and Paul Guatama Soegijo, neither of whom remained in Yogyakarta. Sjukur studied under Messian in Paris, returning to Indonesia in the late 1970’s, Soegijo moved permanently to Germany. 154 Raden (2001) describes in greater detail the role of these performers in the Yogyakarta scene and provides the names of the more important and influential teachers and performers. 155 Considering this, it was in a way surprising that SMI wasn’t closed altogether during this phase of Sukarno’s rule. However, Sukarno’s complaint was more directed against popular forms such as rock, than products of ‘high-culture.’


many Western trained musicians. However, few of these musicians’ worlds coincided with the world of gamelan or any specific traditional regional forms. Many of these musicians gained employment in radio stations in Java’s larger cities.156 It is unclear if any concepts regarded as experimental in the context of Western music were transferred in these conservatories at this time to the young composers that would, in the 1970s, begin to develop musik kontemporer. However, it is clear that musical diversity and difference increased in Central Java at this time. Young composers were increasingly in contact with foreign musics and notions about composition and musicality, and were increasingly assimilated into Westernized patterns of pedagogy and performance.

The Role of Radio in Socializing Western Musical Forms In the early days of Indonesian independence there was an extraordinary amount of energy and effort invested into standardizing and spreading the Bahasa Indonesia language. This effort, as part of the general work of nation building, largely succeeded in facilitating communication between regional cultures from Aceh to Irian Jaya. Several independence-era cultural thinkers similarly hoped and strove for the development of a cultural language that would work equally well in the formation of Indonesian identity. Radio was seen as one of the most important tools in the development of a national cultural language. Beginning in 1952 RRI hosted several contests in their search for national quality “radio stars.” These early contests included three categories 1) musik seriosa (serious music, light Western


Later, during the most important early phase of experimentation and the development of what would later be called musik kontemporer, AMI (later part of ISI) was headed by a conservative singer named Suhastjarja. During his tenure, as if in open and purposeful opposition to the developments in Solo and Jakarta, AMI students were not allowed to perform or compose contemporary music. Certain experimental composers at AMI, such as Sutanto, eventually left the institution in frustration.


classical works), 2) musik hiburan (entertainment music, primarily Western influenced jazz and Latin forms), and 3) keroncong (a folk hybrid form combining Indonesian and Portuguese elements). This focus on Western and Western influenced forms in RRI programming worked to further orient and socialize audience and composer tastes toward modern Western, but not experimental, styles. Popular foreign programs including the Voice of America, BBC, and ABC (Australian Broadcast Company) regularly featured segments devoted to Western classical and “ethnic,” especially Latin American, forms. It was during this time that young Javanese gamelan composers such as Nartosabdho and Cokrowasito became interested in performing, copying, and incorporating Western elements (primarily rhythmic forms) into their new creations for gamelan. In his gong kebyar kreasi Palgunawarsa and later Purwa Pascima, (East and West) Wayan Beratha synthesized Balinese and Western musical elements (see Mack, 2004). In these works the West is represented musically by a 3/4 waltz rhythm – a musical structure which Beratha first encountered through Old Order-era radio broadcast performances of Western music. Today triple meter, not present in traditional repertoires, is used as a standard tool in Balinese musik kontemporer and kreasi baru. Similarly, I Wayan Loceng’s arrangement of the traditional gender wayang tune Rebong, used in accompanying love scenes, is influenced by Western harmony. After encountering Western religious vocal music, with its combination of two voices in contrapuntal relationship, during colonialism and in later radio broadcasts in the 1960’s, Loceng adapted the sangsih of Rebong to include expanded harmony. Previously, the sangsih for Rebong was primarily in unison with the polos, only occasionally incorporating standard empat harmonies in the right hand.157


Funnily, but not so funnily at the time, I was banned from Loceng’s family compound for some days after having laughed (in glee) at Loceng’s arrangement of the sangsih for Rebong during a lesson. Being both temperamental extremely proud of his arrangement, Loceng assumed my laughter was


Early Hybrids and Experiments Cross-cultural musical experimentations, which were extremely popular during my research, had begun in Bali and Java by the 1930s. Hardjana reports the creation of hybrid works involving Javanese, Balinese, and Western instruments in 1957 by the jazz musician Tony Scott and a large work, on a symphonic scale, for musicians from Bali and Java for Indonesian (Balinese and Javanese) and Western instruments, by an American composer/conductor named Willard Becket. Both of these experiments occurred in Yogyakarta.158 Cokrowasito (in Yogyakarta) and Nartosabdho (in Semarang) were among the first prominent gamelan musician/composers to venture into experimental forms. Cokrowasito created the kreasi baru work Jaya Manggala Gita in 1950 involving polyphonic vocal treatments, bi-tonality (simultaneous use of pélog and slendro), combinations of several gamelan genres, Western derived triple meters, polymeters, and several new playing techniques (Raden 2001:241). There have been several experiments in the development of unique tunings and instrument design in central Java, beginning with the gamelan gentono which combined pélog and Western scales, and was intended to be performed in conjunction with a Western orchestra. Intercultural musical collaborations have occurred in Indonesia since late colonialism, yet they have been poorly documented and have never received sustained attention. For many Indonesian composers, the question isn’t of their existence but of their value. Significant New Order-era interactions between Western and Indonesian composers, prior to 1979, include the 1974 Musicultura Project in the Netherlands in which the Western

meant disparagingly. It took quite some time to convince him otherwise, involving my memorizing the sangsih and being able to play it without mistakes. 158 I cannot find any independent documentation on either of these works.


trained West Javanese composer Frans Haryadi collaborated with the Dutch composer Ton deLeeuw. Several influential Indonesian composers and musicians returned to Indonesia in the mid 1970s after extensive experiences in the West. Suka Hardjana had studied and performed as a professional clarinetist in Germany for several years before being asked by the government to return. Slamet Abdul Sjukur studied composition and performed piano extensively in Paris before returning to Indonesia in the late1970s. Other performers and administrators who had experiences in the West in the 1960s (most being supported by the Rockefeller foundation for study in America) were reaching the height of their careers and energies by the late 1970s. These include Humardani, Bagong Krsudiardja, Soedarsono and later I Made Bandem, Sal Murgianto and Wayan Dibia. Murgianto, Haryadi, Humardani and Hardjana would later be the principal directors and shapers of the several institutions and festivals which hosted the first performances of musik kontemporer in the late 1970s. Humardani and Haryadi would be the principle organizers of a series of composition seminars in Java in the 1970s in which their aesthetics, influenced and developed through their studies in the West, made a significant impact on young composers of musik kontemporer.

PKJT (Pusat Kesenian Jawa Tengah – The Center for Central Javanese Arts) The government sponsored project known as Pusat Pengembangan Kesenian (Center for the Development of the Arts, PKJT), or PPK, was initiated in 1971 by the Department of Culture and Education, then under the leadership of Mashuri. These projects were intended for the development of regional art forms, and were designed first as pilot projects in five centers: Ujung Pandang (Southern Sulawesi), Bali (Denpasar), Central Java (Solo), Sumatra (Medan) and the Special Prefecture of Yogyakarta (Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta).


However, it was only in Solo that this project was truly active and influential in the development of the arts.159 The Solonese manifestation of this project, the Pusat Kesenian Jawa Tengah, (Center for Central Javanese Arts) helped to launch the careers of several influential modern composers, choreographers, and theater figures, many of whom later moved to Jakarta. In Solo the meetings designed to formulate the project’s aims and programs were dominated by Humardani who outlined two primary goals of the project: “one, the understanding and the stabilization of artistic concepts, and two, experiments in art as a medium of expression and an introduction to comprehension” (Rustopo 1990:83). When Humardani eventually became the head of ASKI Solo in the mid 1970s, the PKJT project became consolidated within the ASKI structure.

Early Seminars

Seminar Kesenian 1972 (Arts Seminar 1972) After the less than warm reception of Sardono Kusomo’s 1970 experimental dance work Samgita Pancasona sponsored by the PKJT,160 Humardani began a program of community outreach to involve, educate and expose the public to new ideas and works. He sponsored monthly discussions at the PKJT and performances in each of Solo’s districts and in major cities throughout Central Java. The 1972 seminar was developed generally as a strategy to outline and publicize the modernizing and developing efforts of the PKJT among artists and the public at large.


During my research in Bali I never encountered any reference to the local PPK project, and when asked several school and cultural officials admitted not knowing about the project. 160 Rotten eggs, among other objects, were thrown at the performers.


Simposium Musik Tradisi 1975 (Traditional Music Symposium 1975) While its title suggested otherwise, the stated aim of this conference, held at TIM in Jakarta and which included performances, workshops, and discussions, was to “stimulate young composers to create music outside of traditional forms” (Rustopo 1990:101). In a paper presented by Frans Haryadi, Humardani, and others, they claim that “a new generation of male161 avant- garde composers will be responsible for the future of Indonesian music, and will question the continued existence of karawitan. They stated that karawitan is out of step with the dynamic soul of “modern people;” that it is not progressive, is sterile, ancient, not modern, and because of this they will create a new form of gamelan” (ibid). Haryadi himself goes on to state that “a new music must be created, one that either moves beyond or is completely free from traditional forms” (Rustopo 1990:102). Haryadi was primarily trained in Western music, was a student of Jaap Kunst, and since 1970 headed the first composition department in Indonesia at TIM, Jakarta.162 The concluding goals of the seminar generally suggested the orientation of new music towards “world music”163 and other vague suggestions, which generally indicate that change is needed, is good, and should orient itself towards an internationally conceived modernism.

161 162

“putra” While being primarily trained in Western forms, Haryadi was nevertheless deeply interested in Indonesian traditional musics and encouraged his students to write works incorporating Indonesian traditional elements. Haryadi himself began writing works in 1975 which combined Western music and Javanese (Sundanese) gamelan forms. However, it should be noted that Haryadi was not a gamelan specialist. It is ironic that these Jakartan, Western-trained composers with little practical knowledge of gamelan, such as Haryadi, and later Raden and Hardjana, refer to a “young class of avant-garde artists who wish to transform composition on gamelan.” It is tempting to suggest that they are referring more to themselves, their own desires, and their own aesthetics, than those of young, traditionally trained gamelan musicians. When these writers refer to that elusive, dynamic, modern spirit, they are possibly projecting what they were identifying within themselves onto others. 163 “Seni karawitan tradisi baru harus bertolak dari rasa musik dunia, khususnya dari rasa musik tradisi kita” (in Rustopo 1990:107).


Sarasehan Komposisi Musik 1979 (Music Composition Meeting 1979) The title of this seminar, held at ASKI Solo, reflected two emerging concepts in Indonesia and Central Java. First, these meetings were entitled composition (komposisi) meetings, and dealt more directly with concepts of composition more aligned with Western concepts. Secondly the term musik, rather than karawitan, was used suggesting that the world of non-gamelan sound was to be discussed and included within new conceptions of music and musical creation. This was undoubtedly due to the influence of Haryadi, who ran several workshops and discussions during these sessions.

The Influence of Gendhon Humardani in Developing Experimental Music in Solo

Humardani was trained as an anatomist and was an amateur dancer, but a layperson concerning music. His influence on composers came primarily through his organizational ability, work ethic, charisma, and through his aesthetics and philosophies which were broad enough to be applicable throughout the arts. While tracing Humardani’s influence within specific works of music created during his tenure is exceedingly difficult, he did create an atmosphere of very active and extreme experimentation and suggested new possible worlds of expression to artists raised in the world of comparatively closed and restricted regional forms. When Humardani returned from medical and dance studies (at the Martha Graham school and at UCLA) in Europe and America in the early 1960s, he returned with a firm belief in, among other things, the concept of cultural relativism which was emerging as a dominant discourse in the American humanities during his stay. For Humardani, cultural values were not an immutable given but changeable, learned, and at least partially artificial.


The idea that Indonesian culture was malleable and could be changed to be made both more perfect and in-tune with the needs of contemporary Indonesian society was one of Humardani’s most important philosophical legacies at STSI. Humardani encouraged the creation of almost anything which broke with tradition. He was known to tell the young Balinese composers whom he brought to work and study at ASKI and the PKJT project to abandon the fetters of tradition and to seek an individual original voice within their works. While actively encouraging radical experimentation in dance and music, Humardani continued to claim that these works were connected to tradition, and that he was merely speeding up the natural developmental or evolutionary processes which always occur in traditions. He intended to radically speed up the pace of development in Central Javanese (and Indonesian) traditional arts so as to be, as he put it “in accord with the modern spirit” (in Rustopo 1990:83). Rustopo reports that when Humardani became the official head of ASKI in 1975 and focused his efforts at modernizing the arts directly upon young students, several Javanese students experienced a kind of culture shock, being confused and bewildered due to being raised almost exclusively within the bounds of traditional Javanese music, and then being expected to serve as the artistic van guard for some new, indistinct form of expression. It is understandable then, that some of the most radical works and approaches to come out of ASKI Solo at the time would be by those composers and individuals already out of their element, namely the Balinese. Uprooted and surrounded by musicians and faculty that, in the beginning, had little knowledge of traditional Balinese performing arts, the Balinese composers were less likely to feel bound to any specific regional traditional form, and prior to Humardani’s urging were already experimenting with ways to combine Balinese and


Javanese musical forms and concepts (see the discussion of Sukerta’s Asanawali in Appendix A). By the time Humardani had become head of ASKI (while remaining in the position of head of PKJT) his aesthetics were fully aligned with a kind of internationalized approach to abstract expressionism in which experimentation represented modernization and artistic sophistication. These aesthetics favored a distancing from traditional forms and a stress upon the voice of the individual idiosyncratic artist rather than the communal voice of the proletariat.164 In the late 1970s and early 1980s he aimed these rather vague philosophies at a young generation of composers, choreographers, and dalang with all the energy of his personality and the power of his position. What resulted were self-consciously experimental and individualistic works which highlighted a new composition process, a strident and energetic experimental search for new forms and modes of expression, a sense of rebelliousness, and a sense of duty to do something new. Emerging in the laboratory of post coup ASKI under the directorship of Humardani, composers in Solo first defined what would come to be known as musik kontemporer and the approaches and aesthetics surrounding the form. Composers at ASTI Bali, a younger sister institution, later adopted and transformed the aesthetics and approaches begun in Solo in uniquely Balinese expressions represented first in the works of Astita, Asnawa, Rai, and Windha.


Humardani had a vested interest in distancing himself from the aesthetics of the PKI party and LEKRA. Prior to his being given the directorship of ASKI he was accused of having been associated with groups sympathetic to the PKI. This delayed his becoming director for several years. This was especially ironic considering that Humardani had received funding from the Rockefeller organization for study in America. In the 1980’s it was revealed that organizations such as the MOMA, the Whitney foundation, and Rockefeller had acted as conduits for CIA funding used to support anti-communist artists in Indonesia. Humardani and others had been funded as part of America’s strategy of cultural resistance to the spread of communism in Indonesia.


Idea diffusion? It is clear that prior to the development of musik kontemporer around 1979 mainstream classical and popular Western musical styles and structures had diffused into Indonesia through channels such as radio, live performance (primarily in Jakarta and Central Java) and direct instruction in schools such as SMI (AMI). It is not clear if Western experimental and avant-garde musical ideas had diffused into the language of Indonesian new music by this time. It is clear that no sustained, large-scale transference (acculturation) of specific experimental ideas occurred. Instead of the clear and direct influence of specific experimental Western composers and compositions, certain Western-trained Indonesian composers and administrators inserted an aesthetics reminiscent of Western experimentalism, or more specifically a unique but vague combination of Western modern and postmodern concepts “in the air” of the Indonesian arts climate prior to the creation of musik kontemporer. Hardjana’s (1986) collection of composers’ notes and concert programs from the Pekan Komponis Muda only rarely includes direct mention of Western experimental practices, and in such cases almost always by Jakartan composers less involved or concerned with gamelan traditions.165 While Jakartan composers such as Raden, Sjukur, and Haryadi clearly had an exposure to and interest in Western experimental techniques it is not clear to what extent young composers trained in traditional gamelan repertoires in Solo and Denpasar were exposed to such ideas prior to the regular training of Balinese composers by these figures at STSI Solo beginning in the mid 1980s.166 The evidence suggests a low-level


Franki Raden, for example, mentions the influence of musique concrete on his work, without citing any specific works or composers (Hardjana 1986:87). 166 There were, according to Hardjana, some Western composers who taught workshops and sometimes courses in central Java (such as Jack Body) but there is not any indication that Indonesian students were being regularly exposed to Western experimental techniques. Raden worked with musicians in Solo in 1978 developing experimental techniques in the development for his soundtrack to the film


cultural diffusion between Indonesian and Western experimental musics, while specific examples of direct influence are infrequent.167 Instead we encounter the transformed and diffused influence of Western aesthetics among Indonesians trained in the West. Before and during the first years of the PKM vague sonic reference to Euro-American music was employed, but re-interpreted, in Indonesia in the aim of modernizing the arts and in creating national art forms that transcended regional expressions. At this time American and European new music was employed primarily in the aim of questioning rationality, critiquing bourgeois status-quo values, initiating social change, reducing the hierarchy of the composer and in forging a global expression. In Indonesia American and European influences were employed for realizing an almost opposite agenda: forging national identity (pengIndonesiaan), rationalizing the composition process, heightening the role of the individual, and in creating a serious art form that was not wholly dependant on older classical forms. In reviewing the interaction between the West and Indonesia leading up to the emergence of musik kontemporer we encounter the diffusion of abstract ideas, such as rationalism and modernity, rather than the sustained transference of experimental or modernistic musical forms.

1828. Raden had not been trained in the West by that time but was a student of Sjukur. Raden’s compositional method was clearly most strongly influenced by Western experimentalism. 167 Furthermore, a review of indigenous reports and texts on musik kontemporer does not reveal any direct influences, but rather discusses specific works, innovative techniques, and rehashes Humardani’s aesthetic philosophies. See for example, Sadra, 1986, and Rustopo, 1988.


2) Social Analogy168 Innovation in musical systems is often a reflection of social formations and transformations. Specific cultural conditions lead to the nearly synchronous development of musical experimentalism in Indonesia and the West169 and we may ask whether the sonic similarities alluded to above may be due to, besides limited cultural diffusion, the development of comparable social structures and transformations. We should also ask, are the social movements and trends which often go by the same names in both Indonesia and Euro-America indeed the same things? Many Balinese informants suggested that Bali, like Euro-America, has undergone social and cultural transformations variously termed moderen, postmoderen, and globalisasi. These terms are often translated into English as: modern, postmodern, and globalization. Many informants used these terms to suggest that Bali has a kind of cultural affinity to Euro-America and that the two areas are in a sense cultural equals coexisting within these, assumed universal, social and cultural conditions. In this section I will discuss and problematize how such terms as “modern” and “postmodern” are often defined in the West and in what ways similar Indonesian terms do or do not align with EuroAmerican understandings. Here, we might use the frame of “social analogy” as a means through which to contextualize terms which too often and too easily drift, sometimes being used to suggest connections between very different trends and discourses. In the preface I


An account of musical change and social analogy is provided by Tenzer (2000) in his comparison of social transformation in Vienna during the second-half of the 18th century and Denpasar in the second half of the 20th century.168 Tenzer suggests that the musical scenes in both cities were marked by their musical “self-containedness and widely accepted aesthetic precepts” (Tenzer 2000:133). Continuing, Tenzer says that both the Viennese classical style and gong kebyar developed at a time when aristocracy and patronage were on the decline and music developed secular meanings and contexts alongside its previous sacred and court meanings. In both areas courts were being replaced by nationalistic communities and new forms of government. In both locales the composer grew in status and “musical style changed rapidly in response to individuals’ contributions” (ibid:134). The development of score publishing in 18th century Europe is seen by Tenzer to be analogous to the development of the cassette industry in Bali during the 1970s and 1980s. 169 Although developments in Indonesia began somewhat later.


casually referenced Humardani’s description of the activities of the KBW as being “avantgarde.” Yet, Humardani was speaking primarily to a class of wealthy, aristocratic social elites for whom anything “Western” (including the words “avant-garde”) was synonymous with modernization, progress and, more importantly, social status. In this case, while the use of the same term might suggest a social analogy between Indonesia and the West, the social movements and transformations behind the usage of the terms are quite different. Below, I paint a general picture of the experimental music scenes in Indonesia and America/Europe during the 20th century, discussing the historical conditions involved in their formation and the use of such terms as modern and postmodern.

The Western Avant-Garde Music Scene Modernism Born170 characterizes modernism as a composite term for “the new aesthetic movements across the arts that date from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, among them, in the visual and literary arts, symbolism, expressionism, cubism, futurism, constructivism, dada and surrealism” (Born 1995:40). Modernism in the arts is essentially a negative reaction against previous forms, primarily romanticism, and earlier, classicism. Modernity also represented a negative reaction towards modernity itself: industrialization,


My account of the historical conditions which lead to American and European avant-garde and experimental music (both sometimes referred to as avant-garde) which musik kontemporer often resembles, is taken largely from Georgina Born’s Rationalizing Culture, IRCAM, Boulez and the Institutionalization of the Musical Avant-Garde (1995). Born suggests that from the early sixties to the eighties Euro/American experimental music was developing along, or was the result of, the interaction between two major flows of thought: modernism and postmodernism. Here, I use Born’s definitions of modernism and postmodernism as representing common conflations of various and often contradictory trends and thoughts


bureaucracy, regulated workdays and time schemes, etc. Visual modernism rejects realist representation in favor of abstraction; musical modernism is characterized by the abandonment of the tonal language in atonality and then through dodecaphony. “In all the modernist arts there thus arose a self-conscious experimentation with form founded on a sense of the necessity of revolutionizing the ‘language’ of art itself” (ibid). Many modernists (excepting the surrealists), were interested in technology and developments in the sciences and believed in a union of art and science and through this association expounded a rhetoric of progress, innovation and change. The music theories and ideas developed by the Futurists influenced composers to look to technology in their search for new sound materials, a movement which greatly influenced the development in France of musique concrete. A central feature of modernism is its alienation of mass audiences, its theoreticism, a great investment in manifestos and a trend for theory to determine practice. Some modernist art had a political agenda, generally toward libertarian attacks on official institutional structures and bourgeois art and a subversion of the (aesthetic) status quo. Modernist art was therefore occasionally characterized as having asocial or elitist cultural politics. For many modernists, aesthetic experiment served as a kind of social or political critique. The modernist avantgarde, a term having its origins in early French socialism (ibid. 43) is historically associated with political radicalism, and had an image of being anti-totalitarian and antifascist due to its being banned by both Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. Musically, modernism is associated with the disintegration of tonality in Schoenberg, Webern, and Berg (the Second Viennese School—hardly social radicals) and the invention of serialism. Musical modernism was negational in its rejection of tonality (and therefore popular music) but rational and structuralist in its development of a “new language.” Much of the late modernist avant-garde


was characterized by extreme rationalism, such as Babbitt’s mathematical rigor and Stockhausen’s attempt at the total control of timbre.171

Postmodernism Postmodernism generally refers to new cultural forms that have developed since the 1960s and 1970s. Postmodernism defines itself in distinction to modernism by its “negation of modernist negation.” Postmodernism has partially been concerned with the retrieval of the languages that modernism negated. In line with its negating of modernist negation, postmodernism has been characterized as being non-elitist, embracing popular culture, and in being sensitive to difference involving “an optimistic pluralism and populism, a celebration of consumption and desire” (ibid:47). Musically, postmodernism is characterized by chance, irrationality, and aleatoric methods – musics which were more often called “experimental” rather than avant-garde. Experimental music was epitomized, since the 1950s, by John Cage and later his followers including Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff, Earle Brown, and later La Monte Young. Experimentalists often wrote simplistic graphic or textual scores in contrast to the nearly unperformable complexity of the rigorous serialists’ scores. Cage experimented with repetition, cyclical approaches to time and called for “non-intention” and purposeless music. Sometimes influenced by non-Western musics and the young field of ethnomusicology, experimentalists tended to emphasize the “performance process, music as an unfolding and participatory ritual event structured by time” and wanted to “lessen the hierarchical musical division of labor between composer as creative authority, performer as


Yet, modernism was also eclectic and serialism was not hegemonic, as evidenced by the works of composers such as Stravinsky and Bartok who actively incorporated folk, popular and non-Western musics.


constrained interpreter, and passive audience” (ibid:58). Experimentalism further had deep connections to abstract dance and plastic arts; these connections lead to the development of performance and conceptual compositions, installations and happenings. Among the younger generation (late 1960s including Wolff, Cardew etc.) were politically active composers who, through collaborative and collective expression, experimented with and commented on collective and democratic social relations. Western contemporary experimental music began to perceive itself, increasingly through the second half of the twentieth century, as a “globally-based entity distinct from Western art music as a whole, with its own codes, rituals, values and so forth” (Tenzer 2000b:3). Yet, this development is closely tied to earlier experimentalism in the United States, primarily Cage and his contemporaries, often termed modernism. Historically, the dividing lines between modernism and postmodernism have been drawn and reified, after the fact, by the exclusionary tendencies of disciplines and creators. In Indonesia, we find elements from a cross-section of thought and trends which in America have been variously labeled modern or postmodern, collectivity known in Bahasa Indonesia as “moderen.”

The Indonesian Experimental Scene After the Indonesian revolution the nationalists pursued several sweeping social changes, these included: rapid economic development, public education for all, the end of the previous monopoly of knowledge by a court centered elite and the standardization and enforced use of a modernized national language. Indonesia in the second half of the twentieth century, like most of the world, has experienced rapid technological modernization, the influx of the mass media, urbanization, intrusion of transnational capitalistic structures, a general transition from ethnic groups to (urbanized) social groups, and a redefinition of


national identity in terms of globalization. Generally, younger generations are increasingly alienated to regional traditional forms as they develop their identities in national and global frames -- speaking Indonesian rather than regional languages (Javanese, Balinese, Sundanese etc.), listening to pan-Indonesian (or world/Western) pop/rock forms etc.. According to Becker these sweeping and rapid social changes occurred too quickly for the traditional arts to adjust or to evolve evenly in accordance with oral traditions and that “in a curious way [the traditional arts were increasingly] out of phase with the thrust of the culture as a whole” (Becker 1980:101). To attempt to close the gap between modern Indonesian society and the field of the arts administrators such as Humardani and Bandem suggested that the performing arts be constantly modernized in accordance with Indonesian culture as a whole, and without constant updating, it would become irrelevant172. According to Humardani:

Traditional art remains alive because of the potency of its creativity at each moment, although the form and result of this creativity will certainly differ in each period because of the elements of change in culture. . . As long as the rules of laras, pathet, and the like may not be violated then present-day karawitan is a product of the creativity of the past – meaning, that it is not the karawitan we can call our own, but ‘old’ karawitan. (translated and quoted in Roth, 1986:61)

Influential artists and administrators in the 1970s felt that the traditional arts needed to be updated, developed (dibangunkan), and aligned with modernity. In the economic, industrial and governmental sectors, pembangunan (development) was often directly associated with Westernization and the adoption of Western modes of production. Humardani was a central figure in offering a vision of a uniquely Indonesian kind of modernization and development. In Humardani’s view, Indonesian cultural development did not necessarily mean adopting Western “modern” attitudes or approaches because in his opinion modernity was a global

Although, the ways in which Bandem and Humardani have framed these two positions has been very different.


state and not necessarily an exclusively Western philosophy (ibid:243). Modernization for many of the influential thinkers of 1970s Indonesia meant adopting a “world orientation.” Traditional arts should not simply be preserved but constantly be “updated” (penjarwaan) at least partially in reference to global forms in order to build and represent a “present-day, modern, contemporary Indonesian culture” (ibid) – in a process Humardani called “pengIndonesiaan” (Roth 1986:267). Producers of musik kontemporer since the 1970s have regularly claimed it as the foremost musical example of Indonesia’s modernity. Yet despite the claims to modernity, Indonesian performing arts such as musik kontemporer do not neatly conform to Western examples of modernity, the modern or modernism. Comparing the two scenes from a longue duree perspective, both areas experienced analogous (but asynchronous) transformations in the re-orientation of patronage, development of new governmental forms, development or introduction of new technologies, increased secular investment in the arts, assimilation to regular work days and regularized governmental administration and social disruption in the form of rural-urban population flows. More recently, and more synchronously, both societies have experienced the increasing spread of information and mass media technologies, global flows, and the effects of transnational capitalism. Aligning Indonesia and Euro-America synchronously we find that musik kontemporer developed approximately when notions and expressions termed “postmodern” emerged in the West. However, Indonesian kontemporer aesthetics, discourse, and composition resemble elements of what are termed modernist and postmodernist discourses and aesthetics in Euro-America and in a curious way reveal the limiting and problematic nature of these terms in the West. Similarities linking musik kontemporer and discourses in Euro-America often termed modernism include: 1) the abandonment of the tonal language in modernism and the move


away from, in musik kontemporer for gamelan, strict rules of pathet, laras and form, 2) modernism’s investment in theoretical texts, and the general will-to-discourse173 within the Indonesian school system, i.e. the requirement of composers to explain their works in written theses, 3) the tendency in modernism for theory and rationalizing to precede practice, and an analogous trend in Indonesian musik kontemporer, 4) the general decline of importance of mass audiences during modernism and within musik kontemporer scenes. Similarities linking musik kontemporer and trends in Euro-America often called postmodernism include: 1) an interest and embrace of the philosophies and music of other (non-Western) cultures by postmodern composers and a similar interest in foreign traditions by Indonesian composers, 2) Western postmodern composers increasingly perceive themselves as working in a global setting, creating universal modes of expression rather than expressing nationalistic philosophies or aesthetics while Indonesian musik kontemporer composers becoming interested in creating a form of music that is not necessarily associated with a single ethnicity or regional form, and 3) postmodern composers did not negate the value of traditional forms, nor have musik kontemporer composers.

Social Analogy? Concepts and aesthetics which developed slowly in the West entered Indonesian discourse and art trends quickly, from differing directions and in different orders. Musik kontemporer align as much with Western notions modernity as with postmodernity.

Writing about music had, long before Humardani’s stewardship of ASKI, and Bandem’s of ASTI, been an important part of Indonesian music culture. However, under Humardani students were more strongly encouraged to engage in discourses about music and to think and write more critically about music. Perlman (1993:79) notes that Humardani encouraged regular evening discussion sessions on karawitan in which such masters as Martopangrawit answered theoretical questions posed by students. See also Rustopo (1990:194) concerning Humardani’s belief that modern arts need to be “justified through theory.”


Postmoderen is used less frequently and less widely than moderen in Bali, more often being used by younger university trained artists with more extensive experience working with Western artists. Generally, postmoderen is used to reference more obviously absurd productions, often those which in no-way maintain a connection to Balinese conceptions of agama, religion, or niskala, the realm of immateriality. Some Balinese composers, such as Yudane and Sadra, have suggested that they are living alongside the rest of the world in postmodernism. However, Balinese postmodernism is unique in that the Balinese are simultaneously attempting to forge metanarratives and totalizing theories of music while simultaneously pulling them apart. As an example of this kind of schizophrenia in discourse, I noted that roughly half of the karawitan department faculty at STSI Bali was involved in the effort to reify and formalize the concept of the tri-angga formal structure while the other half was actively dismantling it in both theory and practice. It is as if the Balinese were living, intellectually, under the historical/philosophical conditions of modernism and postmodernism all at once. This state may be captured in the more common Indonesian “moderen” Rather than accepting the standard translation of the word as “modern” it may be better to retain its Indonesianized spelling and read into it all of the complexities and subtleties described above. Moderen-ity represents unique contemporary Indonesian understandings, intersections, interpretations, reinterpretations, transformations and selective uses of local and foreign concepts. The complicated relationship between artistic and social trends in the development of new experimental music in Indonesia and America/Europe problematizes the employment of a theory of social analogy as a means to explain the similarities between Western and Indonesian musical experimentalism. Rather than adopting any one theory as a complete tool for understanding the development of musik kontemporer and its relationship to Western


artistic trends, I suggest that a combination of complicated and interweaving understandings is the most effective; limited social analogy, limited idea diffusion, and, importantly, the plurigenesis of ideas independent of direct cultural interaction


POST PKM INFLUENCES AND DEVELOPMENTS Western Composers Since the mid 1980s increased, traceable, and direct diffusion of compositional ideas between Indonesian and non-Indonesian composers has occurred. In 1986, by the time the musik kontemporer movement was already at least seven years old, the first International Gamelan Festival was held in Vancouver. This four-day festival included concerts and symposia in which traditional and experimental works were performed and discussed. Energized and inspired by this new music, American and Indonesian composers helped organize the 1991 New Music Indonesia tour and later the three residencies of Indonesian experimental composers: I Wayan Sadra, Sutrisno, and Supanggah at major American Universities and arts institutions. Since the mid 1980s young Balinese composers have frequently interacted and collaborated with Western composers and artists. The composers associated with the American based Gamelan Sekar Jaya, primarily Michael Tenzer, Wayne Vitale and Evan Ziporyn, and the German composer Dieter Mack (who occasionally advises masters level composition students at STSI Solo) have had a considerable and direct impact on young Balinese composers. Since the 1990s these American composers have worked over sustained periods of time with Balinese composers, both in America and Bali, in creating new works for gamelan. Many Balinese composers have been influenced by the compositions of Vitale and Tenzer. According to Yudane, he regularly consulted Vitale in the development of his kreasi baru work Merdana Seketi.


I won the first prize at the PKB for Merdana Seketi. When composing it, I spent a lot of time with Wayne [Vitale]. Wayne provided me with a lot of theory about kotekan and structure. He would give me advice: “Yes, after this section you could do this, or try an orchestration like this, this is a good kotekan but. . .” I asked him a lot of questions. After rehearsals I would go to him, “Wayne, listen to this and tell me what you think.” And then we would criticize my ideas. (I Wayan Yudane, personal communication, December 2001)

The works of both Tenzer and Vitale are primarily idiomatically Balinese and are popular among many Balinese composers. Rather than openly copying Western forms, Balinese composers more often borrow and appropriate the idiosyncrasies and, if it can be said, the Americanisms in Tenzer’s and Vitale’s works for Balinese instruments.

Tracing Javanese Elements in Balinese Musik Kontemporer

Since the mid 1980s ethnically Javanese elements have been incorporated into Balinese musik kontemporer to a greater extent than the musics of any other non-Balinese culture. STSI Bali houses two full central Javanese gamelan and hires three expert full time Javanese music faculty: two karawitan and one pedalangan faculty. Javanese gamelan traditions have had a major impact on traditional Balinese music and Balinese music theory in modern times, largely due to the influence at KOKAR and STSI of the teachers and theorists I Wayan Geria, I Wayan Beratha, and I Nyoman Rembang all of whom had experience in Java or had taught at ASKI and KOKAR Solo before ASTI Bali was established. These teachers brought many Javanese theoretical concepts back with them, including theories of scale and mode (patet), rhythm and ratio (irama), and structure. Prior to the incorporation of Javanese terminology most Balinese tuning systems were simply categorized as saih, a term representing the characteristic tuning of a type of gamelan. This meant that the tuning of gender wayang, for example, was described as “saih gender


wayang;” rather than being associated with a broader theoretical term, slendro, as it is today. Today almost all Balinese ensembles (including jegog174) are now classified as being either in slendro or pélog. Patet, which by the mid 20th century was a highly refined theoretical concept in Java, in Bali was known as patutan and was less explicit.175 Today the Balinese often use the word patet, and mainly through the resurgence in interest in seven-tone ensembles such as semar pegulingan saih pitu, gamelan semara dana, and to a lesser extent gamelan slonding, gambang, and luang the Balinese conception of patet has expanded.176 Over the past 25 years Balinese theories of mode have expanded from the recognition of only the five or so classical modes derived from gambuh to around ten modes identified by Beratha on the gamelan semara dana. In 1952, at the age of 22, the Balinese musician I Nyoman Rembang became a regular faculty member at the national conservatory of the arts in Solo where he was influenced by Javanese theoretical concepts, teaching methods, and repertoire. When the Balinese conservatory of the arts (KOKAR) was opened in 1963, Rembang entered as senior faculty, becoming an influential theorist whose concepts of rhythm and mode, developed largely while in Java, greatly influenced his many students including Asnawa, Windha, and Astita, among others, in whose kreasi and kontemporer compositions the direct result of Rembang’s theoretical influence is palpable. Rembang’s theories of Balinese mode were


I Wayan Beratha and Asnawa identified what they called a “jegog” scale on the seven-tone saih pitu and semara dana ensembles. Although the typical pitch structure of jegog is impossible to accurately represent in standard seven tone pélog, Beratha theoretically captures it within the larger system by identifying it as an example of pélog miring. 175 Sukerta reports that until today the gambuh repertoire as performed outside of the villages of Batuan and Pedugan are not associated with any modal naming system, but that each piece is associated with a unique saih not necessarily conceived of having a theoretical connection to a seventone pélog system. 176 Unlike the Javanese system, Balinese pieces in the same basic five-tone patutan that accent or stress different pitches are not categorized into different modal subsets. There are naming distinctions for this scenario in Javanese gamelan; slendro manyura stresses pitches six and two while slendro sanga stresses pitches one and five, for example.


heavily influenced by his experience playing the ancient Balinese gambuh music as well as by theories of patet which he studied while in Java. Rembang furthermore refined the Balinese concept of laya, or tempo/rhythm – a previously existing Balinese term without an explicit theory. Rembang identified eight levels of laya, developing a theory clearly influenced by the Javanese concept of irama, the theory of rhythmic and tempo relationships.177 The recent development of the sandhya gita vocal chorus is heavily indebted to Javanese innovations in vocal music. 178 Furthermore the works of some ISI composers, notably Windha’s179, are heavily influenced by Javanese (primarily Solonese) court repertoire and Balinese composers often “steal” and arrange Javanese vocal melodies on gong kebyar within their kreasi baru. Specific examples include Windha’s borrowing of Martopangrawit’s Parisuka, a Javanese kreasi baru work in 3/4 time, in his final ujian work Kindama (1985). Windha appropriated the balungan (core melody) and gerong (vocal arrangement) of Martopangrawit’s work while changing the lyrics and transferring the balungan to gangsa and calung. In the 1960s the Javanese dolanan melody Lelaledung, a children’s lullaby, was incorporated into a Balinese kreasi baru entitled Guntul Anglayan by the Balinese composer Putu Sumiasa who had boarded for some time with Nartosabdho (personal communication, Pande Made Sukerta, August 2004). Early examples of such

The influence of Javanese concepts of irama seems evident in at least one of Rembang’s composition (with Sinti), Wilet Mayura, in tempo and density shifts within the pengawak. 178 Windha frequently borrows and transforms Javanese vocal melodies (gerong) in his composition of Balinese sandhya gita. In one rehearsal I attended Windha criticized and changed the vocal line another composer had created for its being “too Balinese.” When asked what this meant exactly he responded that Balinese vocal melodies tend to be too “gantung” (lit. hanging, stasis) while Javanese gerong are more through-composed and “balanced” (imbang). Both Windha and Yudane, among other composers, owned books of Javanese vocal arrangements which were frequently referenced during the composition process. Prior to Windha’s experiments with Javanese materials, Pande Made Sukerta incorporated Javanese style vocal arrangements within some of his early kebyar works, including his Asanawali, discussed in Appendix A. 179 Windha had studied Javanese gamelan in Solo and taught the Javanese ensemble at STSI for a brief period before the arrival of Saptono in 1993.


borrowings reflect standard composition practice of twentieth century Balinese kreasi baru. That is, the literal transference of materials between repertoires.180 The Javanese materials incorporated in a dance work by the Balinese Sutasoma art group represents a more complex example. This work, also entitled Sutasoma, was first performed at the PKB in 2001 and featured dancers performing and amorously embracing on an oversized iron gong placed on the stage.181 The musical accompaniment for the work was originally composed by I Wayan Sadra and performed by the Sono Seni ensemble in Solo. Sections of the music, which employed a small Javanese gamelan and combined slendro and pélog tunings was clearly adopted from one or either of two traditional Javanese pieces/repertoires: the Sampak Galong:

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as well as the gamelan kodok ngorek, which traditionally incorporates both slendro and pélog instruments. In the 2003 PKB performance the work was then re-composed and performed by Balinese students (led by the Javanese composer Saptono) at ISI Bali. For this second incarnation the Balinese and Saptono included a more angular melody182, greater improvisation for performers and several up-tempo kotekan sections [CDI Track 1].183 In the


This process of composition is most clearly described in McPhee’s (1966) discussion of Lotring’s compositions for pelegongan. 181 The perceived sacrilegious act of defiling a gong did much to draw audiences, although the performers claimed it was not a sacrilege as the gong was made of iron and had never been ceremonially blessed. 182 Sumarsam (personal communication, March, 2005) suggests that this melody is a variation of a traditional Central Javanese children’s song. 183 It is ironic that the Balinese composer Sadra would incorporate distinctly Javanese materials for a Balinese kontemporer dance, while the Javanese composer Saptono would work to further “Bali-nize” the work for the second performance. Such fluid inter-ethnic borrowings demonstrate the extent to which ethnic identities are sometimes elided in musik kontemporer.


discussion of Sukerta’s Asanawali below I investigate more deeply the incorporation of Javanese elements in a specific Balinese kontemporer work.

OTHER SCENES Central Java While my primary focus in this work is on the new music scene in Bali, I will present a limited discussion of the experimental music scene in Java since the mid 1980s. This scene has significantly influenced the development of modern and experimental arts in Bali and provides an interesting model for comparison. Central Java is of particular relevance as a number of leading contemporary Balinese composers (including Windha, Arnawa, Suryatini, Beratha, and others) have either worked or studied at STSI Solo. There are also a significant number of Balinese composers and teachers living in Java, including I Wayan Sadra and Pande Made Sukerta, composers who have made significant contributions to the development of musik kontemporer in both Java and Bali

STSI Solo Several Balinese composers have been influenced by Javanese composers, theories, repertoires, and pedagogies while studying or teaching at STSI Solo, and in an account of the effect of this institution on the creation of Balinese musik kontemporer it is important to note the aesthetic atmosphere which predominates at the school. STSI Solo composers often comment that in order to be truly creative composers must free themselves from the bonds of tradition. This is most explicitly stated by Rustopo:


The need to be innovative or to modernize springs from new conceptions. To ‘do’ innovation or modernization one must free ones’ self from the fetters of tradition. (Rustopo 1990:34).

This was indeed the philosophy espoused by both permanent and visiting composition and analysis faculty at STSI Solo during my research, including Rustopo, A.L Suwardi, Wayan Sadra, Pande Made Sukerta, Rahayu Supanggah, Dieter Mack, Suka Hardjana, and Slamet Sjukur. Besides fostering a freedom from traditional forms and processes, STSI Solo faculty have long taken seriously Dewantara’s and others’ call for the inclusion of “select foreign elements” to be used in Indonesian new music. However, STSI Solo faculty have developed processes to purposefully transform or disguise the use of foreign elements in their new works.184 The assimilation of foreign elements in traditional karawitan in Java and Bali has been frequent and continuous.185 For composers such as Sadra the conscious effort of “breaking,” transforming, or purposefully misunderstanding foreign musics and the rules that govern them is important in the creation of truly innovative new music. Sadra terms this method and form “transmedium” by which he means an aesthetic and compositional process to allow for the incorporation of various traditional and foreign forms and a method by which these elements are integrated, disguised, and transformed. Since the 1960s Humardani was deeply interested in Balinese and other regional, non-Javanese forms.186 In his early choreographies he experimented with combining


See for instance Rustopo’s discussion of the “sublimasi” (sublimation) of foreign elements in new music (Rustopo 1990:103). 185 However, in these traditional examples, it is often the form itself which performs the work of disguising and transforming foreign elements, as in the example of Ladrang Siyem composed in the 1930’s by Solonese court musicians, in which the Thai royal anthem is transformed and distorted by the ladrang structure into a form which is unrecognizable by most Thai musicians. 186 Humardani maintained close friendships with several Balinese in the villages of Saba and Tejakula and regularly visited Bali throughout his career. Between the early 1970’s and Humardani’s death in 1983 the performance and study of Balinese music at ASKI Solo was extremely active. ASKI Solo Students and faculty took study trips to Bali (primarily to Tejakula and Saba) and in at least one


Balinese dance with Javanese accompaniment and vice versa and was generally interested in combining Javanese and Balinese musical elements. It was during his tenure as the head of PKJT, and later ASKI, that several young Balinese composers and performers came to teach and study in Solo.187 Humardani’s interest in combining regional forms was manifested in his policy and rhetoric of “keakraban Indonesia” (Indonesian friendliness). This policy resulted in the increased enrollment of non-Javanese students, the hiring of non-Javanese faculty, and the introduction of regular instruction of non-Javanese musics.

Tracing Balinese Elements in Javanese Musik Kontemporer Since the 1960s several Javanese composers have incorporated elements of Balinese traditional music in their experimental works. The occasional referencing of a generalized “Balinese style” (“gaya Bali”) is present in earlier works by composers such as Nartosabdho.188 However, these early references were rarely informed by anything more than a casual acquaintance with Balinese music, and were mostly limited to the conceptualization

instance competed with a Balinese village gamelan in a traditional temple mabarung contest, reportedly “beating” the Balinese group (personal communication, Pande Made Sukerta, August 2004). In the late 1970’s the ASKI Solo Balinese gamelan released a cassette featuring traditional and new works (personal communication, Sukamso, February 2004). The recording reveals a high level of playing and a depth of understanding of Balinese forms, with certain elements (such as the groove of kempli strokes), remaining deliciously Javanese. ISI Bali faculty member Gusti Sudarta reports that after Humardani’s death many of the Balinese then enrolled in programs at STSI Solo returned to Bali without graduating, anticipating that they would not receive the support and attention that they had enjoyed during Humardani’s tenure as director (personal communication, Gusti Sudarta, May 2004). 187 The most prominent among these Balinese being Pande Made Sukerta, Made Lasmawan and later Wayan Sadra. 188 Clear Balinese musical influence is evident in Nartosabdho’s works: Tari Bali, Arum Manis, Sapu Tanganku and Wandali. The latter is a combination of the words Jawa (Java), Sunda, and Bali. For this work Nartosabdho combined musical elements from all three regions. Typically the reference to Balinese music is made in the form of kebyar-esque phrases on saron instruments. Each of the tunes are light in style, considered popular dolanan works, and were occasionally used during gara-gara episodes in his wayang.


of Balinese music as being loud and fast. Beginning during the PKJT project, around 1975, Balinese students and faculty began regularly teaching Balinese traditional music to a young generation of emerging Javanese composers. These composers, equipped with a more sophisticated understanding of Balinese traditional music, theory and compositional form and with young Balinese composer/performers at their disposal, began incorporating Balinese musical elements within their new works. Balinese musical influence is most clearly demonstrated in the works of B. Subono, the prolific Javanese composer, choreographer and dalang. Beginning in the early 1970s Subono had come into contact with Balinese music primarily through compositional interactions with Pande Made Sukerta in Rahayu Supanggah’s various groups. Between 1977 and 1983 Subono studied Balinese music seriously at STSI with teachers including Sukerta, Geria, Beratha, Gede Manik and Rembang. Subono took part in regular Balinese music performances in Java and was involved in several two-week long study trips in Bali during the time.189 The influence of Balinese music is evident within Subono’s first kontemporer works. In an early work, Suara Pencon, presented at the PKM, Subono makes clear references to Balinese trompong phrases, at times combining them with phrases and motives borrowed from the ceremonial Javanese gamelan sekaten. In this work and in earlier works such as the musical accompaniment to the Wayang Buda Balinese musical influence is found in the use of time-keeping kajar instruments. Subono suggests that this is actually a combination of Balinese musical feeling and the structure of static musical accompaniment used in traditional Javanese palaran vocal arrangements. In palaran the solo voice is highlighted and is given considerable rhythmic freedom, under which the gamelan “hangs” on the current dominant tone of the vocal melody. In this texture (and in the srepegan form)

As did several other prominent Javanese composers and musicians from STSI Solo, including: Supanggah, Sukamso, Santosa, Suwardi, Harjito, Rustopo and Supardi among others.


the kenong and kempul play at a faster rate than in fixed forms such as ladrang. Having a kajar play twice as fast as the kenong suggests a hybrid Java-Bali feeling for Subono, who calls this style garap palaran-balungan.190 . A Contemporary Example While some Javanese student composers at STSI Solo quote Balinese musical elements in an obvious and undeveloped way, certain composers have used Balinese concepts and methods in a transformed manner. Following Sadra’s “transmedium” approach many young composers aim to deeply transform, obscure or abstract foreign elements to an almost undetectable degree. A short example of this is found in the experiments of a young finalsemester karawitan student (2004), Sumianto. In early compositional sketches which later became absorbed into his final ujian komposisi, Sumianto transformed elements of Balinese music to a considerably sophisticated degree. Having lived in Bali for some time and closely observed several gender wayang rehearsals with Ketut Suryatini, then a masters student at STSI Solo, Sumianto absorbed elements of Balinese gender wayang technique illustrated below in a short excerpt of his compositional sketch.


Subono frequently employs this style in his many dance works, sometimes accompanied by Balinese gambuh flutes. In his contemporary wayang accompaniments, many of which were created during his period of collaboration with the famous central Javanese dalang Manteb, Subono frequently makes reference to Balinese music. Specifically, within gara-gara episodes Subono makes repeated references to Balinese kebyar textures. His penchant for composing odd length gatra (i.e. 5, 6, or 8 beats instead of the standard 4) in wayang accompaniments is again an influence of the odd and irregular length of kebyar phrases, which are not bound to fixed forms, as is much Javanese music. See also Subono’s works Griting Rasa, Tumiling and Dalang Goyang for Balinese musical influence.


Figure 3.1. Sumianto’s “Transmedium” Example


Balinese gender wayang techniques involve an active right hand, playing elaborate kotekan patterns, over a slower moving left-hand melody. Javanese gender exhibits essentially the opposite arrangement in which the left hand performs a more active role in elaboration, while also sounding important structural (seleh) tones. In Sumianto’s arrangement for Javanese gender, the approach is more similar to Balinese gender wayang than traditional Javanese playing techniques. The left hand plays a rhythmically stable melody reminiscent of a left hand gender wayang pokok melody. Furthermore, in the indicated section, the gamut of Sumianto’s melody coincides exactly with that of the Balinese gender wayang, not a conscious decision, according to Sumianto. Finally, certain motives in the right hand are reminiscent of standard gender wayang polos figures, such as the 121.121 pattern in the second half of the second cengkok.

The Influence of Jakarta in the Development of Musik Kontemporer When visiting modern, bustling Jakarta one wonders what relevance it has to the very different cultural scene in Bali or Central Java. The sense that Jakarta is a different world is heightened by a visit to TIM, the Taman Ismail Marzuki cultural center and the Jakarta Institute of the Arts (IKJ, Institut Kesenian Jakarta). The school, which provides degrees at the BA level, focuses on Western contemporary and classical music to a far greater extent than traditional Indonesian forms. The final projects produced by its music and dance majors seem almost indistinguishable from works that might be produced in Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong or New York.191 It seems ironic that the center of Indonesian politics,


It is notable in student’s final projects at IKJ the extent to which Indonesia is seemingly not present in Jakarta. This is due to at least two factors. Firstly the student body is made up primarily of


economics, and governmental cultural institutions, should absorb and neutralize all of the particular ethnicities that enter it, producing largely globalized, homogenized expressions. It is paradoxical that Jakarta, almost devoid of its own unique form of cultural expression, should wield such cultural influence upon the particular regional cultures which pay it tribute.192 Jakarta is the center of Western (classical, popular, and jazz) musicianship, training, performance, and recording/production in Indonesia. The Jakartan radio and television orchestras perform frequently and most music produced for television comes out of Jakartan studios. Jakarta has historically been the center of major sources of patronage for young composers and experimentalists from throughout Indonesia. Most of the “main stage” venues for new music are located in Jakarta and most governmental and independent forms of patronage for experimental music, theater, and dance are located in Jakarta including: TIM, IKJ, the Gedung Kesenian Jakarta, Teater Koma, the British Council, the Goethe Institute, the Komunitas Utan Kayu, Kelola, the Japan Foundation, and the Ford Foundation193 among

Jakartans. These are children, most commonly, of Indonesian immigrants to Jakarta, many from central Java and Sumatra. The children retain little of their family’s original ethnic identity and culture and they typically cannot speak more than a smattering of their ethnic language (i.e. Javanese), but rather speak exclusively Jakartan Indonesian. Secondly, the curriculum at IKJ is designed to create creative individuals, rather than bearers of a specific ethnic tradition. IKJ dance students for instance are required to take a “creative choreography” course each semester, for a total of eight semesters, while they are only required to take three semesters of any number of “ethnic” dance classes. This is the opposite of the curriculum structure in Bali, where the mastering of traditional Balinese dance, rather than the development of individual creativity, is the foremost priority. 192 See Raden, 2001, for a more detailed account of the development of experimental music in Jakarta. 193 During my research the Jakarta Arts Building sponsored various new and experimental music, dance, and theater performances weekly, both domestic and foreign. Koma Theater is one of the leading theater companies in Indonesia lead by N. Riantiarno. The British Council and the Goethe Institute primarily promote English and German culture (respectively) internationally. However, both institutions occasionally sponsor intercultural collaborations and tours with Indonesian artists. The Komunitas Utan Kayu is an artists’ community which sponsors various openings, performances, discussions and publications. The Japan Foundation is a well-endowed institution which sponsors various performances, openings, publication and projects. In 2002 the foundation underwrote the recording of a CD of Wayan Sadra’s music and has sponsored collaborations between Sadra’s Sono Seni ensemble and Japanese musicians. During my research the Ford Foundation was the most active


other smaller yayasan and organizations. Balinese and Javanese artists have regularly been invited to perform new works in Jakarta since the PKM meetings began, and the perceived authority of cosmopolitan Jakartan critics, musicians, professors, and audiences has had an impact over the ways in which experimentalism has developed throughout Indonesia. It is notable that while many Balinese performers look to Central Java, specifically Solo, as a center and source of theory about new composition, many in Solo consider Jakarta a center which has defined what is and is not standard concerning many aspects of Indonesian culture and society. According to Supanggah, former STSI Solo director:

Jakarta is the standard. It is a center of centers; government, power, business, economy, information etc. All major television stations are based in Jakarta and their signals reach throughout Indonesia. The rest of us, outside of Jakarta, are marginal. Jakartans call both people and institutions outside of Jakarta regional, that is, below those in Jakarta, those who must follow the directions of the center. ‘Regional people’ must serve the Jakartans when they visit the region. Conversely when those from the region visit the center, they must wait on the whims of the Jakartans. In facing this problem, and to be closer to the center, many of those from the region (dancers, musicians, reporters, intellectuals, bureaucrats, etc) moved in droves to Jakarta. In Indonesia usually those, including artists, who are able to get close to, serve, or ‘brown nose’ [sic] officials and those in power have often reaped material rewards, having facilities, cash, opportunities, position that those in the regions have not and quickly have been able to improve their lifestyle. (Supanggah 2003).

While this may be an exaggeration, it does represent the opinion of many musicians and artists I encountered in regional areas during my research. To perform in Jakarta is to be recognized beyond your own region and to have “made it” in the Indonesian scene. Having performed in Jakarta’s national arts institutions is a badge of respect and of worldliness even if it may be the case that a certain artist’s or group’s performance is better understood, attended, and appreciated at home. Many Indonesian experimentalists either live or have lived in Jakarta including: Sal Murgianto, Slamet Sjukur, Franki Raden, Sardono S. Kusomo, Suka Hardjana, Otto Sidartha, Tony Prabowo, Wayan Sadra, Wayan Yudane, and Kadek

foreign sponsor of Indonesian performing arts. A percentage of the foundation’s money for new projects was given to the Kelola foundation based in Jakarta and directed by Amna Kusomo.


Suardana. Jakarta has historically served as a center for the development of modern and experimental Indonesian theater and dance, and many of the leading figures in this field developed their careers in the capital.

Other Fields: The Influence of Experimental Dance on Balinese Musik Kontemporer While many young Balinese composers during my research complained of the conservatism of dancers and choreographers, there have been several instances in which Indonesian choreographers and theater directors, all being trained outside of Bali, have influenced and inspired innovations in Balinese music. Although innovations in Javanese dance and theater occurred earlier and are generally regarded as being more radical than Balinese innovations, as in Sardono W. Kusomo’s early experiments at the PKJT beginning in 1970, Balinese choreographers were involved in modern experimentation before Balinese composers. Ironically many of these innovations in dance were brought about by Wayan Dibia, who during my research was one of the most vocal detractors of young musik kontemporer composers. A major figure in the transformation of Balinese dance is Sardono himself who, beginning in the early 1970s, experimented with kecak in the village of Teges and has worked with many Balinese dancers, most notably Ketut Rina, in several other experimental projects. Sardono’s Cak Rina was created in banjar Teges Kanginan Gianyar in 1972. By the early 1970s Sardono had already moved from Central Java to Jakarta. For this first project in Bali Sardono brought with him many young dancers and choreographers from Jakarta who incorporated several innovative motions and concepts into the work. Sculpted lighting design replaced traditional fire torches. Sardono included young children, many dancing naked,


ruffling the feathers of conservative Balinese cultural commentators. Sardono and his collaborators largely left the musical element of the kecak unchanged, but infused the overall form and choreography with freedom and innovations until then unknown. Interestingly, this kecak became the most popular in Ubud among both Balinese and tourists and several other groups eventually imitated its model. The Teges kecak has since evolved on its own from Sardono’s choreography, developing further and continuously in new directions. In 1974 Sardono created a modern version of the Calonarang drama entitled Dongeng dari Dirah in the village of Kerambitan in Tabanan. This production met with great success locally and abroad and was eventually transformed into a major film with funding from the Ford Foundation. The success with which this work was received served to calm the ire of those who had complained of Sardono’s experiments in Teges and he slowly came to be idolized as an important figure in the world of Javanese, Balinese and Indonesian dance. After completing his masters in choreography at Yogyakarta I Wayan Dibia returned to Bali to create his Setan Bercanda (1978), a development of his 1974 ASTI Yogyakarta recital work, Wabah. The former work featured six male dancers clothed only at the waist with palm fronds, accompanied by a rather sparse musical ensemble: a pair of angklung gangsa, stones and bamboo sticks, textures that would later be imitated in I Ketut Gede Asnawa’s Kosong (discussed in chapter five). At the time local televised broadcasts of the performance caused a minor controversy both because of its form and topic. Several commentators railed against the work in the Bali Post (see Bali Post 8,13,14,15 November 1978). Dibia defended the work by claiming that, although it incorporated elements of various sacred Balinese dance forms (such as baris ketujeng, baris memedi and sanghyang jaran), it did not represent, as was claimed, a breaking of traditional forms. Dibia himself claims that the relative absence of new choreographies between the creation of Setan


Bercanda in 1978 and the eventual re-emergence of contemporary dance in the mid 1980s in Bali was due to choreographers’ fear of experiencing similar negative reactions from Balinese audiences. Several Balinese experimental composers have pointed out Dibia’s influence in incorporating new ideas into both music and dance in the late 1970s to mid 1980s. According to Asnawa, because ASTI was essentially a dance institute, all students, including musicians, had to participate in the dance curriculum. Dibia at the time was active in stimulating creativity and improvisation among these students, often taking them to the beach or forest and instructing them to improvise dances inspired by their surroundings. These radically new ideas which blended improvisation, individualism, and extreme freedom no doubt influenced the aesthetics of early Balinese musik kontemporer composers. In his early career Dibia resembles a figure somewhat akin to Humardani or Sardono, in that he was extremely active, disciplined, influential and charged with “modern”194 ideas and aesthetics which he had gained while studying in America (UCLA).

Chapter Summary This chapter has traced the history of the interaction between Balinese and nonBalinese groups primarily through the frame of experimental music. Similarities between Euro-American experiments and Indonesian experiments were explained partially through the concept of idea diffusion. However, in this case we might term the process “diffused idea diffusion” as the first generation of Balinese musik kontemporer composers came into contact with elements of Western experimental ideas and discourses of modernism and
“In the development of Balinese kreasi baru dance which has become increasingly active since the early 1970s there have appeared in Bali new dances which exhibit a freedom of artistic expression, a freedom similar to that which is found in American modern dance.” (Dibia 1999:79)


postmodernism primarily through Indonesian artists and bureaucrats who themselves had been trained in the West. Indonesian composers at this time rarely distinguished between Western classical or traditional repertoire (with which they had far greater, albeit limited contact), and experimental repertoire. To them, they were both equally experimental in the context of Balinese composition. However, since the PKM, Balinese composers have assimilated foreign musics and Western experimental techniques to a greater extent through their more direct interactions with foreign composers. It is sensible that those compositional concepts which in the Euro-American tradition are associated with experimentalism: new approaches to meter, timing, orchestration, timbre, electronically produced sounds etc., would continue to be incorporated into musik kontemporer to a greater extent than classical Western compositional approaches which are more concerned with melody and harmony, elements which are largely incompatible with the Indonesian slendro/pélog gamelan orchestra. In the section on social analogy I problematized and contextualized the discourses involved in describing new artistic trends since the mid twentieth century, highlighting the conceptual differences between Euro-American and Indonesian incarnations of terms such as modern (moderen) and postmodern (postmoderen). Following the more theoretical section above I presented a discussion of the second generation of musik kontemporer works and described the direct interactions between Balinese and non-Balinese composers. In the following final chapter I focus more closely on the second generation of musik kontemporer composers. This is partly due to practical reasons; I was able to witness the composition process for these works first hand and was


able to create recordings, whereas many of the first generation musik kontemporer works are either lost to time or are recorded on disintegrating reel to reel tapes.195


Two exceptions are included: Asnawa’s Kosong, recorded by Michael Tenzer in 1986, and Pande Made Sukerta’s Asanawali (included in Appendix A) recorded on the Solonese Lokananta label.


Chapter 5 Analysis of Selected Works

ISSUES IN ANALYSIS The following works were chosen for discussion and analysis not because I believe they embody inherently masterful compositional techniques and forms which can be universally appreciated, but because they most clearly illustrate the points I wish to make in my analysis and because they represent the dominant trends and discourses surrounding kreasi baru and musik kontemporer discussed in the previous chapters. My primary aim here is to provide the reader with information about the construction and shape of the works, the composition process, the role of the composer, and the motives for composition. The most relevant recent writing concerned with the musical analysis of twentieth century Balinese music is Tenzer’s Gong Kebyar (2000). The core of Tenzer’s analysis196 deals with connecting the orchestration, interpart relations, syntax, and dance/music relations in gong kebyar to older genres and repertoires which are used as source materials in the kebyar repertoire. Beyond these connections Tenzer is primarily concerned with revealing structure and symmetry at all hierarchical levels of the gong kebyar texture as well as explicating the rules that govern the syntax of melody, figuration, meter, and drumming. Tenzer analyzes the balance between tension (or cyclic quality) and release (or linear quality) while discovering “coherent structures” (on several scales). Tenzer’s meticulous method is primarily concerned with the identification and analysis of melodic contours.197 While I share Tenzer’s interest in melodic construction and the employment of referential topics, I

196 197

For a more detailed critique and review of Tenzer’s work see McGraw, 2003. Tenzer borrows and develops forms of contour analysis developed by Friedmann (1985).


focus here on previously overlooked musical elements and on the development of new compositional and orchestration techniques. In this chapter I discuss the most conservative work first. Dewa Ketut Alit’s Pengastung Kara, for the contemporary gamelan samara dana, has been termed kontemporer for its innovative modal construction. However, its formal construction, drumming, orchestration, tempo-dynamic profiles, and topics are completely Balinese and are consistent with kreasi baru and older repertoires. The KPP formal construction is more evident here than in many of the other works presented. While I investigate certain harmonic and modal elements in Pengastung Kara as examples of kontemporer technique, I present the work primarily as a contextualizing example of dominant, status quo compositional practice in contemporary Balinese music. The works which follow Pengastung Kara are extremely diverse in their construction and influences. Yet, many share certain basic characteristics, among them being: foreign influence (either in content or concept), deconstruction of the KPP form (Windha’s Lekesan being a possible exception), interest in ancient and esoteric Balinese forms, extensive use of innovative gong structures and irregular meters, abandonment of the five-tone gamelan kebyar and or strict use of the standard five-tone selisir mode.


New Approaches - Dynamics and Tempo In his Music in Bali (1966) Colin McPhee describes the performance of a certain kebyar work:
With no rhythmic support of any kind, the players must follow the leading gangsa, partly by watching, partly by ear. They must all feel in the same way the flexible, rubato nature of the passage. The charm of this episode, as played by the gamelan at Jagaraga in 1938, was irresistible. It lay partly in the melody itself, sounding thinly chiming octaves and stressed at intervals by the vibrant tones of the jublags and jegogans. But perhaps most enchanting of all was the lovely pliancy of the passage, and the perfect accord of all the players. (350)

This is the extent to which McPhee discusses the presence and role of tempo in Balinese music. His work is primarily concerned with tuning, ensemble description, and melodic contour. It is ironic that what McPhee found to be the most enchanting element of the music is completely ignored within his analysis. Tenzer deals in greater depth with the issue of dynamics and tempo, devoting ten pages to the subject in his Gong Kebyar (2000, pp. 345354); in which he provides comparative tempo and dynamic profiles and in one example (p. 346) illustrates their interrelationship. However, Tenzer does not consider these elements of music to be as significant as melodic contour. Dynamics and tempo are problematic in Balinese music because they are often more open to change in rehearsal and performance than are “the notes.” According to Tenzer:
Compositionally speaking, dynamics and tempo add to structure in a way different from other elements, in that greater performer input is the norm when they are concerned. In rehearsal, changes are more freely made to them, with or without assent from the composer(s) providing the pitches and rhythms of the “actual” music. This dispersion of creative authority suggests that control of dynamics and tempo must equally be seen as aspects of ensemble virtuosity. (345)

Dynamics and tempo do vary between performance, but probably as much (in the context of set dances) as do ugal neliti interpretations or drumming variations, both of which are core objects of Tenzer’s analysis. Why has the Western approach to Balinese music been primarily focused upon pitches and rhythms (considered “the music”), while tempo and


dynamics have been comparatively ignored?198 How important are tempo and dynamics in the Balinese conception of their music and how do these conceptions vary between genres?199 To approach the former question, consider the recordings of several Balinese informants singing selections of the standard kebyar dance work Taruna Jaya on tracks [CDI Track 2]. Each informant, recorded in separate interviews, presents essentially the same interpretation of the work. Rather than singing only melodic content (the gangsa or ugal) or drumming patterns, each musician combines snippets of melody, drumming, kotekan, and textural changes (such as sung reyongan). The exact arrangement of these elements varies between informants. However, each informant presents a faithful representation of both the dynamic and temporal profile of the selection. It is as if the drumming, elaboration, and melody exist to present the dynamics and tempo, rather than these elements existing as afterthoughts to the “actual” music. Indeed, in performance it is often a more serious flaw to be oblivious to subtle tempo and dynamic changes than it is to flub occasional notes. In observing children’s gamelan rehearsals one notes that tempo and dynamics, those elements most crucial to dancers, are often prioritized over notes, which are perfected by the instructor gradually. In the learning process it is often more important that all members of a gamelan “feel in the same way” (to again quote McPhee) these elements, than attaining an absolute perfection of notes. In rehearsal and composition actual or close to actual tempos are often used, with the appropriate dynamic and temporal waves included, while the perfection of notes occurs more slowly over the course of multiple repetitions.


Tenzer’s statement here makes perfect sense in the context of his overall analysis if the word “music” is simply replaced by “composition” here. 199 I received several ideas on the concept of dynamics and tempo in Balinese music through conversations with I Wayan Sadra and email conversation with Evan Ziporyn. I am grateful for their advice.


This is a practical inversion of theory and analysis (and, to a certain extent practical pedagogy) in Western classical traditions in which the minutiae of groove, dynamics, and ensemble coordination are often assigned a lower priority than “the notes.” In the West students take classes in melodic analysis and ear-training rather than seminars in dynamics and tempo. It is natural then, that most Western observers of Balinese music would highlight in their analysis those elements with which they are familiar and have a highly developed vocabulary for. Dynamics and tempo are difficult to write about because, while they display a wide range of variety, they are often not as discrete as pitches which coalesce into larger hierarchical structures such as contours, scales and modes etc. Balinese musicians and theorists do not employ a fully formalized and expressed theory of dynamics, but use several standard terms in rehearsal and composition to refer to dynamic relations: keras (loud), lirih, manis, diam (soft, quiet), sedeng (medium dynamic), ngucab (sforzando), ngisep (sudden decrescendo), ngeseh (acceleration and crescendo), ombak (temporary swell). There are several finer levels of dynamics which are not named or discussed but are performed almost instinctively. Dynamics are often composed into a work but are sometimes, in some genres, variable in performance. In the performance of certain set tari lepas (such as Taruna Jaya) the dynamics and tempo changes are not variable in performance but are rigorously rehearsed and memorized. In other freer dance contexts (such as topeng) dancers cue drummers to begin angsel patterns which involve both dynamic and, often, temporal fluctuations. In both traditional and kontemporer works it is typically the drummers that communicate changes in tempo and dynamics to the rest of the gamelan but the ugal player can also play this role, especially in opening kebyar sections. Balinese terms to refer to tempo changes include: becat, cepat, enggal, gelis (fast), adeng, lambat, pelan (slow), ombak, gelombang (swells), selah (timing/ensemble rhythmic


coordination/groove). Again, as in the case of dynamics, several finer gradations of tempo exist without name, such as the almost imperceptible change (drag) in tempo before a gong in longer pelegongan and (more obviously) in lelambatan repertoire. Such variations exist in the rich rhythmic space between groove200 and tempo. In considering groove the Balinese have almost no terminology (except for possibly selah, or even taksu) other than to suggest that those instruments on the top of the beat have more “energy” (i.e. lebih hangat) than those behind the beat, but groove is nevertheless an essential element of the Balinese conception of musical feeling (rasa). The drums are given the most leeway of groove interpretation in Balinese music.201 When indicating an angsel or ngeseh the drums often rush far ahead of the beat, eventually pulling the weight of the entire ensemble with them. In slower, especially cedugan lelambatan patterns the drums fall back to an almost extreme interpretation of laid back groove, affecting at times a slight dip in the overall ensemble tempo before the gong. Typically the center of the pulse is defined by the metronomic kempli, although this is not always the case and at times the “beat” itself can rush headlong into a space well above the average pulse of the ensemble. Gangsa instruments often play in the middle of the pulse. Jegogan, gong, and elaborating instruments (suling, trompong, rebab) often perform (or sound) well behind the central pulse. In the following analysis of some of the musik kontemporer works presented below I have attempted to weigh dynamics and tempo equally alongside melody, texture, and rhythm. Standard Western notation is poorly equipped to visually represent such elements. I have

I define groove as the variations in beat interpretation/alignment between instruments in an ensemble setting. Rather than only being the jazz musicians’ slang, groove has been seriously studied in ethnomusicology by scholars such as Keil, although it has never been seriously investigated in studies of Balinese music. 201 Like dynamics, tempo, exact neliti interpretation and drumming patterns (in certain genres) groove is somewhat variable between performances, more so than is the performance of pokok tones or gong structure, which virtually never vary in performance. Drummers, ugal and ceng-ceng players often display and highlight their own musicianship through their interpretation of groove feel as well as in the actual notes, rhythms, and patterns they play.


opted for creating a double graph to represent dynamics, tempo, and time, providing comments when these elements coincide meaningfully with structural changes in melody, mode, rhythm, and texture, which are more fully represented in the examples in staff notation.202 I do not discuss overall form in great detail. This is partly because such aspects have been discussed previously, especially in Tenzer (2000, in reference to kebyar and kreasi baru) and Mack (2004, in reference to musik kontemporer), and in the limited space provided here I have opted to focus on different elements of composition. Furthermore, for the composers whose works I was able to observe the composition process, discussions and experiments in overall form were overshadowed by interests in developing novel approaches to rhythm, tuning, orchestration, and technique. Essentially, these composers were often more consciously focused on developing experimental approaches to localized aspects of the music rather than on total form. Often, especially in student recital works, discussions of overall form were made in reference to notions of tema (theme, discussed in chapter three) rather than in reference to more traditional theoretical divisions of forms such as: kawitan, pengawak, pengecet, pekaad, ocak-ocakan, genderan, gineman, kebyar etc.


Ideally, these two two-dimensional graphs would be combined into a single three-dimensional texture map combining time, dynamics, and tempo variations. This is clearly and unfortunately not a practical option in a two-dimensional dissertation. It is beyond the space limitations of this thesis to go beyond a general listing of terms about time and dynamics to develop a grander rubric of the interaction of dynamics, tempo, form, mode etc. in Balinese music. To speak more broadly about how these elements function in Balinese repertoires, and how musik kontemporer differentiates itself from classical repertoires, I would need to develop a statistically-supported survey of many pieces. This would provide the reader with a context and general sense of Balinese common practice regarding these musical elements. This must be reserved for a later project. However, I provisionally refer to Dewa Ketut Alit’s Pengastung Kara as an example of common practice approach to tempo and dynamics.


ANALYZED WORKS Dewa Ketut Alit’s Pengastung Kara [CDI Track 3] Dewa Ketut Alit, younger brother of Dewa Beratha with whom he directed the Cudamani ensemble during my research, is a leading composer of both kontemporer and traditional forms. As a leading member of the Cudamani ensemble Alit has had extensive experience in international collaborations and has taught for extended periods of time in both Japan and North America. When in Bali, Alit functions as Cudamani’s senior composer. Alit has composed several experimental works and has taken part in several intercultural collaborations with Western composers. Here I examine a work for the gamelan semara dana, a penyambutan or offering dance accompaniment. When it was first performed in the late 1990s Pengastung Kara was considered by some to be a rather experimental kreasi baru or kontemporer form of accompaniment for its innovative approach to mode and form. During my research the work was frequently performed for both temple and tourist performances by the Cudamani ensemble. When Pengastung Kara was first premiered the choreography startled some older observers. The rather revealing dance costumes and the non-Balinese references in both the choreography and costuming (primarily South Indian and Javanese) disturbed some conservative observers.203 The work was recorded and released commercially in America on a Vital records album (#440) featuring Cudamani performances and compositions. Pengastung Kara serves as an interesting example of the subtle and flexible division between tradition and innovation in Balinese composition. In certain respects, such as

The choreography for this and other closely related works were created by the dancer Dewi Aryani. The costumes originally included a bare midriff, exposing the dancers’ waists and navels, as in a belly dancer’s costume. For some this was considered too racy, especially for temple performances. Later the bare midriff was covered by flesh-toned cloth, giving one the strange impression that the dancers were born without navels.


drumming, gong forms, and general orchestration it is completely consistent with standard kreasi baru styles. In terms of the use of mode and at times harmonic materials it is kontemporer. This rather traditional work is examined here partially to contrast with the more experimental works discussed later, especially with that of Suparta and Widnyana, junior Cudamani composers whose approach to dynamics, tempo, and harmonic material is strikingly different. The use of mode in Pengastung Kara is innovative, although not as experimental as Alit’s use of mode in such works as Gregel.204 Here Alit restricts himself to three (possibly four) modes which never overlap as they do in Gregel. Typically, modal change is used in traditional and modern sendratari music to signify a change in character or, in musik kontemporer, a change in narrative. However, because the dance for Pengastung Kara is not narrative but abstract, the change of mode signifies only a change in atmosphere. The three primary modes used are tembung, selisir and slendro alit. The mode sunaren is referenced within a stronger feeling of selisir at certain points.205 Welcoming dances, a popular idiom with young composers, are typically straightforward forms, nearly always in selisir (as they are most often composed for the gamelan gong kebyar)206 and are meant to showcase the display of young, typically prepubescent femininity, without drawing overdue attention to the music itself. Pengastung Kara is modally significantly more complex and suggests topics and moods more layered than a standard penyambutan. The dominant mode is tembung. In some traditional seven-tone repertoires, as in gambuh, tembung suggests strong leadership figures, not elegant femininity. However, this is not gambuh and one has the impression that
204 205

See Vitale, 2002. Tembung: 1,2,4,5,6 (c#,d#,f#,g#,a). Selisir: 1,2,3,5,6 (c#,d#,e,g#,a). Slendro Alit: 1,3,4,5,7 (c#,e,f#,g#,b). Sunaren: 2,3,5,6,7 (c#,d#,g#,a,b). For more on modal systems in Balinese seven tone music see McGraw, 2000. 206 Although Asnawa’s 1996 Sekar Taman is an earlier example of a welcoming dance for a gamelan semara dana involving multiple modes, selisir and tembung exclusively.


the moods associated with the core modes in classic repertoires are not as relevant for Balinese composers as they once were. Several Cudamani composers noted the “complex” (“kompleks”), introspective mood of tembung and many noted its similarity to Western minor scales. Some Cudamani composers associated selisir with a kind of sweet naiveté, something nostalgic and youthful, whereas tembung was sometimes characterized as being more “worldly” (“sudah tahu, ya”). It is interesting to note that the dancers for Pengastung Kara were consistently older, clearly post-pubescent women, rather than girls. While Pengastung Kara is far from being a Balinese Carmen, it should be noted that many Balinese regarded the work and the dance as a definitely more sexual example of the penyambutan form than works such as Beratha’s Panyambrama. Alit’s construction of the comparatively complex modal profile in Pengastung Kara added to the sense of complexity in the work, a form associated with pure naiveté here infused with more complex “adult” materials in both the music and choreography.

Figure 5.1 Dewa Ketut Alit’s, Pengastung Kara, Mode Profile.


Figure 5.2. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara. Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 2nd minute.


Structural Analysis In Balinese and Javanese music and language there is often a direct correlation between loud and fast and conversely slow and soft.208 Note before the third second in Pengastung Kara the correlation in the sudden dip in dynamic intensity and tempo followed by the perfect alignment of tempo and dynamics as the reyong enter at bar three. Indeed within the first minute the trail of the tempo profile seems to map almost exactly that of the dynamic line (with the exception of the 21st second)209. The examination of Suparta’s Leyak


These graphs were created by manually tapping tempos into the Pro-Tools recording application. Clearly, there is room for human error. I developed tempo markings by averaging the differences between my tappings before and after cups of kopi Bali. Perlman reports that a new research software application is being developed that might be able to more objectively define attack points and generate tempos. 208 To such an extent that the Javanese “banter” can connote both or either loud and fast, while “alon” can mean both or either slow and soft. 209 Several dynamic spikes which seemingly do not correspond to tempo fluctuations are represented in the graphs between the first through fourth minute. However, each of these spikes is associated with a localized increase in tempo too fleeting to be accurately represented in a graph of this scale. Such fluctuations might be termed changes in groove, rather than tempo.


Mata below will demonstrate that this traditional treatment of dynamics and tempo is sometimes non-existent in musik kontemporer. The first modal shift from tembung to slendro alit interacts with the temporal and dynamic profile during a ritard and decrescendo at: 15. The use of slendro alit in the first slow section beginning in bar 13 evokes suggestions of the angklung gamelan, traditionally used for instrumental works in certain temple settings, primarily death ceremonies.210 There are no traditional welcoming dance accompaniments for the angklung orchestra historically performed in the Ubud, and Alit’s use of the mode here is an innovative juxtaposition of topic and form. Cudamani players noted that the while angklung in the south use only four tones, the five tone slendro alit mode reminded them more of angklung than gender wayang for the “sweetness” of the tuning on their gamelan. Furthermore Alit’s orchestration is more reminiscent of angklung than gender wayang textures.

Figure 5.3. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara. Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 2nd minute.


Although over the past 30 years several dance accompaniments have been created on angklung or transferred from the gong kebyar


Alit’s orchestration of the section beginning in bar 13 is notable for the considerable amount of contrapuntal motion between the kantilan, pemade, and ugal. Although textures in which the kantilan play varying or filled-in versions of melodies is present in certain traditional repertoires, the extent to which the pemade and kantilan vary from the ugal here is innovative.211 While the ugal aligns predictably with the calung there are many points in which the three melodies sound non-empat chords at stressed metric points. Take for example the first beat of bar 14 in which the ugal and calung play deung (g#), the pemade deng (c#), and the kantilan ding (e), sounding roughly like a c# minor tri-chord. Examples such as these occur throughout the selection, favoring the c# chord, thickening and complicating the texture of the orchestration. Alit makes clear his intention to associate the work with traditional repertoires through various topic associations such as the passing reference to gambangan textures in the calung rhythm between bars 18-20, employing the uneven long-short phrasing typical of gambangan saron rhythms. The dynamic profile aligns perfectly with the tempo profile until bar 22 when a change in orchestration (highlighting the reyong) is coupled with an increase in tempo and dynamics. The increased dynamics match perfectly the increase in tempo as is seen above. At bar 28 a change in mode, back to tembung, is associated also with a dip in both tempo and dynamics.


This is innovative in the context of the kreasi baru form for kebyar and semara dana, but Alit may be referencing here the relatively freer structure of harmonic simultaneities found in such older sacred forms as luang, slonding, and gender wayang.


Figure 5.4. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara. Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 3rd minute.

In Pengastung Kara mode changes are always accompanied by significant changes in either tempo or dynamics, and often both:


Time 0:15 1:37 2:16 2:30 3:25 3:51 4:13 4:43 4:52

Mode-Modulation Slendro alit Tembung Selisir Tembung Selisir/Sunaren Tembung Selisir Tembung Slendro alit

Tempo Increase Decrease Increase Decrease Stable Stable Stable Stable Increase

Dynamic Increase Decrease Increase Stable Increase Decrease Decrease Decrease Increase





Figure 5.5. Dewa Ketut Alit’s Pengastung Kara. Relationship between modulation, tempo and dynamic profile.

Figure 5.6. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara. Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 4th minute.

From figure 5.5 above it can be generalized that modulations to slendro alit are associated with increased intensity while modulations to tembung are associated with decreasing intensity. Modulations to selisir are more ambiguous. Changes in mode are often incorporated to foreshadow changes in structure. In this way elements of energy, tempo, mode, and formal divisions all meaningfully interact to create a cohesive sense of form. Continuing, the beginning of the repeated pengecet is notable for the fact that, although the section is in selisir, the reyong sound the tembung deung (f#) pitch at gong,


momentarily confusing the modality. This is especially effective upon the second repeat at 4:13, after the listener has become sufficiently accustomed to the selisir modality, only to be momentarily disoriented at a moment of structural significance.

Figure 5.7. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara. Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 5th minute.

The pengecet above displays a comparative independence between tempo and dynamics. Such independence is often seen in brisk tempos in traditional repertoire. However, while the above dynamic shifts are not accompanied by clear changes in tempo, there are definite changes in groove, too fleeting and too miniscule to be represented in the tempo profile above. These tiny changes infuse otherwise stable tempos with energy and life. Generally, changes in groove follow the same pattern as more drastic changes in tempo: crescendos occur when the drums and gangsas play on top of the beat. The single instance of an actual break in tempo occurs at 4:52 (bar 112) with a dramatic modulation to the bright slendro alit mode. Other tempo breaks in Pengastung Kara are actually only shifts into double or half-time tempos. Excepting the one break above, the trail of the tempo profile in Pengastung Kara could be snapped, like a whip, from the end


to form an almost continuous single straight line. It will be seen below that this is far from the case in Suparta’s more kontemporer Leyak Mata which exhibits a fractured and constantly shifting temporal profile.212

Figure 5.8. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara. Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 6th minute.

Alit’s approach to kotekan construction, gong and drumming patterns is completely consistent with traditional and kreasi baru forms, as in the up-tempo section beginning at bar 130. The final tembung section beginning slowly in bar 142 is standard in its construction. The kantilan play a fast form of the pemade melody, highlighting the hemiola pattern built

Epstein (1995) is one of a few analysts to examine tempo relationships in music. Epstein’s work is deeply influenced by Chomsky’s theories on the development of language and by the neurobiology research conducted in the cognitive science department at MIT. Epstein believes that the basic human experience of and approach towards performing tempos and time is biologically based. He supports this thesis by attempting to demonstrate that in music (all music) tempos and tempo changes are overwhelmingly based on proportional relationships, specifically 2:1 or 1:2. He furthermore suggests that performances not based on proportional tempos are “unsatisfying.” Interestingly, although Epstein includes a lengthy section on cross cultural analysis, Balinese music is not considered, although it was already being taught in his department at MIT while he worked on the text. Possibly Epstein was not satisfied by Balinese gamelan performances, and the many instances of non-proportional tempo changes in the music.


into the melody. The section is similar to more traditional pekaad sections in that it is a short, static, ngubeng melody repeated a number of times. The variation here is in the almost hypnotic way in which the section slowly increases in speed and dynamic intensity.

Figure 5.9. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara. Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 7th minute.

Pengastung Kara is an example of status quo compositional practice in contemporary Bali. It incorporates several innovations while retaining core traditional structures and references. It gently pushes at the edges of existing performance practice, alienating only a few conservative older members of the community while staying sufficiently traditional to be appropriate for nearly all performance contexts. Furthermore, it illustrates the ways in which young composers incorporate into more mainstream works the results of their more radical experimentations in musik kontemporer contexts. Alit had experimented extensively with multiple modes, modulations and polymodal textures in his musik kontemporer before applying these skills and materials in a more controlled and limited manner in Pengastung Kara.


Figure 4.10A. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara.


Figure 5.10B. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara.


Figure 5.10C. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara.


Figure 5.10D. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara.


Figure 5.10E. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara.


Figure 5.10F. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara.


Figure 5.10G. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara.


Figure 5.10H. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara.


Figure 5.10I. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara.


Figure 5.10J. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara.


Figure 5.10K. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara.


Figure 5.10L. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara.


Figure 5.10M. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara.


Figure 5.10N. Dewa Ketut Alit, Pengastung Kara.


Dewa Made Suparta’s Leyak Mata [CDI Track 4] Dewa Made Suparta’s Leyak Mata was created as a dance accompaniment for a final semester ISI Denpasar dance recital by Sri Laksmi in 2004. At the time Suparta was a 22 year old fifth semester karawitan student. The recital music and dance were both well received, despite being kontemporer in nature, and Laksmi was awarded one of the highest grades of her class. The dance depicts the sisia characters, the female disciples/students of the traditional rangda witch character. The sisia are features of standard traditional calonarang (barong and rangda) performances and are almost always played by teenage women. In traditional performances the sisia appear half maddened in simple and rustic costumes, their hair loose and wild. They wave white handkerchiefs on which images of rangda have been drawn (rerajahan). They chant in unison their devotion to rangda in eerie (to the Balinese) undulating rhythms and appear to be the very embodiment of Balinese female hysteria. Although both the choreography and music were extremely innovative, they were nevertheless perceived to be spiritually very potent because of the mystical significance of the topic and characters evoked. Immediately after the final performance nearly all of the dancers (with the exception of the single Javanese dancer) fell into trance and had to be carried to the nearby temple on the ISI campus and revived by the aid of a priest. The sisia’s motions in traditional calonarang are unlike any other female (or male) Balinese dance. They are not bound to any specific pose (agem). Neither do they perform motions synchronized with the music (angsel) but rather are generally allowed to portray the mad and zombie-like sisia through improvisation. Laksmi replaced angsels with longer and slower synchronized motions which during my research were called variasi (variations) by students in the dance department. These variasi were signaled and responded to by the


gamelan by phrases which marked changes in timbre and orchestration and were not as tightly coordinated rhythmically to the dance as are traditional angsels (see bars 92-93). Some Balinese composers during my research complained of the constrictions placed upon them when composing accompaniments for rather traditional dance recitals. Suparta relished the opportunity to create the accompaniment for such an innovative dance, knowing that without the restrictions of agem, angsel, and other elements of traditional female dance styles (including the focus on “pretty-ness”), he would be able to more fully explore form, meter, orchestration, and timbre. For this work Suparta created an innovative ensemble including: a pair of gamelan semara dana calung and jegogan, kempli, gong and kempul (laid horizontally), gambuh flutes, gamelan semara dana reyong pots 1-3-4-5-7-1-3-4-5-7 (c#-ef#-g#-b-c#-e-f#-g#-b, to form a trompong in patutan slendro alit), two kendang cedugan, voices (including a female dalang), various pencon (pot gong) instruments played with hard mallets, hands and whisk brooms (sapu lidi), and idiophones (including a friction drum). None of the innovative playing techniques incorporated by Suparta were original--all had been incorporated into musik kontemporer in Java and Bali by the late 1970s. However, Suparta’s treatment of form, timbre and orchestration is new. According to him a primary aim was the exploration of the “sound color” (warna suara) of the pencon instruments rather than the development of melody. Indeed the focus on rhythm, timbre, and harmony in Leyak Mata greatly overshadows melodic elements. The approach to tempo and dynamics is very innovative and unlike any traditional Balinese repertoire. The inclusion of odd meters, polyrhythm, and metric modulation are all innovative in the context of Balinese music.


Mode, Melody and Harmony Suparta’s accompaniment is non-traditional (but hardly innovative) in its use of orchestration, exploration of tone color, and playing techniques. The innovation in Leyak Mata lie within Suparta’s approach to form, dynamics, tempo, harmony and mode. A melodic analysis such as Tenzer’s for kebyar melodies is not appropriate or possible in this work which is dependent more upon harmonic development and is motivically extremely fractured. The KPP structure is not followed, nor is it even referenced. Looking bar by bar reveals interesting and innovative melodic, modal, and harmonic constructions. From the beginning Suparta communicates the innovative elements of the work: a stacked ding-deung-dang (c#f#-a) chord between the calung, jegogan, and reyong. From the outset Suparta discards the traditional Balinese approach to harmony--the empat (open fifth) structure. The opening notes: ding, deng, deung, dang, daing (c#-e-f#-a-b) correspond to no traditional Balinese patutan (mode).213 The extensive use of tri-chords is notable in Leyak Mata. This is evident in the repeated first section of the work (for instance, the clear deng-dung-daing e-g#-b chord in bar 4). Throughout the work Suparta primarily employs slendro-sounding within seven-tone pélog: slendro alit (ding-deng-deung-dung-daing, c#-e-f#-g#-b), on the trompong, with the calung and jegogan occasionally suggesting slendro gede (dong-deng-deung-dang-daing, d-ef#-a-b). In combination the two modes sound each of the seven notes of pélog, theoretically suggesting the seven-tone traditional lebeng mode, although Suparta’s orchestration reinforces the interpretation of two overlapping slendro-shaped modes. Bars 28-29 continue


They do, however, correspond to a theoretical mode named pengenter alit in 1998 by I Wayan Beratha and Ketut Gede Asnawa. Neither Asnawa nor Beratha knew of any innovative or traditional works at the time that employed this mode, but had “discovered” it through modulating previously existing modes throughout the pélog system. Suparta did not name any of the modes he employed as he composed the work.


to introduce unconventional harmonic structures. Looking at the combination of tones between the trompong and calung a possible patutan baro is presented, although a triadic structure in the calung (ding-deng-dung, c#-e-g#) is reinforced by the trompong’s slendro alit. Entering into a quasi-kebyar flourish of odd-shaped phrases in bars 46-48 the harmonic texture becomes increasingly thick and extended. The passage could suggests slendro alit plus dong (d), a six-note mode. A temporary return to traditional parallel fifth harmonies is seen in bar 57 in the reyong texture. In bar 60 a new six note mode (with ding-c# as a clear base tone) is presented: ding-dong-deung-dung-dang-daing, c#-d-f#-g#-a-b. A rhythmic amplification of the previous calung melody is presented in bars 61-68 underlying dramatic reyong chords. The section is harmonically one of the most daring and extended examples I know of in Balinese contemporary music. Suparta achieves this largely by manipulating the traditional Balinese concept of empat rather than explicitly borrowing Western models. Underlying the reyong chords are several “stacked” and closely placed empat structures, overlapping fifths and fourths, normal and inverted. Suparta has no training in Western music and little understanding of Western theoretical concepts. According to Suparta “I don’t play Western music, but I knew that that tradition uses three notes at a time, and each of these notes is separated by an interval. I wanted to play with this idea in Balinese music.” The result is an original Balinese approach to harmony. Continuing to bars 68-90 the triadic ding-deng-dung (c#-e-g#) chord is stressed melodically in the calung. This triadic form is modulated up to dong-deung-dang (d-f#-a) in bars 94-97. Bar 101 introduces yet another original approach to mode; here pitches ding-dong-deng-deung-dang (c#-d-e-f#-a), corresponding to no traditional or theoretical Balinese patutan. The work ends in a recognizable mode, tembung, a mode which according to Suparta highlights the depth of the dance theme. Tembung accompanies male characters in gamelan


gambuh. Kings, prime ministers, and other high-ranking noble males are often associated with tembung. According to Rai, "[tembung] is never used for a female character because the feeling of tetekep tembung is considered: big, sharp, strong, muscular and heroic" (Rai 1996:78). However for Suparta tembung is meant to accentuate the frightening and “scary” atmosphere of the work, hardly a heroic mood.

Tempo, Dynamics, Rhythm, and Form Leyak Mata is extremely innovative in the construction of its dynamic and tempo profile. The constantly undulating waves of tempo and dynamics which characterize many traditional Balinese works (and Pengastung Kara above) are not present here. Instead, a focus on sudden breaks, shifts, multiple tempos, and extended soft unmetered sections marks the majority of the work. The entirety of the first three minutes (a fourth of the total work) consist of a single slow tempo dissolving occasionally into unmetered sections in which timbre and the dalang’s voice are highlighted. The obligatory virtuosic introductory flourish of the gamelan incorporated in almost all kreasi baru (and musik kontemporer) dance accompaniments is not present. Instead, Suparta enters directly into a stable meter, a section which is repeated several times. The focus on emptiness and at times complete silence is an extremely unique and bold move for such a young composer. The first four minutes are not outlined by any gong form whatsoever. Instead, the gong and kempul function to accent irregular melodic and rhythmic patterns (bars 10-22).


Figure 5.11. Dewa Made Suparta's Leyak Mata, Tempo-Dynamic Profile. 1-2 minute.

Compare this introduction to that of Dewa Ketut Alit’s Pengastung Kara discussed above. The flat and understated tempo profile of Suparta’s work couldn’t be more different. The opening section presented above is concerned with setting a stark and eerie mood, a forest scene at night. The rambunctiousness of the traditional kebyar would not, in Suparta’s view, be appropriate. As the tempo stops 25 seconds into the work the dalang sings the tembang Basur, also sung in traditional calonarang performances: “sampun nyaluk sandikala…” (“darkness falls….”). Considering the impatient nature of Balinese audiences, this texture is maintained for a daringly long time.


Figure 5.12. Dewa Made Suparta's Leyak Mata, Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 3rd minute.

Entering into the fourth minute we encounter further innovative approaches to tempo and dynamics. While the tempo profile of most traditional works appears as a nearly continuous line of undulating flows and occasional switches into double time, Suparta’s work is chopped and fragmented. Looking at the tempo profile of Dewa Ketut Alit’s Pengastung Kara above, the line is broken only once. Suparta’s work represents a series of splices. While the dynamic profile of many traditional and kreasi baru works (including Alit’s) appear analogous, Suparta’s appears digital. Looking above one sees an inversion of traditional tempo/dynamic relationships. Above we have complex tempo ratios (130-73, 130-77, and 130-116 beats per minute); here it seems a base line tempo is gradually approaching a stable top line tempo.


Figure 5.13. Dewa Made Suparta's Leyak Mata, Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 4-5 minutes.

In the fifth and sixth minutes the tempo profile is more stable, but still fragmentary. While in traditional repertoires new tempos are more gradually eased into, in Suparta’s work they are directly entered, displaying the tight ensemble cohesion of his group of young players. The pencon instruments enter in bar 21, interlocking with the larger gong instruments. In traditional classical repertoires (but not kebyar) the entire orchestra often plays continuously, with few variations in orchestration. Here, Suparta arranges dynamics as a function of orchestration. As more instruments enter, the ensemble sounds louder, but the musicians also play louder as well. The section reaches a climax in bar 46 which is reminiscent of a kebyar flourish in its tutti texture and complex rhythms, but does not borrow any of the typical phonemes of standard kreasi baru kebyar works. The following section beginning in bar 50 is surprisingly stable and, for Balinese music, practically minimalist. The stark and simple


kendangan recalls stately lelambatan works, with the pencon punctuations resembling cengceng kopyak patterns, naked without the accompanying gender or gongs.

Figure 5.14. Dewa Made Suparta's Leyak Mata, Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 6-7 minutes.

As the calung re-enter at 6:21 the pencon perform a complicated pattern supporting the odd metered melody. Both here and before the previous “kebyar” statements Suparta makes repeated use of odd patterns, possibly suggesting a topic associated with the classical gambang repertoire. In bar 61 the calung melody is amplified to twice its previous length while the tempo is increased to just under double-time as the dramatic reyong “chords” discussed above are sounded. The stark kendangan fills in the rhythmic gaps left by the reyong.


Figure 5.15. Dewa Made Suparta's Leyak Mata, Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 8th minute.

One of few gradual tempo changes occurs in the eighth minute of Leyak Mata followed by yet another extremely innovative tempo profile. Bars 69-72 are largely in 3/4 at a tempo of 125, with the calung playing a melody oriented in duple subdivisions around the pulse. Between bars 73-74 the tempo, as outlined by the ketuk, dips to one third the prior tempo, while the calung continue the previous tempo in a 2:3 polyrhythmic pattern. While short 2:3 hemiola are the common stuff of standard gong kebyar kotekan patterns, these patterns are often melodically static ngubeng patterns. Here the 2:3 hemiola is held by a long flowing melody in a majalan texture. Again, the inversion of the standard loud-fast, soft-slow dynamic/tempo profile is evident, although it increasingly disintegrates as the pattern rushes toward another dramatic and drawn-out section of tempo-less calm (minutes 9-12). Almost all musicians I encountered at Cudamani could perform basic two against three (“dua lawan


tiga”) and three against four patterns, remarkable and unusual for traditional Balinese musicians considering continuous polyrhythm is not a facet of traditional repertoires.214

Figure 5.16. Dewa Made Suparta's Leyak Mata, Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 13th minute.

Skipping through the open space of the unmetered section, in which bouncing gineman statements among the calung dominate, we encounter another 2:3 pattern between the ketuk and the slower moving stabilized calung figure (bar 86). This is carefully arranged so that, as both tempo feels gradually increase in speed, the ambiguity of who is playing the “real” tempo is relished. Just as the tempo(s) levels off in bar 87 the calung ironically invert the previous roles by momentarily playing a third faster than the ketuk. Another rhythmic trick is performed in bar 99 as the ketuk suddenly slows down while the calung play a long counterrhythm until the calung and ketuk land gracefully together in bar 101 and the rhythmic tension between them is released. However, Suparta does not let the listener rest and immediately introduces another 2:3 pattern, here between the kempul and ketuk. The kempul

As Suparta was creating Leyak Mata I was involved in a small collaboration between Cudamani players (including Suparta) and the American composer Matthew Welch. The composition involved points of metric modulation and there were several in-rehearsal discussions of Elliot Carter’s experiments with tempo and meter.


plays a continuous counter-pulse that is so strong it must be considered as a kind of secondary tempo. The strength of the kempul tempo is reinforced by the pencon and kendang pattern which is clearly oriented around the slower pulse. Over this the calung, oriented around the ketuk, continues giving the impression of a poly-temporal section. Dynamically, this is one of the most stable moments of the piece, as if the extremely complex temporal arrangement precluded a more complex dynamic profile.

Figure 5.17. Dewa Made Suparta's Leyak Mata, Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 14th minute.

This complex tempo structure continues until, eventually, it seems the ketuk wins out as the pencon and kendang perform patterns oriented around the ketuk. Just as this seems the case the entire ensemble begins to play a 2:3 hemiola against the ketuk (bar 102). The tempo has been increased to 168 beats per minute, and it is clear that the work is reaching a narrative climax.


Figure 5.18. Dewa Made Suparta's Leyak Mata, Tempo-Dynamic Profile, 15th minute.

As the women reach the height of their hysteria the music suddenly drops out and all we hear are their shrill screams and howls. Entering again the full ensemble smashes out an oddly balanced (7/8) phrase at its full volume.


Figure 5.19A. Dewa Made Suparta, Leyak Mata.


Figure 5.19B. Dewa Made Suparta, Leyak Mata.


Figure 5.19C. Dewa Made Suparta, Leyak Mata.


Figure 5.19D. Dewa Made Suparta, Leyak Mata.


Figure 5.19E. Dewa Made Suparta, Leyak Mata.


Figure 5.19F. Dewa Made Suparta, Leyak Mata.


Figure 5.19G. Dewa Made Suparta, Leyak Mata.


Figure 5.19H. Dewa Made Suparta, Leyak Mata.


Figure 5.19I. Dewa Made Suparta, Leyak Mata.


Figure 5.19J. Dewa Made Suparta, Leyak Mata.


Figure 5.19K. Dewa Made Suparta, Leyak Mata.


I Wayan Gede Arsana’s Moha [CDI Track 5] Moha was created as I Wayan Gede Arsana’s 2001 ujian recital work and was inspired by the events of the 1998 attacks in Indonesia (primarily in Jakarta) against ethnic Chinese. The work has a clear narrative and theme and extensively incorporates realism and representational sound. The discussion of this work connects primarily to discussions concerning the development of themes in chapter three above. Moha illustrates the efforts by the STSI karawitan faculty to encourage students to develop clearly defined themes as an aid in both composition and in audience understanding. The development of an extremely transparent theme and various methods to, in effect, distract the audience from the extremely experimental nature of Moha support the comments made about the nature of Balinese audience’s above. As the work begins Arsana musically paints subtle social dissonance which eventually erupts into outrageous violence. At the climax Arsana represents in sound the atrocities committed against the Chinese; murders, rapes, kidnappings and torture. Rioting is painted with almost disturbing realism through samples of children and women screaming being performed on a keyboard. Arsana incorporates dissonance as a major element to directly symbolize social disorder. As the narrative develops, the music becomes increasingly jarring and confused, finally ending in an explosion of fury. While the use of dissonance would seem to count against Arsana’s overall evaluation in terms of the criteria for ujian discussed in chapter three--for instance, the work was not considered to have a high level of ‘harmoni’--Arsana more than makes up for this in other categories such as tema (theme) and kreativitas (creativity). Moha displays many of the trends and discourses discussed in the earlier chapters. There are western influences, such as the use of keyboard and “drumset,” yet


these are contained and controlled within a Balinese musical context. There are lateral musical influences as well, in this case Chinese. This very experimental work is framed within a completely traditional, and indeed sacred, seven-tone ensemble, thus illustrating the trend in Balinese musik kontemporer to search for materials and influences in two directions. One, outwards towards foreign traditions, and secondly, inwards towards ancient and esoteric materials. Moha was well received by both the ujian audience and the STSI faculty. In certain respects this is surprising. Generally, both audiences and the karawitan faculty appreciate virtuosic, but “beautiful” art. Expressions which are overtly political, and espouse an aesthetics of disorder, rather than beauty, are typically disregarded. However, Arsana’s work was sufficiently clear in narrative so that almost anyone could understand the role and function of dissonance in the composition. Furthermore, Arsana was a class favorite, well liked and acknowledged as a fine traditional musician. Several tricks were employed in the final performance; each of which were extremely popular with the audience. Firstly, Arsana used various Balinese kendang, held by supporting musicians, to resemble a drum-set which Arsana himself played. Later the musicians playing the trompong actually ran around the instrument, in a circle [10:10], while continuing to play seamlessly. Finally, the chaos of the rioting and burning of Chinese homes was clearly represented by the lighting of fireworks behind the gamelan (in the overcrowded theater unequipped with a sprinkler system). Moha is an extremely difficult work to represent in notation, and standard notation does little to clearly communicate the points I wish to make here, and so is not included. At many points several tempos occur simultaneously within thick and confusing orchestrations. The ensemble for Moha was based around the sacred seven-tone gamelan gong luang, with


the addition of flutes, rebab, several drums, and keyboard. While it may sound at times otherwise, the work was rigorously composed and rehearsed, and the resulting performance was purposeful. The energy of the performance was lead and inspired by Arsana, who somehow emerged from his sickbed to conduct the final rehearsals and performance while still suffering from the aches and fevers of typhus. He collapsed in exhaustion directly after the performance. I will now examine some of the ways in which Arsana composed and constructed the various elements of madness in Moha.

Excerpts: In the beginning of the work Arsana introduces several innovative and dissonant elements. The work opens with the two jegogan being performed with two mallets each. The first chord is a stack of the jegogan tones deng-dang-daing (3-6-7 or g-flat-c-d-flat) followed by the clashing of tones deng-deung (3-4 or a-flat-b-flat). This immediately announces Arsana’s heretical use of the sacred luang ensemble. The two jegogan lines are almost identical, with occasional differences, resulting in clashing seconds. The result gives the impression that one player is simply missing notes; although these differences are indeed composed into the work. As the jegogan line is repeated Arsana uses two rebab to play a melody in a “minor key,” according to Arsana. The resulting texture is extremely dissonant [:28-:48]. Balinese rebab playing, as compared to Javanese, is extremely flexible in terms of tuning. This is due to the pitch negotiations a string instrument must make when playing within the context of paired metal instruments and because very few Balinese actually devote the time needed to develop serious pitch control on the instrument. At 8:05 Arsana employs the almost inherent dissonance of Balinese rebaban to its comic limits.


At 1:30 Arsana references Chinese culture by playing a vaguely Chinese (according to Arsana) major pentatonic descending melody on the keyboard marked at the end by striking a gong beri or Chinese flat gong (tam-tam). Later, beginning at 3:49, Arsana makes the reference to Chinese musical culture more clear by using a koto setting on the keyboard. While the koto is Japanese, Arsana is referencing the Chinese qin zither. Beginning at 2:11 Arsana introduces melodies on the suling, rebab, and voices which he describes as being both “diatonic” and “minor” to foreshadow the mood of the upcoming tragedy. The tuning difference between the luang instruments and tempered instruments is striking, yet most students at STSI Bali described the gamelan luang as sounding nearly diatonic, a minor scale with an ambiguous second and seventh.215 Arsana purposely chose the gamelan luang for the minor sounding deng tone. At 5:59 Arsana introduces a thickly dissonant and innovative approach to jegogan performance technique. Using the hard mallets intended for smaller and higher pitched gangsa instruments, Arsana has the two jegogan, which in traditional contexts always play in unison, interlock on non-empat harmonies, here fourths. The interlocking pattern is followed at times by a tag, a sequence of descending clashing seconds. Beneath this the keyboard plays a simple chord progression following the jegogan. This is all looped as an ostinato beneath Arsana’s “drum-set” improvisations. This line is followed at 7:10 by another ostinato here between the reyong and jegogan. In this case the jegogan combine to play in unison, in a cycle of four beats, while the reyong plays a longer pattern in a cycle of five beats. Polymetrical structures are not present in traditional Balinese repertoires, and Arsana’s use of it here is meant to disorient the audience and to create a sense of madness, a time of chaos or “kali yuga” in Arsana’s words. The increasing insanity reaches a momentary climax

Students and faculty also called the luang tuning “pélog miring,” meaning roughly pélog but different. One student described it in English as “out of tune pélog.”


at 7:40 with the pounding of two A-flat major triads on the keyboard. For Arsana these loud amplified chords were meant to add a textural and timbral effect, rather than being essential harmonic information. For this Western listener, the evocation of outfield organ chords in the midst of Balinese experimentalism compliments perfectly Arsana’s aim at creating an absurd and chaotic atmosphere—fortuitously cross-culturally. The musical complexity increases at 8:35-9:30 as Arsana introduces a number of clashing and fragmented ideas. The sense of continuous tempo is lost, and yet this is not a kebyar passage. Beginning at 8:35 we see a number of seemingly interdependent ideas occurring at different tempos. The jegogan continue in a stable 127 beats/minute tempo as the reyong introduce independent ideas above, with a different sense of meter and beat.

Figure 5.20. Arsana’s Moha, multiple tempos.

This section quickly passes and soon the piece has moved on to even more complicated materials. However, the above graph serves as a snapshot of the ways in which Arsana orchestrates a sense of confusion within Moha.


At 9:28, after the players sing a riotous chant (meant to symbolize the Indonesians who perpetrated the acts of violence against the Chinese), the frenzy is increased as the keyboardist plays loudly amplified screams of children and women. That this is followed by a naïve and cheerful descending major scale and triads is completely bizarre (to a Western listener) and seems ironic to the point of being offensive.216


For me Arsana’s work bore at times an uncanny resemblance to Frank Zappa’s compositions. During Arsana’s final semester of study at STSI the composition faculty actively quoted from and used a then newly published book on musik kontemporer by the German scholar, composer, and Indonesianist Dieter Mack. In it Mack makes extensive reference to Zappa, including several musical examples. Arsana was aware of and had read these references but yet had never actually heard any of Zappa’s music.


I Ketut Gede Asnawa’s Kosong

[CDI Track 6]
“When I heard their first works, like Gema Eka Dasa Rudra, I said ‘God, you Balinese don’t play around! Everything you compose is good!’ I teased them saying: ‘Next year why don’t you try just bringing rocks. Don’t worry about bringing all those heavy instruments. Try composing for rocks.’ They laughed, but the following year when they arrived I was shocked. It seemed they brought only a small box, but no instruments. I asked ‘Where are your instruments?!’ They answered ‘here Pak,’ opening the box. It was nothing but some bamboo, a few cymbals, and rocks. They were crazy!” - Suka Hardjana, on Asnawa’s Kosong.

I Ketut Gede Asnawa’s 1984 Kosong is remarkable for the extent to which it introduced innovative musical concepts into the language of Balinese new music as well as for its popular reception. It was performed several times in Bali, Jakarta, and abroad, a rare distinction for a musik kontemporer work. In the following analysis I will provide a general description of the total work, drawing upon both interviews with Asnawa, and his own description of the work found in the liner notes provided to the 1984 PKM program. I will focus my musical analysis on a brief seven minute section of the seventeen minute work. Kosong was ASTI Denpasar response to a commission from Suka Hardjana requesting new works to be performed for the annual PKM. Bandem, then head of ASTI, delegated the creation of the work to Asnawa. Asnawa’s challenge was to create a work that would be sufficiently “aneh” (strange) enough to be appreciated by the urbane and cosmopolitan Jakartan audience, rigorous enough to be appreciated by the ASTI Denpasar faculty and staff, and entertaining and accessible enough to be appreciated by the general Balinese audience. Asnawa solved this problem, as well as his own compositional goals, by framing traditional Balinese musical structures in a new setting with original instrumentation, developing traditional instrumentation, and grounding the entire work in a theatrical setting enacting Balinese custom. The custom enacted is the annual Nyepi ceremony, or the Balinese new year. The result was a work that became popular among each of the target audiences.


Excerpts: 0:00 The recorded excerpt begins in the third movement within the fourth section outlined in Asnawa’s program notes (provided in Appendix D). The scene is dusk; the performers lurch around in slow motion, physically representing the malevolent demons which the nyepi ceremony is meant to exorcise. Asnawa conjures images of nightfall and fire. In traditional Balinese custom, before nyepi, villagers parade through the streets making noise in an attempt to frighten spirits. To frighten these spirits the Balinese fashion a small explosive, or torch of bamboo called a meriam, which produces a burst of noise when ignited. While they move, the performers blow on buwi flutes: simple culms of bamboo, blown on the edge to produce a tone, representing the meriam. These “instruments” were not tuned specifically for the performance, and the musicians are allowed to improvise throughout this section. Here the musicians’ body movements symbolize negative forces, while the sounds they produce symbolizes positive forces.

:25 The cacophonous smashing of the ceng-ceng kopyak cymbals and the crazed hooting and screaming are meant to symbolize ominous evil spirits. This coincides with the introduction of the first metered section. The two-beat structure is maintained by the thumping of two differently tuned bamboo culms (gebyog) against the floor. The players smash rocks together and play short bamboo culms (like tektekan) out-of time with the metronomic beat. This crazed playing is eventually ordered into metered interlocking. Here the players are divided into two groups, five playing rocks and five playing the differently (but not specifically)


tuned bamboo tubes. During this section the performers continue to process in a circle. The basic interlocking technique here is traditional and known as ngocel.

2:14 The players now perform the same patterns in a sitting position. The question-answer pattern, known in Balinese as saut-menyaut (lit. answering) was, according to Asnawa borrowed from the rhythms and orchestration being developed at that time at STSI for the large AdiMerdangga drum ensemble, a large and modernized version of the beleganjur ensemble.

2:57 The rock players play a three phrase pattern which, according to Asnawa, was interpreted as being a little bawdy or rude (some audience members described it as “porno” although this was not necessarily Asnawa’s intention). The first of the three patterns is played rock against rock, the second rock against the ground, and the third, a kind of vigorous rubbing of the two rocks together, along with a facial expression of longing frustration. (In Bali copulation is sometimes symbolized by a vigorous rubbing together of the palms). The audience is heard laughing.

3:36 Each player exchanges his rocks for a single ceng-ceng kopyak cymbal and mallet. They are crashed together out of time against the two-note pulse which is played throughout. This is, as far as I know, the first instance of using single ceng-ceng cymbals in the manner of western cymbals, a practice now common in Balinese beleganjur, gong kebyar kreasi baru,


and musik kontemporer. Asnawa characterizes the improvised a-metrical ceng-ceng playing as “not music, but like child’s play.”

4:19 The ceng-ceng are played melodically. This is also a first for Balinese music, inspiring spontaneous applause from the audience. This technique would later be repeated in many student and kreasi baru works. Here the ceng-ceng play ngocel patterns. These specific ceng-ceng were chosen for their unique tuning. They were not actually tuned, but chosen from a pool of about 25 cymbals, out of which Asnawa was able to find a set that roughly approximated a five tone slendro tuning.

Discussion It is ironic that one of the musical elements that I identified as experimental in the work, the use of non-metrical improvised playing against a stable rhythm, a technique which reminded me so much of free jazz and my own musical background, was simply considered “non-music” by Asnawa. These sounds were likely considered non-music to many of the other performers and audience as well. The specific choice of instruments used, especially the ceng-ceng kopyak and rocks, was made to reflect Asnawa’s character which, especially in his youth, was known widely to be strong, aggressive and even temperamental. The use of non-pitched instruments was a conscious decision, a way to force the musicians to more fully explore all of the timbral possibilities of an instrument conventionally understood to serve only a rhythmic function. The timbung instrument (see Appendix D) was a new invention, the development of a simple traditional instrument used in guntangan ensembles (such as the arja orchestra) into a larger instrument for several players. This serves as an example of


STSI’s penggalian and pengembangan policies in which new ideas, instruments, or techniques are found through the investigation and development of older, traditional Balinese forms. In this way new and experimental works can be defended as both preserving and developing Balinese traditional music and musical instruments. In this case I Wayan Beratha was commissioned to develop the simple instrument, which traditionally has only one or two pitches, into an eleven key instrument, tuned to pélog saih lima. In the long beginning sections of the work, the timbung is used to accompany singing. Here the instrument was played by two people, a single person (Asnawa) leading the melody on the lower pitches with more complicated interlocking figurations on the top part. This experimental musical instrument is used in conjunction with very traditional vocal styles known as sinom and cecantunan. However, these vocal styles are also transformed; in Kosong a soloist is answered by a chorus of the other nine performers. The text of the sinom, sung in Balinese rather than Kawi (in order for it to be understood by the whole audience), marked the work as a theatrical piece based on traditional Balinese ceremony. The text depicts the acts of villagers interacting on the day of nyepi and all of its associated rituals. The sung text incorporated little bits of humor and games, a seemingly essential element to all Balinese experimental works, where humor is meant to disarm an audience which may be hostile to overly or overtly radical works. Kosong was as much a work of theater as a work of music. The work, inspired by the success of Komang Astita’s (Asnawa’s older brother) work Gema Eka Dasa Rudra, enacted and embodied the motions of Balinese ceremony within the performance itself. Kosong opens without music, but a “scene,” with the musicians functioning also as actors. The musicians begin the performance as villagers waking up to a Balinese morning, then stretching and performing morning exercises. This slowly transforms into a kind of body-music, or ham-


bone. This scene slowly transitions into the opening musical section, the sung section in which the narrative of the work is clearly described. The compositional process for Kosong was typically Balinese in that, while Asnawa retained artistic control, the process of creation was essentially collaborative. This is illustrated by his use of the plural “we” (kami) in reference to the composer(s) in both his program notes and in his discussions with me. According to Asnawa: “I allowed them [the other performers] to help create each part, interpreting my ideas on their own, through the concept of nyepi. They would say, “I would like to play it this way.” It wasn’t completely controlled by me, and to be fair there was a lot of collaboration. We always work collectively in Balinese culture, in order to find stronger ideas. But I always made the final decision.” In reality it may have been Bandem, then head of STSI, and Hardjana who wielded ultimate artistic control. Bandem assigned the creation of the work, commissioned from Jakarta, to Asnawa. Bandem went so far as to alter its original title from Windu to Kosong. The Bahasa Indonesia word kosong means zero, however it also connotes emptiness. The Balinese windu connotes zero as well but also suggests the idea of a circle, or cyclical form. In the Balinese theory of drumming forms known as asta windu, for instance, “windu” refers both to the circular shape of the gong and the cyclical form of a gongan. The idea of the circle as a mystical form is represented throughout Asnawa’s Kosong, most clearly in the continuous motion of the performers around the stage in a circle. Nyepi represents the point of return and of beginning in the calendrical cycle, the constant rotation of the moon around the earth, of the belief in re-incarnation, and the aesthetic idea of the re-cycling of Balinese tradition in new works. In his translation of the term for a national, Indonesian audience in Jakarta, Bandem transformed the meaning of the title from connoting circularity to emptiness, possibly intending to refer to then popular trends of minimalism among Western-educated


artists and faculty. Kosong represents an example of the discussion of idea diffusion presented in chapter four. Here Asnawa, a composer with a background and interest only in traditional and kreasi baru compositions is encouraged to create a highly experimental work following the aesthetic lead of the Western trained Bandem and Hardjana.


Figure 5.21A. I Ketut Gede Asnawa, Kosong.


Figure 5.21B. I Ketut Gede Asnawa, Kosong.


Figure 5.21C. I Ketut Gede Asnawa, Kosong.


I Wayan Sadra’s Beringin Kurung [CDI Track 7]
“You can only subject audiences to disgusting smells a few times before they want to kill you.” – I Wayan Sadra

During my research in Solo I performed as a regular member of Wayan Sadra’s Sono Seni ensemble.217 During my research each member of the group was expected to compose and to contribute to the rather organic growth of each new piece. Typically, a composer would arrive with memorized materials (or occasionally Western or Indonesian notation, strictly for the composer), and present them to be learned by rote after which the materials would be “jammed on” at length until the performers felt comfortable with the material. Through this jamming the musicians would eventually find appropriate tempos, orchestrations, variations, and improvisations. This is generally how Sadra’s Beringin Kurung was composed in 2000 for his master’s composition recital at STSI Solo. The piece is one of Sadra’s most mainstream and accessible works and represents his recent (in 2000-2004) effort to write music that was still rigorously composed but not as radical or absurd as his earlier works, some of which involved defecating oxen and rotten eggs. For Beringin Kurung Sadra used an ensemble known by nearly all Indonesians, the traditional keroncong ensemble, a chamber group including mandolin, guitar, triangle, violin, flute, and other Western instruments. Sadra included as well a Chinese erhu and Balinese suling. The keroncong ensemble recalls Indonesia’s pre-colonial connections to Portugal; the

Sono Seni is also the name of the artist’s space owned and directed by the dancer Sardono W. Kusomo. The space is located in the Kemlayan district of downtown Solo. This space includes various dance studios, a full gamelan, the Solo historical society, and a music studio. The Sono Seni ensemble has produced several CDs of original material and has toured Indonesia (on grants provided from the Kelola foundation) and abroad. The ensemble includes musicians from Bali, Central Java, Madura, Sulawesi, and East Java and frequently collaborates with foreign artists. When I was in the group the musicians tended towards creating forms of “fusion” musics involving Indonesian traditional instrumentation and Western popular instruments. Influences included jazz, jazz-fusion, Balinese and Javanese gamelan, keroncong, Madurese, and Sulawesi-an music as well as abstract compositional procedures both home grown and borrowed, primarily from American experimentalism.


music has grown over the centuries to seamlessly combine Indonesian melodies and rhythms with European meters, tuning, and harmonic structures. During the polemik kebudayaan of the 1930s (discussed in chapter one) several artists suggested that the keroncong form be adopted as Indonesia’s national music. In his effort to appeal to a wide array of listeners Sadra has recently adopted such light popular ensembles, creating an ensemble of musicians from around Indonesia and combining ethnic and light popular forms with Western influenced jazz elements. The form of Beringin Kurung is not completely determined and in this way follows more closely the traditional arrangement of jazz or keroncong standards than either Balinese traditional compositional forms or Sadra’s more radical earlier works. After opening with a set “head” (A)218 clearly influenced by Balinese kotekan forms the work then dissolves into a free meter ambient section with suling improvisations (B-1:37). A is then repeated before slowing into a more standard keroncong texture (C-4:10). The C melody is, according to Sadra, influenced by traditional slonding melodies and functions as a kind of secondary head before moving into a violin solo at 5:48. After the solo the C head is repeated once again before moving on to melody D, also clearly in the keroncong style but borrowing syncopations and phrasing more typical of Balinese music. After D at 6:58 all of the core melodies and musical materials have been introduced. For the remainder of the work these elements are repeated and interspersed with solos (suling and guitar). The notation I have provided is extremely fragmentary. Rather than attempting to represent the entire musical phenomena as found on the recording, I chose to present those elements that were explicitly composed by Sadra. Structures such as solos, backing rhythms and even backing chords behind solos were not composed by Sadra but were left to the discretion of the players and

Sadra continuously borrowed jazz terminology such as “head” and “solo” when discussing the work.


varied considerably between performances. During the composition process Sadra provided the specific melodies, the form and examples of possible “vamping” or backing rhythms and textures and in this way allowed the personalities of the individual players to more clearly sound through. Looking more closely at individual sections Sadra’s aesthetics and approach become more clear. The fiery opening section is clearly derived from Balinese interlocking patterns. Here a standard kotekan telu pattern is performed as a single line by several players. A theoretical division of the line into gangsa polos and sangsih pairs is provided in example at the end of the notation. This section is in a diatonicised “slendro” tuning, E-flat major pentatonic, and the patterns at times suggest gender wayang kotekan patterns.219 The guitar backs the line, often doubling at the fifth and at times (bar 3 and 6-7) heavily strumming the hemiola patterns which are the bread and butter of Balinese kotekan textures. At B [1:37] the unstoppable rhythm of A stops, dissolving into open improvisations in both “slendro” and “pélog.” Here the erhu and at times violin continue to sound a drone in E-flat whilst the guitar vamps an oddly phrased 5/8 motive. Sadra provided the musicians with short improvisation motives to work with. Over this Sadra improvises simultaneously on two Balinese suling, tuned roughly a half-step apart. The effect of the “out of tune” suling distorts and clouds the sense of diatonic slendro and out of this the violin and erhu emerge to play in a five-tone selisir pélog tuning (g, a-flat, c, d-flat, e-flat) that as closely as possible overlaps E-flat slendro. Experimentation involving the simultaneous use of slendro and pélog tunings remains novel in Bali but had been employed by at least the 1950s in Java in


I had heard several STSI Solo faculty note that, on the piano, the black keys were slendro and the white keys were pélog. All knew that this was far from the acoustic reality, but here Sadra adopts the use of E-flat as slendro. Indeed, many gender wayang tunings come closer to E-flat major than other tunings.


works such as Wasitodiningrat’s (Cokro’s) Jaya Manggala Gita.220 Here the tumbuk (common) tone between Sadra’s slendro and pélog tunings is a-flat, or roughly where it would be in actual Javanese slendro-pélog gamelan tunings (pitch 6). The end of the B section is signaled by a Balinese angsel kajar [3:22], the reductive bouncing on a single pitch performed in kebyar textures and by the kajar in traditional semar pegulingan music to indicate a division in gong form. Following this A is repeated. At 4:10 the keroncong texture at C is introduced over a new melody. Here the mandolin performs standard rhythmic backing patterns called “cuk” (in Java the instrument itself is often called cuk). This is a relatively open rhythmic approach which heavily stresses the first two 16th notes of a beat (ie. 1e..2e.. etc) arpeggiating the tones of the current harmony, or droning on tones 1-3-5. The guitar plays a relatively freely interpreted syncopated harmonic texture, always basing the harmony on the current melodic materials (usually limited to I-V, or I-IV-V and sometimes ii and vi). The violin, flute and other instruments perform the melody literally. According to Sadra the melody at C was loosely inspired by traditional Balinese slonding melodies, although when asked to provide a specific example or model he could not. Rather than borrowing specific melodies, Sadra seems to have re-invented slonding melodies he had studied at KOKAR Bali 20 years previously, filling in the gaps in his memory with his own material and generally “keroncong-izing” (dikeroncong-kan) the Balinese materials. When played for several young Balinese composers they did not associate the section with slonding, but only with keroncong. The C melody is strictly in “slendro,” musically distancing it further from slonding associations. At 5:08 the ensemble again vamps on an oddly formed phrase, here in 7/16, a common phrase in classical Balinese kebyar flourishes. The backing chords behind the violin

Although in Java many composers point to the combination of slendro and pélog tunings in the ancient kodok ngorek ensemble to suggest that such blendings are in fact traditional.


solo were left to the player’s discretion, but generally followed Sadra’s instructions to become increasingly dissonant (“disonan”) over time. This meant stressing harmonies a 1/2 step or tri-tone away from I and V. The sense of jazz form is strengthened by the return after the violin solo to the C melody [5:48]. This is then followed by a coda which combines the slendro tuning with the upper half of the pélog tuning (incorporating c-natural). This prepares the listener for the move into pélog at 6:58, bringing back the texture at B for another suling solo. The work ends after a reprisal of the keroncong melody at C and a guitar solo, which then fades out--with a surprise. Beringin Kurung means banyan tree, the large ancient trees with branches, creepers, and roots which grow up like a cage. The title was chosen for several reasons. Firstly, because the banyan tree is a traditional place of meditation for those seeking enlightenment or spiritual peace. Through introspection under its protecting branches one may achieve emotional and spiritual stability. Stability is represented in the work through, according to Sadra, its tempo profile. While Beringin Kurung incorporates several Balinese techniques, motives, and topics, its metronomic, jazz-like pulse is distinctly non-Balinese. Its temporal stability suggested meditative associations for Sadra. Secondly, the banyan tree was famously used as the symbol for Suharto’s corrupt GOLKAR party of the New Order. Sadra is here seeking to reclaim the symbol of the tree for its more artistic, non-political, and creative associations. The work was one of Sadra’s most successful and most straightforward and simple works. It took a relatively short amount of time to compose and according to Sadra essentially fell together in rehearsal. It marked a change in Sadra’s aesthetics from seemingly opaque musical elitism to more populist and popular musical forms. Interestingly, the work was rejected for inclusion by the committee of the 2004 Jakarta Arts summit, ostensibly because it was not sufficiently compositionally rigorous, but was too light and popular.


Figure 5.22A. I Wayan Sadra, Beringin Kurung.


Figure 5.22B. I Wayan Sadra, Beringin Kurung.


Figure 5.22C. I Wayan Sadra, Beringin Kurung.


I Nyoman Windha’s Lekesan [CDI Track 8]
“If we are one we are stronger.” --Nyoman Windha

I Nyoman Windha’s Lekesan was originally composed in 2001 for the Jakarta Arts Summit. Later, many of the melodies and rhythmic materials from this work were transferred to the gamelan gong kebyar and gamelan semara dana for a rather adventurous kreasi baru work performed by the Semara Ratih ensemble of Ubud. The kreasi baru work, also called Lekesan, was performed by the Semara Ratih ensemble in representing the Gianyar regency in the 2002 Festival Gong Kebyar and Bali Arts Festival. It continues to be performed by Semara Ratih for both temple and tourist performances as an instrumental overture. Recalling Yudane’s description of musik kontemporer as the “future cars” of kreasi baru in chapter two, Windha’s work illustrates the vague and fluid borders between the two forms, demonstrating how, for many composers, musik kontemporer functions as a kind of laboratory in which materials, later incorporated into kreasi baru, are freely developed. The original ensemble for Lekesan, played by final semester karawitan students and faculty from STSI, included a full set of variously sized kendang (12), sets of suling in three registers and several gong and kempul. For Windha, musik kontemporer is not necessarily defined by a specific compositional approach or musical structure but by orchestration. In this case the orchestration was certainly experimental, involving no gender metal instruments, and using kendang in very non-traditional ways. Lekesan clearly illustrates Windha’s aesthetic and compositional approach during my research in Bali. In it he combined his interest in new orchestrations, the exploration of traditional instruments in non-traditional ways and the use of foreign musical elements.


The work opens with the full orchestra of kendang playing in unison. Unison, noninterlocking kendang playing is virtually non-existent in Balinese traditional practice. Quickly however (in bar 2), Windha treats the drums melodically, descending and ascending through their register. Windha admitted the influence of Japanese Taiko drumming styles in this section. The opening oddly shaped drumming phrases become increasingly orchestrated and melodic, using question and answer phrases before ending in a series of stark, vague and rumbling odd numbered gong strokes in bar 17. The aesthetic of the opening gambit of Lekesan is nearly minimalist, especially when compared to the melodic and rhythmic richness of typical kreasi baru works. The dryness of the opening phrase, which is repeated thrice, lasting nearly three minutes, highlights the timbral quality of the drums and the gongs used. The phrase ends with two strokes of the gong and kempul in unison. Traditionally, gongs are used to outline structural phrases and are not played together. However, since Yudane’s early experimentations with gong kebyar, other composers, including Windha, have began to explore the use of gongs from a timbral, rather than structural perspective. The innovative use of the gong continue into section B [2:38]. Beneath a long flowing suling melody the gong is “rolled” using two mallets, creating a deep drone of indeterminate pitch. While similar experiments had occurred in Javanese musik kontemporer since the early 1970s, Balinese composers have only since 1999 begun to consider such techniques realistic musical possibilities in creations for Balinese audiences. The opening suling melody outlines an e-minor triad. Windha has studied Western music theory and has an understanding of Western functional harmony. In teaching and composing this flute melody Windha employed Western solfege syllables rather than Balinese ding-dong syllables. The aim of this section was to create, in Windha’s words, a “contrapuntal” (“kontrapoin”) texture. After the first statement of the theme on the tenor


register suling Windha introduces a second melody (bar 20) in the same register. The combination of melodies creates interestingly divergent lines uncharacteristic of traditional Balinese melodic treatment. Traditionally, a second line will coincide melodically with repeated or slower moving melodies at important metric points. Here, this occurs only once-in bar 23--as the second line “e” coincides with the first line “e.” In Lekesan it is more often the case that points of coincidence at strong metric points are harmonic rather than unison-most often sixths or thirds, but at times seconds (i.e. bar 25). The phrasing of the second line is at times divergent from the repeated line as in bar 29 and 35 which clearly cadence at beat two, as if the second melody was phrased a pulse behind the top line. Lekesan displays the influences and characteristics common to many musik kontemporer works. That is, lateral influence, here the (albeit limited) influence of taiko drumming, and regional non-Balinese musics and western influence in the use of a diatonic conceptual framework and compositional techniques such as counterpoint and canon. Modally, the combination of the two melodies suggest a six tone scale confirmed later as dorian when the striking single instance of f# is sounded in the final bar of the section (40). Windha described the section as being neither in slendro or pélog but diatonic (diatonis) and named “e” as “do” while teaching and composing the work. Section B is ended by a repeated drumming section, again in unison and interspersed with innovative gong punctuations. Section C continues the very sparse texture of the work in introducing another, this time much longer, suling melody, here in five-tone selisir pélog. It as if Windha was stripping down Balinese music to its bare and most abstracted essentials to be viewed up close in slow motion without the skin of payasan elaboration or variations in tempo or dynamics. The listener is presented with only the bare melody, given twice without variation in order to


consider simply the form and balance of its construction. Later this exact melody would be transferred to calung in the gamelan samara dana version of Lekesan, on top of which payasan would later be added. The 36 beat melody is oddly balanced with gong strokes at beats 1, 13, and 29. Windha’s approach toward formal structure in his gong kebyar works is similar, and he often incorporates oddly shaped forms, or even length forms with odd gong placement. At bar 57 Windha introduces drumming variations beneath the continuously repeated pélog melody. Here the drummers play the leather tuning thongs of the drums with their hands, an experimental technique not present in traditional repertoires. The extended hemiola phrases in these drumming variations (i.e. bar 61) are strongly reminiscent of standard reyongan. These patterns later became transferred onto the reyong in the kreasi baru version of Lekesan. At bar 64 the drums are played in a more standard fashion as paired lanan-wadon groups. This section is repeated five times as each of the kendang pairs plays roughly the same drumming variations. At 12:46 this pattern is repeated in double time as the suling melody also plays twice as fast an octave higher. The drums then all play the interlocking patterns together, creating a mass of sound. The drummers were given a certain amount of freedom to create their own variations upon the basic interlocking theme. The result is an extremely thick texture which increases in density until the suling melody is completely obscured. Section C suddenly slows into section D in which the previous suling melody is performed under a more active melody in a higher register. This melody was also transformed into the kreasi baru version of the work and musicians involved in the performance often referred to it as the Lekesan melody. The relationship between this active melody and the spare melody is essentially the same as the relationship between ugal neliti and calung pokok


melody. The latter melody was likely derived from the former, but interestingly Windha presented the latter first. The elaborated melody includes several leaps, unusual for standard kreasi baru works in which melodies are more conjunct. This may be due to the fact that it was originally composed for suling on which it is comparatively easy to play at a fast tempo. On gangsa, however, skipping several keys at a time while continuing to properly damp is rather difficult. The melody is strikingly original, making few topic references. The repeated tones at the beginnings of bars 73, 75, and 76 may suggest a leluangan topic, popular among composers of Windha’s generation, although here the rhythmic structure is sufficiently original to question if this is the case. The end of the melody includes a single bero tone (here notated as “d,” bar 80), a Windha trademark. Windha often includes single tones outside of the core patet for flavor, usually as passing or neighbor tones before gong. After section D is repeated a number of times it eventually slows into a completely non-Balinese melody [14:45]. The melody at E is clearly a reference to Sumatran Minangkabau melodic forms. Windha suggested that this melody was not based on any specific Minangkabau tunes but represented an attempt to capture the flavor of the ethnic form in an original tune.221 Windha’s long experience developing nationalistic forms such as the “Beautiful Indonesia” project discussed in chapter two and his long participation in a Jakartan developed curriculum of multiculturalism discussed in chapter three have deeply influenced his use of non-Balinese materials in his kreasi baru and musik kontemporer works. Beneath this simple and fast moving melody Windha arranges the Balinese kendang as if they were the Islamic terbang hand drums, transferring terbang interlocking patterns to the “plak” tone of the kendang. The shorter melody at the coda continues the Minang flavor as the tune picks up speed and energy, eventually coming to a dead stop. Interestingly, for the

Sumatran Minangkabau musicians interviewed in Solo suggested that the melody was a composite of a few actual Minangkabau traditional tunes.


kreasi baru version of Lekesan, Windha arranged a different but similarly Minangkabauesque melody, also accompanied by kendang played as terbang. In both the kreasi baru and musik kontemporer version the final melody ends as if falling off a cliff, before the gong is struck. This is the only example I can find of a kreasi baru ending without a strike of the final gong. The effect was extremely effective and popular with Balinese audiences during the 2001 gong festivals. Furthermore, in the final melody of both versions of Lekesan the gong structure is clearly molded to fit the odd shape of the melody (as in earlier section C as well), rather than vice versa. This is another Windha trademark, that is, using gongs to both outline overall form and as an accent to stress melodic structure, even at syncopated points (see for instance the gong structure in the pengecet of his otherwise kreasi work, Cendrawasih). In his frequent use of non-Balinese melodies Windha is consciously attempting to make an ideological statement. According to Windha:

I hope the audience understands my musical mission and the importance of persatuan [oneness]. That’s why I call it Lekesan. Here we have sirih, which is the betel nut. There are several elements in sirih: the seed, the leaf, gambir, tobacco… put together as one in the leaf it is a symbol of strength and one-ness. It used to be said that strong and seemingly invincible people could be killed by throwing lekesan at them. It’s the same with the Indonesian people. If we are one we will be stronger. (personal communication, Nyoman Windha, December 2001).222

An appeal to nationalism is evident in several of Windha’s works, beginning with his Palapa (1986) which combines Balinese and Javanese instruments. He regularly incorporates Javanese melodies (beginning with his recital work Kindama), and generally attempts to


Lekesan more commonly refers to the betel nut set which is included in a certain kind of Balinese offering, the canang basé, often presented to guests of honor. Here, Windha, following the dalang I Ketut Kodi, associates lekesan with the concept of tri-murti, the Hindu Triumvirate. In this interpretation, each of the elements of the lekesan are associated with a Hindu divinity, and their combination in a single set symbolically represents power and unity. Musically, Windha combines various musics from Indonesia to similarly symbolize unity and power.


incorporate musical material from around Indonesia in the effort to create a form that expresses his political ideology and that potentially appeals to an audience beyond Bali.223


Certain other composers such as Hardjana have criticized Windha’s “national” works because in them “the individual figure and genius of Windha dissolves behind national ideology and the cutting and pasting of regional melodies.” (personal communication, Hardjana, September 2003). Here we encounter a tension between Hardjana’s, possibly Western influenced, individualistic rhetoric concerning the composer and notions of composition, and Windha’s rhetoric and aesthetic which sometimes effaces individuality in the aim of forging communal expressions. Throughout this dissertation I have claimed that a defining feature of much musik kontemporer is a stress on the individualism of the composer. However, Windha’s rhetoric and works often work counter to this claim, stressing group identities. Clearly, the composer can choose between these two modes of expression and the tension between them expresses something of the problem of being Balinese today.


Figure 5.23A. I Nyoman Windha, Lekesan.


Figure 5.23B. I Nyoman Windha, Lekesan.


Figure 5.23C. I Nyoman Windha, Lekesan.


Figure 5.23D. I Nyoman Windha, Lekesan.


Figure 5.23E. I Nyoman Windha, Lekesan.


Figure 5.23F. I Nyoman Windha, Lekesan.


Figure 5.23G. I Nyoman Windha, Lekesan.


Ida Bagus Made Widnyana’s Trimbat [CDII Track 2] Before moving to the final example in this chapter I will take a momentary metaphysical detour. That which draws each of us to music--the allure of music--may partly lie in the fact that it can be studied and experienced as both a complex manifestation of essentially simpler underlying structures; dyads, contours etc. but also as a simplification of more complex phenomena. When describing for a Balinese musician/priest the kinds of musical analysis done in the Western academy--that often our analysis aim at ways to reduce so called “surface information” to reveal fundamental structures--the Balinese reacted as you might guess a Hindu priest would, recalling an episode of the Hindu Mahabharata epic:
When presented at the court of his enemies Krisna’s identity was questioned. “Why should we believe,” the king asked, “that you are the famous Krisna or indeed that Krisna is an avatar of Visnu?” Krisna then replied: “so be it, I will then reveal to you my true form.” Those at the court then knew Krisna to be as he claimed. He was all time and space, all forms ever manifested, every feeling and thought that has ever been and that ever will be expressed. Experiencing this for only a split-second those at the court began to go mad. Visnu in its ultimate form, that is brahman (not to be confused with Brahma or brahmana), is not in the universe, the universe is within it. Therefore its true form is not intelligible to humans. It can only be expressed or manifested through more simple phenomena, like Krisna. Likewise music can sometimes be thought of as a simplification for human reception of the much more complicated sounds, noises, and vibrations that we hear and experience in our lives. Only the gods can hear all of these vibrations as music. (personal communication, Gusti Sudarta, January, 2005).

Keeping this story in mind, let me now move to my final example, Ida Bagus Made Widnyana’s Trimbat. Trimbat was created as Widnyana’s 2004 ujian recital work. Trimbat was one of the most innovative and rigorously constructed and rehearsed pieces of musik kontemporer I encountered during my research. Widnyana succeeded in creating an extremely complex and idiosyncratic composition while rooting the entire work squarely in Balinese tradition and traditional repertoires.


“Trimbat” is a conflation of the Balinese tri (three) and embat (tuning, or range). For this work Widnyana combined gamelan instruments from three differently tuned ensembles. Each of the gamelan employed were five-tone selisir pélog gamelan tuned to different ranges and with a unique intervallic structure: the lowest set a gong gede ensemble from the village of Tulikup in Eastern Gianyar, the middle set from the gong kebyar from Pengosekan and the highest set of instruments from a pelegongan ensemble from Ubud. Widnyana used only the jegogan and calung pairs from each of the gamelan with the addition of three gongs, for a total of 15 instruments and 13 players. The distance between the lowest jegogan and the highest was roughly a minor third; Widnyana was able to produce 11 pitches per octave through a combination of the instruments. 224 The following table lists roughly where each “pitch” (set-pair) lies in relation to the equally tempered scale. This is also the pitch scheme I employ in my notations of Trimbat:

Saih Cenik. Highest Gamelan - Pelegongan Ubud. Key Number 1 2 3 4 5 Syllable Ding Dong Deng Dung Dang Transcription Pitch D# E F# A# B

Saih Madya. Middle Gamelan - Gong Kebyar Pengosekan. Key Number 1 2 3 4 5 Syllable Ding Dong Deng Dung Dang Transcription Pitch D E-Flat F A B-Flat


Actually, considering that the instruments were paired and that jegogan pairs often sound as far as a 1/4 (equally tempered) step or more apart, Widnyana had access to 22 pitches per octave. However, the composer maintained the traditional Balinese practice of always playing paired pitches together, as one, rather than melodically exploring these even smaller intervallic units.


Saih Gede. Lowest Gamelan – Gong Gede Tulikup. Key Number Syllable Transcription Pitch 1 Ding B 2 Dong C# 3 Deng E-Flat 4 Dung F# 5 Dang G Figure 5.24. Widnyana’s Trimbat, 3 Gamelan Tunings.

Balinese gamelan ensembles have not historically been tuned to any standard, although today I Wayan Beratha’s conception of pélog saih lima is hegemonic through his influence at STSI and SMKI. Saih generally refers to the range of a gamelan and also, sometimes, its unique intervallic arrangement. According to Widnyana, the inspiration for this highly complex orchestral arrangement springs from traditional Balinese ceremonial practices. For certain very large ceremonies, such as the preparatory ceremonies preceding a priest’s cremation, a number of traditional music, dance, and theater groups are brought together, sometimes within a single tightly packed house compound, to perform simultaneously but independently. This is known as a karya gede, or the “great work” [CDII Track 1]. I have performed in karya gede in which two differently tuned gong kebyar ensembles, two differently tuned gender wayang ensembles, a slonding, a beleganjur, an angklung, and traditional singing were all performed simultaneously within a very small family compound. Acoustically, the result is nearly overwhelming. In order to perform as a single unit during a karya gede players sometimes are forced to rely on visual alignment as hearing one’s musical neighbor is next to impossible. For me the result was a veritable kaleidoscope of tunings, timbres, and tempos, combining in interesting and unusual ways as I adjusted my aural perception. When I asked my older teachers how they heard such ceremonies they without fail suggested that they continued to hear each gamelan as a separate unit, not mixing in the least. For Widnyana, however, this combination of tunings in the karya gede was the inspiration for his


orchestration of Trimbat.225 The karya gede is music for the gods as only they can hear it as such. In Trimbat Widnyana simplified for human reception the overwhelming overfullness of the karya gede.

Excerpts Widnyana opens the work by slowly introducing each of the tones on his three sets of gamelan. The opening ascending line introduces each of the saih cenik tones, followed by slow melodies on the saih madya and saih gede instruments. In this way the listener is allowed to slowly become acquainted with the very complex tuning, intervallic and acoustic beating relationships between each of the tones and gamelan sets. The melodic contours of these lines aligns the saih madya and saih gede ensembles together playing, respectively, the same sequence of keys. This arrangement is followed in the faster moving lines at 1:10. The saih madya and saih gede instruments play the same line, from the perspective of contour and key placement (while not the same pitches). Incidentally, these two bottom lines are the same as the saih cenik melody, here starting on the fourth tone (deng). After slowly sounding each of the tones Widnyana finally presents the inevitable combination of all tones [1:26], as the ascending ding-dong-deng-dung-dang of each of the differently tuned gamelan are brought together. The result is a thick and gauzy dissonance unlike any texture found in any traditional Balinese musical setting, excepting the karya gede. Looking strictly at the score and imagining a quantisization of pitches into equal temperament, we see a very dissonant and complicated series of harmonies at 1:26, a series of tri-chords in parallel motion--a root below both major and minor thirds. However, with the paired tunings and slightly “out-of-


Pande Made Sukerta suggests that he was the origin of the concept of employing tuning variations and the karya gede as an inspirational source, and that this was discussed during one of his and Wayan Sadra’s workshops on composition held at ISI Bali.


tune” (F# and D#) enharmonic tones, the aural reality is much more complicated and dissonant. At 1:38 Widnyana sequences two-note pairs through each of the three sets of calung instruments. The complexity in Trimbat often resides at points in which Widnyana breaks his own rules of form and logic that he establishes within the work, as in the single rhythmic exception within this section when the fifth sixteenth note overlaps the previous motif. The result gives the selection an unbalanced rhythmic feel and sweeps from under the listener’s feet moments of otherwise rhythmic or melodic comfort and predictability. The selection gives a sense of continuous rise through the pitch spectrum of the gamelan, sounding like an infinite tone loop, or sounding in the way a barber’s pole looks to be rising continuously to the sky. At 2:01 Widnyana presents melodies which resemble traditional Balinese forms; in even 4-bar phrases in saut-menyaut, question-answer, forms. Following this Widnyana explores the pitch relationship between pitches that are represented in the score as being the same (primarily F# and D#). That is, dung saih gede with deng saih cenik (f#) and ding saih gede with dang saih cenik (B-b, in lower and higher octaves). During the process of composing Trimbat, Widnyana explored the relationship of his gamelan tunings and the tempered keyboard, attempting to find similarities and differences. The section at 2:38 represents an aesthetic challenge to the tempered tuning system; Widnyana actively explores exactly that which is beyond Western notation’s capacity to capture and represent. The listener is left to relish the complexity of the tuning relationships and beating differences. Widnyana then explores the capacity of one gamelan tuning to shade that of another. The listener encounters only the high and sweet saih cenik tuning for several seconds until 2:58 when the melody veers into the saih gede instruments at which point a sense of five-tone


selisir is lost. The selisir of the saih gede is interpreted, by way of a kind of backwards attention vector, in terms of the saih cenik tuning to sound, according to Widnyana, like a “pélog miring” (“out-of-tune” pélog) tuning. Following this at 3:12 saih gede and saih madya tunings are used in combination to create a mode impossible on seven-tone pélog ensembles. Here saih madya pitches dong-deung-dung-dang (C#-E flat-f#-G) are combined with the saih madya deng (F) to create a new five tone mode, more chromatic than possible in pélog. Eventually the sense of five-tone pélog selisir is re-established on the saih madya instruments at 3:24. At 3:43 the previous saih cenik melody first presented at 2:10 is played along with the following saih gede and saih madya lines. The combination results in complex harmonic lines, often in three part harmony. While a standard Western harmonic analysis is not possible on this selection, it is notable the extent to which Widnyana explores, like his Cudamani colleague Suparta (who performed for Widnyana’s work), non-standard two and three part harmonies. The b major triad dominates the tonality of this section, and to this Western listener sometimes functions as a tonic center. B is the lowest pitch of the three ensembles, being key one-ding on the saih gede instruments. D and f natural are present in the higher tunings, b diminished and minor triads are also present. The seventh bar of the selection is especially dense harmonically: d# minor, f# minor 7, b minor followed by a b-aa# cluster. The sense of harmonic motion to a center is strengthened by the final chord, a bmajor chord in second inversion. Like Suparta, Widnyana has not formally studied Western harmonic principles and was not thinking in these analytical terms when creating this selection. No strict harmonic principles were employed, as can be seen from the fact that each of the previous solo lines are repeated literally when in combination, creating at moments comparatively thin two-note


minor second harmonies. Clearly, Widnyana was approaching this selection from the perspective of density and texture rather than (Western) harmony.226 The selection is appended by statements and arpeggiations of a major E-flat triad, first played in textures reminiscent of church organ chords and articulation (4:12 and 4:19) followed by rhythmic permutations of the arpeggiation between the calung – each pair sounding one of the three pitches. This is ended by a cadential-sounding E-flat major, b diminished, E-flat major sequence. The following section represents Widnyana’s effort to reconcile traditional Balinese styles within his unique experimental ensemble. The gamelan slonding style is the primary topic referenced, although at times leluangan and kebyar are also hinted at. Widnyana explores more traditional kotekan forms, dividing polos and sangsih pairs between the gamelan so that in one instance the saih gede ensemble plays the polos for the saih cenik’s sangsih while the pokok is held on the saih madya. The section between 4:29-5:06 is repeated thrice. Here the orchestration is similar to traditional kreasi kebyar textures in which the lower instruments (here the jegogan) perform a simpler abstracted melody below higher sounding instruments (here the calung) which play elaborated interlocking patterns and melodies. Widnyana explores the material thoroughly through each repetition. The second iteration is performed much more slowly, quietly, and deliberately, as if to allow the listener an “insiders” slow-motion view of the complicated interlocking and modal construction of the section before resuming it again at normal speed. The following section at 6:21 is more clearly influenced by slonding forms, however this too


However, it was almost impossible for me and the several other Western musicians who occasionally watched Widnyana’s rehearsals at Cudamani not to hear this selection in Western harmonic terms. Clearly, our ears quantized the pitch information into tempered tuning and imagined simple harmonic structures that were in fact acoustically much more complicated. One listener described this selection as sounding like “some sort of chthonic organ.”


is manipulated and transformed. While in slonding the lower jegogan instruments play repetitive oddly shaped phrases and the higher saron play interlocking patterns; this orchestration is turned upside down here. The slonding motif is continued and developed between 7:16-9:20 in which a slower moving section is repeated, again, three times. The orchestration is more abstract and experimental than in the previous section. Beginning at 9:20 Widnyana leaves behind traditional Balinese musical models, retaining only Balinese musics’ traditional focus on interlocking patterns. Here the concept of five, six or seven tone modes is abandoned as all pitches are used equally. The exploration here is in terms of rhythmic and phrase form. Following the introduction of a complex theme discussed below, Widnyana sequences a short melody through each of the keysets, withholding any sense of mode or modal center. This is followed by a melody which clothes a complicated polyrhythm performed on the gongs in which the gong cenik plays every eight tones, the gong madya every five tones and the gong gede every three tones. This polyrhythm was composed first; later the melody which covers it at 9:24 was composed around it. Each tone coincides rhythmically with its respective gong tone; harmonic tones are then added to thicken the texture. Harmonically the passage includes several instance of triadic harmony interspersed with close and dissonant clusters, vaguely recalling the music of such composers as Cowell or even Takemistu, whose music Widnyana has never heard. At 9:37 Widnyana strips away the melodic instruments revealing the deeply rumbling and scarcely intelligible gong polyrhythm beneath. This is followed at 10:13 by a faster melody more typical of standard kreasi kebyar textures. At 11:22 Widnyana introduces a feeling of complete chaos: thick and seemingly random harmonies, textures and rhythms meant to give the listener the impression that the whole improbable construction has finally fallen in on itself. Here it sounds as if the


musicians have become hopelessly lost amid the sonic confusion. Then, the sloppy and fractured phrase is played a second time exactly the same way. The passage eludes Western notation’s ability to represent rhythmically complex phenomena and recalls the rigorous rehearsal and orchestration of chaos achieved in such rare ensembles as Captain Beefheart’s band of the late 1960s. At 11:38 Widnyana again takes up the linear theme introduced in the beginning of the repeated section above, cycling through each of the keys of the instruments: 1-sc,1-sm,1sg227 (3x): 2-sc, 2-sm, 2-sg (3x) etc. giving the sense of a rising series of ascending chromatic cells. However, the pattern is more complicated than this. Looking at the longer individual key patterns of any one set of instruments the patterns is: 11122233555666 etc: or 3 notes, 3 notes, 2 notes, 3 notes; a pattern of 11 tones. This 3-3-2-3 pattern is cycled throughout the keyset of each gamelan with each starting at a different place in the pattern, a kind of phrase canon. Given that the odd numbers five and eleven do not have a common multiple before 55, the pattern for a single set of instruments is long and complex: 1112223355566611122333555666112223335556611122233355666 or, four times through the calung range. This pattern is performed by each of the gamelan in a 3 (gamelan) against 4 (pulses per beat) phrasing. The melodic/rhythmic polyrhythm then amounts to 3:4:11. In its first iteration at 9:20 the phrase is performed only once, and so the longer polyrhythmic implications are not felt. It is not until later, at 11:40, that the phrase is played further, but not to its logical conclusion. Here the 4:3 counter-rhythm is highlighted by the jegogan playing1-2-3-5-6 in unison resulting in dissonant clusters banged out at the halfnote level, thus expanding the polyrhythm to 165 tones against 40(80x5) tones of the jegogan


Sc, sm, sg referring to saih cenik, saih madya and saih gede respectively.


pattern. The result is a wall of sound, an incredibly complex form that somehow, through the sheer virtuosity and energy of the very young players, is still exciting and listenable. Widnyana’s music is very complex, but infused with the irresistible bravado and fire of youth (some players were as young as 13 years old).

Beat calung sc calung sm calung sg

* 1 1 1 1

* 1 1 1 1

* 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

* 2 2 2 2

* 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

* 3 3 3 3

* 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

* 5 5 5 5

* 6 6 6 6 6 6 6

* 6 6 6 6

* 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

* 1

jegogan sc 1 jegogan sm 1 jegogan sg 1

Figure 5.25. Widnyana Trimbat Polyrhythm excerpt. (11:40)

The total polyrhythm theoretically involves the combination of: 55 tones / calung cycle (5x(3+3+2+3) = 11 x 5 keys) x 3 (sets of gamelan) =165 Against 40 tones = jegogan cycle (8 notes x 5 keys) (at the half note level) To compute when these two patterns first coincide we use a basic mathematical procedure. We “prime factor” 165 and 40 to find the lowest common denominator. Tenor cycle: 165/5=33/11/3 Bass cycle: 40/5=8/2=4/2=2 We then multiply the prime factors: 5x11x3x2(cubed)=1320 tones (16th notes) Resulting in: 8 iterations of the calung cycle 330 pulses (quarter notes) 33 iterations of the jegogan cycle 5x11x3 5x2(cubed)


Inspired by both the baroquely complex symbols of Balinese Hinduism and ancient Javanese and Balinese calendars with their intersections seven, five, and three day weeks and the convergences of these calendar days with important moments in the Lunar and Gregorian calendars Widnyana is referencing the deep roots of Balinese tradition in a completely experimental musical treatment. Had this polyrhythm continued to its logical conclusion, given that 110 beats / 1 minute is the average tempo, it would theoretically take nearly three minutes for the total pattern to be performed (a fourth of the total work). And certainly, if we as an audience had to experience the whole polyrhythm we would, like those courtiers witnessing Krisna’s true form, likely start to go mad.228


Widnyana worked closely with the ISI karawitan faculty member Arnawa in developing this section of his work. Arnawa studied for his masters in composition at STSI Solo with the German composer Dieter Mack. Mack reports that while in Solo he regularly discussed the mathematical approach to composition and the incorporation of the Fibonacci series. Arnawa’s musik kontemporer works have focused on translating the mathematical aspects of the Balinese pengidur bhuana concept into music. Incidentally, the numbers 5,8, and 55, each important numbers within the Fibonacci series, are central elements in Widnyana’s polyrhythm.


Figure 5.26A. Ida Bagus Made Widnyana, Trimbat.


Figure 5.26B. Ida Bagus Made Widnyana, Trimbat.


Figure 5.26C. Ida Bagus Made Widnyana, Trimbat.


Figure 5.26D. Ida Bagus Made Widnyana, Trimbat.


Figure 5.26E. Ida Bagus Made Widnyana, Trimbat.


Figure 5.26F. Ida Bagus Made Widnyana, Trimbat.


Figure 5.26G. Ida Bagus Made Widnyana, Trimbat.


Chapter Summary In the beginning of this chapter I discussed Dewa Ketut Alit’s Pengastung Kara partially as an example of status quo performance practice in “new traditional” and kreasi baru repertoires. However, it must be stressed that in traditional and kreasi baru repertoire tempo and dynamics and aspects of the music I have termed “groove” are sometimes not consciously composed into a work. Rather, these are elements of performance, rather than compositional, practice. While the norms which guide the performance of these elements in traditional and, often, kreasi repertoires are often not consciously composed into the works, in musik kontemporer contexts they are sometimes, consciously, composed out. Traditional Balinese approaches to dynamics and tempo are clearly composed out of Suparta’s, Arsana’s, Sadra’s, and to a certain extent Windha’s works. Discussing how groove may or may not differ between musik kontemporer and more traditional repertoires is trickier. The type of groove expressed in Sadra’s work is the most non-Balinese, as his performers are not Balinese and he is referencing foreign genres such as keroncong and jazz. The final section of Windha’s work, discussed below, quotes Sumatran Minangkabau music and a distinctly non-Balinese approach to groove. Performers suggested that the very different feelings of rasa and selah (which could be translated as groove) in Suparta’s work was due to the extensive use of irregular meters, polyrhythm, and novel use of silence. One difference between musik kontemporer and more traditional genres lies in the ways in which common indigenous performance practices, including approaches to groove, are avoided, composed out, or replaced by new or foreign approaches. In the first two examples I considered how western notation by its nature highlights rhythm and melody and that these elements are the most easily and quickly scan-able within Western notation. Western musicians and theorists can easily imagine that the significant


information about a work can be contained within standard notation; elements not fully represented are treated as less important surface materials. This analysis of notation works as a kind of closed system; meaning is considered to not only be internal to the notation-imagined as the work--but internal specifically to the comparatively narrow set of elements of the work highlighted in Western notation. However, in comparing the first two works above, and in encountering Balinese artists in ethnographic dialogue, we find that a significant element of innovation in new Balinese music lies outside of the parameters neatly represented in standard notation and in our standard analytical tools. The situation is reminiscent of the old Middle-Eastern joke; when asked why he was looking for his lost keys only under the lightpost, Nasruddin responded: “because the light is better under it.”229 In our system of notation and analysis elements such as melody and rhythm are the most clearly illumed, while the keys to understanding and feeling new and traditional Balinese music the way the Balinese do may still be lying in the shadows.


My thanks to Evan Ziporyn for introducing me to Sufi humor.


Concluding Thoughts

Implications for Ethnomusicology Since the 1980s, ethnomusicologists have been in the front in the humanities in rejecting the claims of the cultural imperialism thesis, either for its simplistic, binary structure, or because of its pessimism, expressed through its suggestion that local cultures are doomed to Western domination and complete cultural homogenization. In its place, ethnomusicologists have proposed more nuanced models of multifaceted, multiflow relations. By the mid 1990s a tension in theorizing the global music system emerged between systemic Marxist theories and theories of fragmented, interacting culturescapes (Slobin, 1993, Appadurai, 1991). Since then, there has been a general trend away from binary models towards models of matrix, and a problematizing of such previously accepted notions as “the local.” The notion of globalization itself entails a shift from two-dimensional Euclidean space with centers and peripheries, to a multidimensional global space with unbounded, often discontinuous and interpenetrating sub-spaces. Through the presentation of a narrative about actors working at the very center of international global interaction who have found ways to both change and stay the same—to selectively creolize their own culture and cultural expressions—this dissertation illustrates the complex and intersecting worlds of modern composition. It suggests that the spheres of the local, national, and global are, as Erlmann (1999) suggests, simulacra, image worlds taken for real but located in imaginations in flux. What are the implications for a field devoted to the study of the other, when that other can now write equally or more telling accounts using the field’s own jargon? Where does the Western ethnomusicologist devoted to Indonesian music place himself when


Western trained local ethnomusicologists critique the structure of the discipline as hegemonic, if not ethnocentric?230 In an older ethnomusicology Americans and Europeans felt entitled and justified to provide these accounts because, who else would have? Now where does the American ethnomusicologist place himself when his informants are as or more capable of commenting on their own traditions and innovations as he is? Is the Western researcher’s only recourse to claim that, because he is not blinded by local cultural and musical habitus, he can provide a telling and unique outsider account of the local scene? Possibly, as the known traditional and new local musics of the world are increasingly and more quickly and fully documented by local and foreign researchers, the real value of a future ethnomusicology will lie more in its ability to function as cultural critique rather than in documentation and preservation. Current ethnomusicological research focuses much more on music’s significations than on its structure. In this dissertation, I have attempted to investigate both. My examination of musical structure involved cultural critique through a series of questions about how and why we as analysts notate foreign musics and what our notations suggest about our own musicality. The methods I develop to discuss elements which we have historically overlooked as analysts, mainly tempo and dynamics, could be used to study other musics such as Burmese hsaing waing or gamelan gandrung Banyuwangi in which dynamic and temporal changes are central elements in the music’s construction. At a certain level my examinations of new music in Indonesia serve as an investigation of the unconscious assumptions of my own musicality. Throughout my research, I invariably found that what Indonesian musicians and composers considered to be significant elements of musicality and musical form do not map neatly along my conceptions.


See especially Supanggah, 2003.


When playing bop with Javanese musicians in Yogyakarta, and noticing that they occasionally “got it wrong” in serious ways,231 I wondered how my analyses in this work are undoubtedly shot through with my own musical assumptions and artistic habitus. In my analysis I have attempted to provide a cultural critique by questioning the ways in which the Western musical understanding potentially blinds ethnomusicologists to elements understood locally as significant. In this way I also hope to open new windows of musical possibility, inspiration, and exploration to composers and scholars. This study can furthermore serve as a stepping point from which to begin a broader investigation of new experimental musics outside of the Western art tradition. Ethnomusicology has seen only isolated and infrequent investigations in this direction. Such studies are challenging as the researcher must be able to differentiate innovative from traditional elements. Conducting such a study at a cross-cultural level would be a formidable task, but may reveal common motivations and global trends in the development of experimental music outside of the Western art tradition. The outstanding scholarship of authors such as McPhee and Tenzer represent the Western gaze at the other, producing particularistic, formalistic studies of cultural expressions understood as internally developed and self-contained. This study has revealed that Balinese composers have been, since the development of kebyar, gazing back, both to the West as well as to various other local and foreign traditions and developments.


Or, in another example, observing how both myself and fellow Balinese students “got it wrong” in our efforts to play Javanese music and wondering at how and why we never made the same kinds of mistakes.


Globalization Indonesia is a complex system and is (to borrow a Balinese metaphor) like a human body. Within any single part--any single cell--volumes of information about the whole can be discovered. Likewise, Balinese experimental music expresses more than just its sound. It reflects much about the larger body of Indonesian (and global) culture as well. One discourse expressed through Balinese experimentalism concerns the presence, role, and effects of Western (and more generally global) influences in Indonesia. James Clifford frets:

All of us are caught in modernity’s inescapable momentum. Something similar occurs whenever marginal peoples come into a historical or ethnographic space that has been defined by the Western imagination. “Entering the modern world,” their distinct histories quickly vanish.” (Clifford 1988)

The increased use of certain Western musical elements and the abandonment of certain traditional elements in musik kontemporer may appear to represent the beginning of the “vanishing” of the distinct history and form of Balinese traditional music. However, from the privileged Western vantage point of global homogenization, what seems to be Westernization at first glance may not be, or not directly. The form of Balinese arts, as indicated throughout this thesis, has changed over the past twenty five years as much through the result of internal as external pressure and change, and Westernization is only part of the story of Balinese musik kontemporer. The musical examples discussed in chapter five clearly illustrate the very Balineseness of Balinese musik kontemporer. The far greater use of indigenous materials over foreign-derived materials marks each of the musik kontemporer works discussed in this thesis. Considering the long and intense intercultural interactions the Balinese have experienced through colonization, tourism, nationalism, and globalization this music serves


as an inspiring and cautionary example to those who would prematurely bemoan the defilement of Balinese culture. But while the Western ethnomusicologist--whose job security hangs on the maintenance and reproduction of distinct local cultures--may be heartened by the above, we must also examine seriously the role of Western institutions, thought, and structures in motivating and sometimes subtly engineering the creation of these new forms. During my research several Balinese composers received grants, fellowships, and commissions from organizations located in the West and Asian organizations whose funding is provided by Western (primarily American and Dutch) institutions. While we can re-assure ourselves that the final product of musik kontemporer is sufficiently local and distinct, we must wonder if it would exist at all without the highly complex systems of support in the form of foreign grants, fellowships, tours, and educational opportunities.232 During the development of musik kontemporer there has been a slight shift in compositional style from intuitive development, fortuitous inspiration, and group-oriented composition to individual-oriented, verbalized, and rationalized conceptualization. This has resulted partially from the influence of the bureaucratic and intellectual demands of both Westernized and Western funded arts agencies and the Western-influenced conservatory/university educational system and bureaucracy. In applying for funding or in describing one’s recital composition a composer of musik kontemporer cannot declare that he (alongside his fellow musicians) will compose “whatever comes to him,” intuitively creating based on the specific compositional context. Neither can a composer state that he hopes to be


While in terms of total cash the amount of foreign funding for activities leading to musik kontemporer is quite small, we must realize the symbolic power of a golden carrot of funding and foreign opportunity in motivating relatively impoverished musicians to create.


divinely inspired, as was the case with some composers of previous generations.233 Rather, because musik kontemporer is almost exclusively patronized by either the academy or foreign funded agencies, contemporary composers must almost always clearly and rationally outline in written form their compositional intentions and aims before sounding a single note. The compositional approach in traditional forms as well as the classic kebyar of the early to midlate twentieth century was characterized by a more intuitive and oral/aural approach. Modern composition is more often characterized by rational conceptualizing.234 Wayan Sadra has suggested that: “in composing traditional music the hand or the vocal chords often move before the conscious mind acts. In most kontemporer music, the conscious mind acts before the body or the air moves. In the case of kontemporer what often starts in the mind is an idea, not a melody.”235 This is not to suggest that this is always the case today with every kontemporer composer, nor that “intuitive” composers of a previous generation were not in their own way analysts, theoreticians or conceptual thinkers--they surely were. However, what is evident is a general trend in musik kontemporer, as in Western modernism for theory (conceptualization and rationalization) to precede practice.


Pak Wayan Beratha describes being inspired in dreams to compose the accompaniment to a dance of celestial nymphs in his sendratari Narakasuma (I Wayan Beratha, personal communication, September 2001). McPhee similarly describes Lotring being inspired to compose while trying to sleep (1966). Other composers describe a semi-conscious state (keraohan) of possession/meditation in which they are inhabited by the muse/God Bhatara Taksu, or receive wahyu (knowledge or philosophy) from the spiritual realm of niskala. Several composers suggested that the motivation and materials for composition most naturally comes from the combination of experiences from the personal, spiritual (niskala), and natural (alam) worlds (I Ketut Gede Asnawa, I Nyoman Catra, I Ketut Suryatini, personal communication). 234 This includes the rational conceptualizing of “tradition” and “traditional” materials such as the interpretations of information in lontars including the Prakempa by composers such as Asnawa and Suryatini. While the resource information is imagined as ancient the approach is modern, theoretical and rational. 235 “Kalau musik tradisi, tabuh/tangan atau swara jalan langsung. Kalau musik kontemporer, otaknya jalan dulu.” (I Wayan Sadra, personal communication, March 2004).


Nation and Tradition A second discourse revealed through musik kontemporer’s genome is that of Indonesian nationalism. The history of experimental music in Indonesia reflects generally the pattern and form of Indonesian governmental development programs. That is, they have been fleeting, fragmented, and rarely realized in full. When the government seriously invested effort and funds in the development of new national forms, first during the polemik kebudayaan, and then later through the Pekan Komponis Muda and Indonesian sponsored tours of new music in North America, the results were isolated and sporadic periods of creation followed by years of relative stasis and artistic ambiguity. These periodic efforts were meant to help create a genre that would unify Indonesian composers and serve as a symbol for expressing national pride and Indonesian independence and modernity. However, because of the very variety and complexity of local cultures in Indonesia, and because of the temporary and insufficient form of governmental sponsorship, this goal has yet to be fully realized. There has never been any national “art” music in Indonesia that has functioned to culturally connect the people of its various ethnicities with the strength or veracity of keroncong, dangdut, rock or even hip-hop. Raden (2002) strongly suggests that musik kontemporer represents Indonesia’s national music. Raden and Pasaribu (Raden 2002:229) support this claim by suggesting that a national form is defined not by its reception but by its construction. However, such a claim seems dubious when there is so little consensus around the “form” of the form. If viewed as an effort to create a unifying national high-art form with an intelligible, unique, and coherent syntax, musik kontemporer has thus far failed. In Central Java the form flourished and grew under Humardani in the 1970s and 1980s and during the first years of the PKM, only to falter after his death. In Bali, until recently, the history of experimentalism has been fragmented


and scattershot. It is tempting to paint the early development of experimentalism in Indonesia not as something organic, growing naturally with the needs and interests of artists and audiences, but as the artificial result of policies and concepts developed primarily by Western trained artists and bureaucrats. Musik kontemporer likely represents an unstable and temporary phase in the history of Indonesian national and regional music, likely to eventually be consolidated into more stable patterns and genres in the future.

Subjectivities While studies of kebyar have focused on the development and conventions of the form—the language of kebyar as a more or less unified genre during its apex in the late twentieth century—the current study has been an investigation of pluralism. Of note is the variety of the examples presented above. No single theoretical toolkit can contain them all. Musik kontemporer is an unbounded, lurching, and sometimes contradictory phenomenon. While the form symbolically represents discourses and interactions on a global, national, and regional scale, it more clearly and immediately represents the distinct and idiosyncratic personalities of its creators. It is a more personal form than traditional genres, including kebyar. One might guess then that the interests and needs of the individual composer might be in conflict with or opposed to larger social forces. This is sometimes the case, as seen above in the works and rhetoric of such composers as Yudane and Sadra. Ethnomusicology as a discipline has historically been more concerned with investigating groups than individuals, while musicology has traditionally focused on the lives and psyche of the figure of the “great composer.” In this work I have avoided the neat categorization of musik kontemporer composers as a unified social group, focusing as much on their personal idiosyncrasies and difference of aesthetics as on their commonalities. It is


hoped that this text has provided a fuller and more problematic view of the variety of Balinese subjectivities, especially in the face of previous ethnographic research that has stressed an almost stifling conceptualization of the homogeneity of Balinese traditional society and personhood.236 Modern Balinese, like all peoples existing in globalization, are composed of multiple identities and are located in multiple positions. The lives and works of contemporary Balinese composers demonstrate that Balinese identity is not necessarily unitary and that Balinese subjectivities can multitask between different identities and affiliations depending on need and context. After performing the rather anonymous role of the traditional musician providing aural offerings to the gods in a morning temple ceremony, the young Balinese kontemporer composer is likely to interact with other Indonesian and foreign musical materials, if not musicians, in an afternoon rehearsal of new works. The modern Balinese composer is at once a village, national, and global being.


See for instance Geertz’s notions of personhood in his Negara (1980) and his concept of the exemplary center.


A – SUPPLEMENTAL ANALYSES This appendix includes supplemental analysis of various kreasi baru and musik kontemporer works not incorporated into chapter five due to space limitations.

Sang Nyoman Arsawijaya’s Ambisi [CDII Track 3] This composition began as an experimental work presented during a program of musik kontemporer by STSI students and faculty at the 2003 PKB. The sections discussed below were essentially already formed in this first incarnation of the work. Later, the composition was developed and reworked for use as a final graduate recital (interestingly, not Arsawijaya’s). Because the final work represents the recital of another student, it should be stressed that Ambisi in its final form was a highly collaborative composition. However, the two sections discussed here were clearly Arsawijaya’s creation. The primary compositional technique employed in Ambisi is the canon. Canon techniques are not a part of any traditional Balinese repertoire or compositional practice. Recently however basic canon techniques have been used in Balinese kreasi sandhya gita, the large mixed sex choruses performed to gong kebyar accompaniment. In the case of sandhya gita the technique has arrived via Javanese koor works which have long been heavily influenced by Western musical practices. In the case of Ambisi the technique arose through Arsawijaya’s interest in Western compositional practices and his personal study of Western music theory textbooks. However, the techniques employed by Arsawijya in the two following examples do not tightly conform to any standard Western canon technique. In an example that resembles Kroeber’s discussion of the development of the Apache alphabet as


an example of idea diffusion237 Arsawijaya, not being fluent in English or able to read Western notation, was forced to guess at the exact definitions and constructions of the Western canon, inserting his own creations within the gaps of his understanding. The result is a distinctly Balinese approach to the canon. In Arsawijaya’s work melodies are often restated and entered into with considerable variation because, according to Arsawijaya: “with only five notes, you have to vary certain parts so that it does not become too monotone” (personal communication, Arsawijaya, December 2003). The ensemble for Ambisi is unusually small for an STSI ujian work, only six performers. Most other recitals created during my fieldwork included full ensembles of up to 25 players. The instrumentation for Ambisi included: six saron gong gede, two kendang, two ceng-ceng kopyak, two suling, gong, kempul and bebende. The work received high marks and was well received by the audience. Many faculty members noted and appreciated the depth to which a relatively limited amount of compositional material was explored.

The Excerpts: Western influence is announced within the first ten seconds of the work as short canons are performed in the opening thematic material. The first notated example presents the longest canon employed in the work, beginning at 2:16. The canon is divided into three statements, each being doubled by pengisep-pengumbang pairs. The first saron enters followed at a distance of two-beats by the second saron.238 The only moment of interrupted rhythm occurs in the first six beats of the statement, as if to clarify and reinforce the canon

Kroeber describes the adoption of the Roman alphabet by the Apache as an example of idea diffusion because in this case the visual symbols of the system were used with partially different meanings and interpretations attached to them. 238 In the notated example I employ common time bar lines as a matter of convenience for the reader. There is no gong pattern or kempli employed in this section, and section length is up to the performers’ discretion. Note that the final bar is actually “in” 17/16.


effect from the beginning. The two saron statements are literal repetitions of one another and quickly become monotonous within the 3-4 and 6-7 bar where they play the same figure. The strictness of the canon is broken by the kantilan which substitutes the saron’s two-note figure in these bars for a three note descending figure, giving the selection more melodic life and a characteristically Balinese sense of hemiola. The selection is repeated twice within the composition. The sections in bars 3-4 and 6-7 are not set but are dependent upon the first saron’s role as a leading ugal instrument to signal, through dynamics and shifting melody, the next section of the canon. In this way the selection appears to be a combination of both active, (majalan) canon material interrupted by points of hovering (ngubeng) stasis as the performers await the ugal’s cue for the next statement of the canon. The second example begins at 4:18 and is performed several times in various tempos and arrangements. The notated example presents only the first few moments of the first instance of the canon. Again, the first saron leads, followed by the second saron two notes behind and the kantilan seven notes behind. The repetitions of the canon are literal throughout except for the manner in which they enter. The second saron performs an inverted empat melody with the simultaneous first saron note (dang-a, above deng-e) to avoid the tighter clash of the ding-c# with deng-e in a literal restatement. This harmonic replacement is repeated again and more extensively in the kantilan’s entrance where the clash of ding-dong (c#-d) harmonies foreshadows the tighter harmonies and dissonances to come later in the canon. While the primary harmonies in both the first and second example are those of the empat (5th) and inverted empat (4th), occurrences of seconds increase as the example continues. While this breaks traditional rules of Balinese harmony, in creating a too crowded texture, the effect is successful because the canon technique allows the listener to, in


essence, shift his or her perception from the individually clashing harmonies of the moment to longer moving inter-related and interweaving melodic lines.

Figure AA.1A. Sang Nyoman Arsawijaya, Ambisi.


Figure AA.1B. Sang Nyoman Arsawijaya, Ambisi.


Desak Made Suarti Laksmi’s Tembang Gending [CDII Track 4] Desak Made Suarti Laksmi’s Tembang Gending is a vocal work first composed as part of the colossal Marajut Tali Keragaman, a massive performance arranged in 2000 by Nyoman Windha involving several gamelan and nearly 100 musicians. The work is included here because of its innovative approach to harmony, phrasing, improvisation, and as an example of new Balinese vocal music.239 Tembang Gending was originally intended for any number of female voices, divided into two choruses and a soloist. Although it is intended to be performed without gamelan accompaniment, several musicians, including the composer, referred to it as an example of sandhya gita. Desak composed a partial score for the work in Javanese style kepatihan notation, used prescriptively when she taught the work in Bali and America. This is the only indigenously produced score I encountered during my research. I present the example in Western notation here, both for consistency and because the composer’s score does not include the third solo voice which is more free and improvisational than voice one and two. The work is primarily in slendro, although in the recording Desak performs a very diatonic version of slendro in which pitches 1-2-3-5-6 closely coincide with f-g-a-c-d respectively.240 The inclusion of a single non-slendro tone, b (second voice, beat two, bar 53), suggests however that the composer is imagining diatonic scales rather than slendro. Typically, non-patet tones included in slendro are flattened versions modal tones, called minur. The inclusion of the “b” tone suggests F major rather

The recording provided on the accompanying CD was made by the composer while studying for a composition degree at Brown University. The example is a multi-tracked studio recording in which the composer performs all three vocal lines.

Although in the recorded performance the pitch gradually moves sharp, and by the end the work is more than a half step higher than where it began.


than slendro minur. The composer herself suggested the work was both diatonic and slendro. Furthermore, there are several instances of close harmonies, typically not present in sandhya gita works, as well as tri-chords, further associating the modal structure with Western models. Entering in bar 10 the solo voice typically sounds open fourth and fifth harmonies but in several instances (beginning in bar 14) thirds are stressed. Seconds are frequently employed as well, beginning in the brilliant harmonies in bar 18 (see also bar 33). The sense that Tembang Gending is diatonic rather than in slendro is reinforced by the clear F major chord in first inversion at bar 28. Triadic harmony is not as yet a regular feature in sandhya gita works and Desak’s incorporation of it here is novel. The comparative thickness of triadic harmonies are a legitimate musical option here, according to the composer, because it is not accompanied by the thick textures of the gong kebyar as in typical sandhya gita. The section A ends with all voices on unison F, again reinforcing the sense of diatonicism but also illustrating that, for many Balinese composers, the unison, rather than harmonic structures, is the most fundamental and stable structure. While tri-chords are employed here, they are used to mark mid points rather than final cadences, suggesting that to the Balinese ear triadic harmony remains an unstable texture. The faster moving section at B suggests the standard Balinese orchestration of pokok (voice 2) and payasan (voice 1). While the two occasionally diverge in contrapuntal motion, they tend to converge at stressed points and at the ends of phrases. While in traditional arrangements these points of convergence would always be at the unison or octave, here it is as likely to be a third or fourth. However, it is more often the case in Tembang Gending that heavily stressed or longer held cadences employ the unison or fifth. Desak’s approach to elaboration, vibrato, and ornament is completely traditional. As a professional arja performer


her voice is extremely strong and capable of competing acoustically with even metal gamelan ensembles. The traditional approach to vibrato here imitates the fast beating of pengumbangpengisep paired tuning. The lyrics generally concern the act of singing by young men and women, and are in the style of sekar rare or dolanan children’s songs, in modern middle Balinese. The lyrical content is extremely limited and conserved between the voices and sections. In general the overall structure of Tembang Gending is comparatively simple, when compared with other sandhya gita forms and to other kontemporer works presented in this section. Interestingly, most of the works by older and established composers (i.e. Desak, Windha, Sadra, Asnawa) discussed here and in chapter five are consistently more transparent, simple and conservative in the use of materials than those works by younger composers. This has to do primarily with the kinds of repertoires and genres the composers are referencing in their works, but also may suggest that younger composers feel the need to compositionally prove themselves, their abilities and their rigor. It may also reflect the fact that these older composers were all mentored by such figures as I Wayan Beratha, for whom wide understanding and appreciation of his compositions was a more important goal than the introduction of conceptually opaque compositional devices.


Figure AA.2A. Desak Made Suarti Laksmi, Tembang Gending.


Figure AA.2B. Desak Made Suarti Laksmi, Tembang Gending.


Figure AA.2C. Desak Made Suarti Laksmi, Tembang Gending.


Figure AA.2D. Desak Made Suarti Laksmi, Tembang Gending.


Figure AA.2E. Desak Made Suarti Laksmi, Tembang Gending.


I Made Subandi’s Improvisations for Gender Wayang [CDII Track 5,6]
“I wondered, what would it sound like if a heavy-metal guitarist played gender wayang?” – I Made Subandi

I Made Subandi is well known in Bali as both a strong traditional performer and a composer of new music. His compositional approach is typically intuitive and often grows out of his nearly constant improvising. He is often described by other performers and composers as too creative “terlalu kreatif” and is known to have difficulty remembering from one rehearsal to the next his own compositions as they seem to be constantly evolving in his mind. In this section I focus on one of his improvisations rather than on the final result of the improvisations themselves.241 The selection is an improvisation on a rare and new form of gender wayang saih pitu (seven-tone pélog gender). These instruments have 14 keys each and include (unlike the gamelan semara dana) each of the seven tones in both the low and high register. These instruments were originally commissioned for the creation of a kreasi wayang by Ketut Suparta (Klinik) for his creation of the kreasi wayang babad in the early 1990s. Subandi was commissioned at the time to create the extensive and innovative wayang accompaniment. Later, these instruments were used for the accompaniment of the collaborative Theft of Sita project between Subandi, Yudane, and the Australian guitarist Paul Grabowsky. Subandi often sketched out ideas for other ensembles on these instruments because of their extended range, and because he is comfortable composing on gender instruments, being able to create both the kotekan and pokok simultaneously. Elements of the improvisation presented here later became incorporated into several works including: an innovative wayang accompaniment using a slonding ensemble (with Wayan Buda), his 2003

Materials from this improvisation later became incorporated into at least three kreasi baru and musik kontemporer works.


gong kebyar work Udgita (which won him first prize in the 2003 Festival Gong), an experimental work entitled Kluak Klauk performed at the PKB in 2003, and a 60 minute suite entitled Ceraken which Subandi composed with a grant from the Kelola foundation. Before entering into a detailed discussion of Subandi’s improvisation, the presence and role of improvisation in traditional Balinese music should be touched upon. Improvisation in traditional Balinese music exists to a relatively limited extent in forms of solo drumming (kendang tunggal – see Tenzer 2000), ugal and trompong neliti elaborations, non-fixed pitch instrumental elaborations (rebab and suling), vocal improvisations (especially in dramatic forms such as arja which highlights solo voices) and, to a very limited extent, in gender wayang performance. The focus on set forms and set interlocking patterns in Balinese music necessarily limits the role of improvisation in most large ensembles; if the polos begins improvising it will almost certainly disrupt the connection with the sangsih and the flow of the composite melody. However, in certain gender wayang styles, especially that of Sukawati, limited improvisation in otherwise set pieces242 is a regular occurrence. Performers such as I Wayan Loceng have developed extensive variations for repeated sections of standard works, giving the impression of a theme-and-variations form, or cengkok variations in the style of Javanese traditional music.243 The role of improvisation is generally left to the sangsih, as the polos is imagined to present the core form of the melody and to be responsible for holding the form of the piece and cueing shifts between sections. Without altering the form of a simple polos kotekan pattern,


I am not considering here the standard use of improvisation in the accompaniment to pasiat, fighting scenes. 243 In teaching me the Sukawati form of Sekar Sungsang Loceng, after giving me the standard version of the sangsih with literal repetitions of the opening section, then taught several variations so that the section seemed to be through-composed, rather than repeated. This was to make it more pleasing and interesting to listen to but also, according to Loceng, more difficult for listeners to “steal” his version of the work.


the sangsih can theoretically shift between at least four interlocking patterns which all function correctly as kotekan. Looking at example below we see a standard polos form elaborated by four different sangsih patterns. The first is a standard kotekan empat above the polos, the second a kotekan telu, again above. The third pattern switches the sangsih below the polos in a kotekan telu form (a rhythmic palindrome of the polos), and the final example switches to a kotekan empat form again below the polos.

Figure AA.3. Sangsih Variations.

In short repetitive traditional works such as angkat-angkatan, used to accompany walking scenes in traditional wayang, creative performers such as Subandi can cycle through these various interlocking options to give short works an impression of being longer throughcomposed pieces. It is out of this background that Subandi’s improvisations presented here have evolved. In the recorded example Subandi is heard playing sangsih alongside Gusti Sudarta playing polos. The opening section (bars 1-16) states a theme in the mode tembung. The first motive (bars 2-4) bears a strong resemblance to a version of the traditional work Seketi from the area of Karangasem (Ababi). The following theme is innovative in its switch to a fast double-time feel, displaying the performers’ virtuosity. The second motive (bars 1516) begins in an odd meter. Odd meters are more common in gender wayang repertoire than in the repertoire of larger ensembles which are typically bound by symmetrical gong structures. This second theme is, in Subandi’s words in “Sukawati style.” This entire theme is repeated but modulated into the selisir mode (bars 17-35). Finally the theme is repeated a third time in the sunaren mode (bars 36-53). The sangsih improvisation which follows


continues exclusively in sunaren while the polos occasionally incorporates a low ding (1, c#) selisir tone. However, this tone functions more in a structural than modal role. The four bar polos pattern continues with little improvisation throughout the solo. The polos is uncharacteristically rhythmically dense, allowing Subandi to focus more directly on melodic elaboration rather than maintaining rhythmic interlocking patterns. Subandi’s innovative and non-traditional approach to dissonance and harmony is evident on the third beat of his solo as he plays dang (6,a) against the polos’ dung (5,g#) creating a harmony of roughly a 1/2 step. Although the most common interval is the traditional empat (5th) there are several such moments of close harmony (see again bar 58). His primary rhythmic motive is stated in bar 56; this theme occurs throughout the solo in various variations. The solo is primarily concerned with developing variations and exploring non-traditional harmonies (especially the minor second g#-a, and third g#-b) while striving for a virtuosic, “heavy metal” texture achieved by playing almost constant off-beats. In bar 84 Subandi performs a brilliant descending motivic sequence, first on g#, moving to e, and finally on d, with each statement of the theme. While the opening motives before the sangsih’s solo suggest standard gender wayang topics the solo itself is innovative for the fact that it directly references no traditional Balinese repertoire or genres. A recording of the solo at the preferred tempo, here modulated up two notes and with a more complicated sangsih is heard on CDII Track 2.


Figure AA.4A. I Made Subandi, Genderan Saih Pitu.


Figure AA.4B. I Made Subandi, Genderan Saih Pitu.


Figure AA.4C. I Made Subandi, Genderan Saih Pitu.


Figure AA.4D. I Made Subandi, Genderan Saih Pitu.


Pande Made Sukerta’s Asanawali [CDII Track 7]
“They said if I tried to play this piece in Denpasar the audience might throw rocks. I said ‘then just cremate me, because if I’d be killed for my music, then I’m already in hell!’” -Pande Made Sukerta

Pande Made Sukerta’s Asanawali was originally composed in 1978 while he was a final semester student at ASKI Solo. The work is an early example of the experimental combination of Javanese and Balinese musics and elements of this work later became incorporated into several other of Sukerta’s pieces including his Gora Suara, presented at the 1979 PKM and other kreasi baru composed for gamelan ensembles in and around Singaraja. The work was originally composed for the ASKI Solo Balinese gamelan ensemble and the majority of the performers heard on the recording are Javanese gamelan musicians, many of whom later became faculty at STSI Solo. Sukerta’s approach is generally in a kreasi baru style in the vein of Wayan Beratha’s works of the 1960s and 1970s and several motives in Asanawali can be directly traced to Beratha’s influence. Besides kreasi baru motives Sukerta incorporates several Javanese references, primarily vocal. The work presents one of the earliest examples of the combination of slendro and pélog systems within an otherwise fivetone kebyar kreasi baru work. At the time this was an extremely novel technique. However, during my research these techniques had already become common practice within kreasi baru composition. The work involves an interesting mix of kreasi baru and pepanggulan structures and forms. Pepanggulan works are similar to kreasi lelambatan forms in that they incorporate cedugan (stick) drumming patterns and highlight both the trompong and longer formal structures. While the use of trompong is now standard in kreasi baru kebyar works, at the time Asanawali was composed such practice was unknown. Sukerta’s work was (and is)


innovative for the extent to which it draws upon various traditional topical references (both Balinese and Javanese) while retaining a distinctly northern Balinese feeling.244 The work opens like a typical lelambatan piece, initially indistinguishable from those ancient works that may be performed in temple contexts. Here the trompong outlines a traditional melodic structure and is ornamented by suling. Within the otherwise conventional kawitan Sukerta introduces the non-selisir pitch daing (7)245 on the rebab and suling. This frequently occurs in semar pegulingan repertoire performed on five-tone ensembles where these supporting instruments play those missing pitches. In these cases the tones are referred to as pomero or non-modal tones. Often these act as replacement tones; typically pitch 1 (ding) being replaced by pitch 7 (daing) to convey a sense of patet sunaren. However here Sukerta characterizes the use of these tones not as pomero but as “keslendroan” (lit. “slendroness”). At 1:15 the trompong and suling combine to form a 6-7-1 (dang-daing-ding, or a-bc#) contour, suggesting the hematonic slendro structure. After a short passage of genderan, the trompong and suling resume to set a “melancholy mood,” in Sukerta’s terms. According to Sukerta the general narrative of the work moves from melancholic introspection to meditative calm to youthful joy. In his compositions Sukerta generally avoids the use of thematic, representational narratives (Malam and Gora Suara, described in Appendix D being an exception), but tends to paint more abstract successions of affects. Such is the case with Asanawali.


Sukerta and other informants had difficulty in explicating exactly what it was that defined the northern (Buleleng) style of kreasi baru. For Sukerta this regional difference lie primarily in the specific dynamic and temporal profile of a work. Sukerta suggested that in Buleleng kreasi brisk tempos were often brisker than in southern styles. This was related, according to Sukerta, to both regional taste and to the fact that gangsa instruments in Buleleng historically have smaller keys which rest on posts, rather than being hung. According to Sukerta this allows for quicker playing technique. Sukerta also suggested that temporal and dynamic changes (ombak) were more pronounced and dramatic in Buleleng than in southern styles. 245 For this work I employ a slightly different notation scheme to more accurately represent the actual tuning of the gamelan and vocal chorus, please refer to the pitch key at the end of the notated excerpts.


The ocak-ocakan beginning at 3:08 employs standard kreasi baru grammar in both the gangsa figurations and reyong solo. The kendangan at 4:10 is preceded by a novel use of the tawa-tawa, a time keeping gong used in gender wayang batel (Ramayana) ensembles. The higher-pitched tawa-tawa replaces the ketuk at a noticeably faster tempo and the interspersed kendang patterns recall both Beratha’s kreasi baru (such as Jaya Semara and his later Kosalia Arini) but also kendangan for the introductory pemungkah overtures for the batel Ramayana in southern Balinese styles. A standard genderan and cadential kebyar [5:07-6:27] is followed by a rebab solo. The only traditional ensemble in which the rebab plays a significant role (meaning, an audible role) is within the gamelan gambuh in which deep suling take the place of louder metal instruments. Rebab have long been used in kebyar and kreasi baru but primarily as a decorative instrument, barely audible beneath the gamelan and the more shrill suling which the rebab follows. Here Sukerta highlights the instrument in a solo setting while he performs an improvisation he describes as being in slendro, presented in the first notated example. In a slendro/pélog system in which 6 (dang, a) is the common (tumbuk) tone, the two tunings share roughly the same pitch at 3 (deng, e) and 2 (dong, d). While these pitches are not exact, they are often close enough to fall within Balinese pengisep/pengumbang tolerances. In the “slendro” rebab solo the kebyar calung perform supporting tones on pitches 6 and 3. It seems more appropriate here however, to describe the rebab solo as referencing saih angklung rather than a Javanese conception of slendro. The section at 8:11, a slow languid movement reminiscent of pengawak textures, includes the most experimental elements of the work. Here the performers sing a vocal chorus in the style of Javanese gerong while continuing to play their instruments. The practice of having performers sing while playing was wholly new in Bali at the time Asanawali was


composed but has since become a standard technique in kreasi baru.246 Sukerta developed this specific vocal melody with the help of his classmate (and now STSI Solo pedalangan faculty) Subono (discussed above). For Sukerta the exact cakepun, or lyrics, for the melody were irrelevant and so are not included here. The lyrics are in high Javanese and would not be understood by Balinese audiences when the work was performed several times in Bali beginning in 1978. In the creation of this melody Sukerta provided Subono with the exact pitches to be used and a rough melodic contour. Subono filled in the details and constructed the phrasing based on Javanese gerong melodies.247 The melody makes extensive use of what would be termed non-modal or pomero tones, that is, tones that fall outside of the gamut of the five-tone selisir kebyar tuning. However, this is clearly in the Javanese pélog barang mode, which substitutes pitch 7 for 1 (2-3-5-6-7). While the feeling of barang dominates, pitches 1 and 4 are also incorporated into the vocal melody. However, the pitch four here (f#, bar 19) is distinctly Javanese, being lower than a typical Balinese gamelan semar pegulingan saih pitu pitch four. The calung accompany throughout at the half-note level following the vocal melody when possible while at times clashing when the voice sounds pomero tones. This represents another adoption of Javanese performance practice in Sukerta’s work. Whereas in the performance of pomero tones in kebyar the metal ensemble typically tacit to allow the suling and rebab to sound the tones and avoid a clash, in Javanese ensembles panerusan (elaborating instruments such as gender and gambang) simply clash against differing balungan, vocal, or rebab tones. Yet, the clashes in Asanawali do not follow standard


Although Sukerta reports hearing older trompong players in his youth sing kekawin while performing. 247 Other Javanese informants suggest that the gerong melodies used in Asanawali are essentially variations of pre-existing melodies, the first likely adapted from a sendratari vocal arrangement developed in Solo in the 1960’s, and the second being a traditional Durma Macapat.


Javanese practice in strictly replacing pitch seven with one. Instead, the calung adhere to more conjunct contours, playing at times pitches six, two or three against pitch seven. Sukerta describes minur tones in pélog as being borrowed from slendro. While the gerong melody in Asanawali could be seen as being primarily in seven-tone pélog, Sukerta suggests that it represents a combination of slendro and pélog, a texture which is prepared by the earlier rebab solo in strict slendro. Many of the original musicians, including Sukerta, noted the peculiar way in which the gerong modality seemed to cause the gamelan to sound out of tune when it re-enters in full at 9:06. The use of pélog and slendro systems in a single work is common in current Balinese compositional practice. Sukerta’s work is one of, if not the earliest, example of this practice in Balinese new music. Sukerta cited as his source of inspiration in the combination of the two systems in the traditional Central Javanese gamelan kodok ngorek, an obscure gamelan/repertoire primarily performed for traditional Javanese wedding ceremonies in which pélog and slendro instruments are combined in a single ensemble. Sukerta had studied kodok ngorek while a student at ASKI Solo. Another experimental element incorporated into Asanawali which has since become a standard technique in Balinese kreasi baru is heard at 9:52. Here the gerong re-enters employing the earlier melodic materials but now is rhythmically independent of the gamelan which cycles through a short ngubeng ostinato--a short batel form. This has since become a standard tool in Balinese music, especially in sendratari accompaniments in which the gangsa play similarly free-metered tutti phrases over short ostinatos. In sendratari contexts the affect created is generally one of tension and impending conflict. At 10:35 Sukerta makes yet another Javanese reference, quoting the Javanese cara balen style, a spare ancient ensemble used for ceremonial processions. While it resembles the accompaniment for malevolent characters or clowns in traditional Balinese topeng


performances (known as kalé), it is confirmed as a cara balen reference by the gong structure (similar to batel rather than the gilak used for kalé) and by the performance practice of rolling on single reyong pots, as in cara balen, rather than continuously interlocking [11:00]. Several Javanese musicians have suggested that cara balen, while traditional, is an ancient reference to Balinese ensembles (specifically bebonangan or beleganjur). Cara balen is frequently referred to at STSI Solo as “cara Bali” or “Balinese style.” Here Sukerta musically recaptures the style in combining the Javanisms of its structure with standard Balinese practice such as angsel [10:50]. The work ends abruptly as the singer/players riotously sing/yell their way to a sudden dead stop. According to Sukerta this was meant to catch the audience off guard and is thus in keeping with the core spirit of classical kebyar—dynamic, shocking, and surprising.


Figure AA.5A. Pande Made Sukerta, Asanawali.


Figure AA.5B. Pande Made Sukerta, Asanawali.


I Wayan Yudane’s Lebur Seketi [CDII Track 8]
“Lebur means f***ed up! And that’s what I wanted to do to the kreasi baru form.” --Wayan Yudane

In Balinese, “lebur” means broken or disrupted but Yudane suggests a more colorful translation. Seketi refers to genderan patterns which Yudane references in the work. The work was created to represent Denpasar in the 1995 gong kebyar and PKB festivals. It won first prize, winning over more senior composers such as Windha and helped to secure Yudane’s status as a serious composer for gong kebyar ensembles. According to Yudane: “For Lebur Seketi I needed to break the gamelan down in order to create something new. I named it after it received a lot of criticism in the final rehearsal process. I wanted to acknowledge that dislike as a source of inspiration.” In the rehearsal and composition process Yudane admitted that he received significant help from not only his contemporaries, such as Subandi and Sudarta, but also from more senior composers including Asnawa, Windha, Suweca, and Astita. This marks these older composers’ acceptance and encouragement of radically new ideas for gong kebyar composition. For Lebur Seketi Yudane applied several innovative compositional approaches leading to interesting and fortuitous results. Typically, Balinese composers create ugal lagu first, abstracting it at the quarter-note level on the single octave calung and penyacah. They then create the finely interlocking polos and sangsih lines to follow, ornament, and interweave with the ugal melody. For the long introductory genderan in Lebur Seketi however, Yudane created the interlocking melodies first, then fashioned ugal and calung melodies to follow them. Rather than confining the shape of the kotekan to a cantus firmus and to standardized symmetrical gong forms, Yudane created long and irregular forms


through kotekan “melodies” rather than figurations. The liberation of the kotekan as a melody in and of itself lead to at times disjunct pokok shapes and odd metered gong forms. According to Yudane: “This was really considered irrational to many Balinese, and some older composers like [I Wayan] Beratha didn’t understand what I was doing at all.”

Genderan In sections of the opening genderan, following the kebyar, Yudane composed separate but complimentary sets of kotekan patterns between the pemade and kantilan gangsa. Below this were distinct melodies on ugal, calung and jegogan, resulting in extremely thick contrapuntal textures. If one considers sangsih and polos lines as individually distinct melodies, this results in a contrapuntal texture of seven lines. The presence of two different interlocking pairs occurs very infrequently in traditional Balinese music.248 Yudane’s arrangement is unique in that his pairs of kotekan are followed by different pokok lines; the penyacah follow the kantilan’s kotekan, while the jublag follow the pemade’s kotekan. The ugal and penyacah play essentially the same line, a highly active and syncopated figure unlike typical ugal and penyacah lines which tend to perform rhythmically simple melodies. The penyacah melody hangs on deng in the opening figure, leading to standard ngubeng kotekan figures. Here the melody includes hemiola and syncopated patterns on pitches ding and dong between beats 10-15 which almost suggests another polos pattern. Indeed the ugal pattern at times interlocks quite consistently with the pemade polos line between beats 9 and 14, although not in a standard manner. However, during this interlocking section simultaneous tones between the penyacah and pemade more often sound intervals closer to a ninth (deng-dong; beat 9, dong-deng and deng dong; beat 10, ding-dong;


Some gender wayang angkat-angkatan from the Kerobokan region also display this texture.


beat 11) than the standard Balinese empat harmony. More perfect intervals (empat dangdeng, and fourth dang-dong) occur in beats 13 and14. However, between the polos and penyacah, all simultaneous pitches falling on the beat are unison. The same holds true for the penyacah and the sangsih with the exception of beats 16 and 17 which sound the fourth dengdang and the sixth ding-dang. The harmonic relationship between the pemade polos and sangsih is largely traditional, employing the standard empat relationship excepting beats four (dong-dung) and eighteen (ding-deng, dong-dung). The relationship between the calung and the kantilan kotekan pattern is more standard than that between the pemade and penyacah. The opening kotekan figure, like that of the pemade is rather static, hanging around deng. The relationship between the kotekan line and the calung is rather strict, varying at points between beat 6-12, where non-empat dissonances of ninths are more common. Here, the calung line strays from the penyacah line. Dissonances of this sort continue to the end of the pattern before release is achieved again at the beginning with pitch deng. Yudane’s jegogan line is unique in that it does not occur at regular pulses (the entire pattern is in 18 beats), and sometimes strays from both the penyacah and calung lines, creating thick harmonic textures. Seen as a whole, the entire passage becomes increasingly dissonant and thick between beats 6-11, at times with four to all five pitches of the gamelan being sounded simultaneously. In kreasi baru this frequently occurs when the reyong are employed to perform rhythmic “byong” patterns with the drums, but almost never in genderan sections. Furthermore, Yudane is radically expanding the traditional approach towards melodic construction and harmonic relationship in gong kebyar genderan sections within this passage. The pattern is extremely consonant at its beginning, sounding only two pitches, deng-dung. Yudane explores increasingly dissonant textures within the middle


section, towards the end achieving an increasing level of consonance before beginning again. The harmonic adventurousness and potential of the section is encapsulated within its first harmony – as deng-dung is not an empat. From an orchestration perspective Yudane is able to get away with these extreme textures because 1) the section is a genderan passage and is not clouded by the use of gongs, drums, reyong, flutes or other instruments and 2) the pemade kotekan enters only the first and final time through the passage and is heard only twice without repetition. It therefore gives a sense of overfull-ness which is immediately released when, in the first statement, it is removed like a veil exposing the beautiful and delicate kantilan kotekan (in conjunction with a subtle ritard), and in the second instance serving as an intense orchestral amplification leading into the following transitional section. The transitional section between the repetitions in the genderan is notable for its occasional use of non-empat harmonies (beat 12 section 1, beats 24, 25 section 2), for its odd metrical structure (13 beats and 28 beats), and its odd groupings of jegogan tones (5.5, 3.5,1,4 beats in section one, and 3,3,2,1,1,4,4,4,2,2,2 beats in section two). Yudane states that one aim of the genderan was to create odd metered sections which sounded even. He set about achieving this goal by creating balanced feeling melodies (which were in fact odd) and binding the meter to them, rather than beginning with odd metered structures and filling them with melodic material. Beyond the innovations in the genderan and suling sections Yudane incorporates other novel elements including double and quadruple time reyong figurations over slower moving gangsa patterns (5:48) and the displacement of colotomic instruments, in this case a kempul played on the upbeat, an eighth note later than would be expected in a standard batel structure (10:52). The extensive use of odd meters and groupings is introduced early in


metered sections of the opening kebyar (:45) and developed into large repeated sections later in the work. Yudane’s innovations continue until the last note; the gong is struck only after every other instrument has stopped. This seemingly Javanese technique highlights the gong and disrupts the sense of gong form.


Figure AA.6A. I Wayan Gede Yudane, Lebur Seketi.


Figure AA.6B. I Wayan Gede Yudane, Lebur Seketi.


B - RELEVANT ENSEMBLES AND REPERTOIRE In the following section I present a condensed series of descriptions and definitions of the contemporary ensembles and repertoires which are used in or have influenced the development of musik kontemporer. Much of the following information can be found in earlier sources, however it is important to provide this material here so that the reader has a provisionary and easily referenced introduction to the musical materials discussed in chapter five. Gamelan Gong Kebyar Kebyar is one of the most ubiquitous orchestral ensembles in Bali. The ensemble, tuned to a pentatonic anhematonic subset of pélog known as saih selisir, developed in the northern region of Buleleng around 1915 and represents a modernization and combination of older ritual and court ensembles. When it emerged in the first decades of the last century the repertoire of the gong kebyar ensemble included modernized arrangements of the pre-existing repertoires of older ensembles as well as wholly new musical techniques developed to accompany the new kebyar dance style. The most striking of these new techniques were the virtuosic, unmetered tutti introductions to works, known as kebyar, which in the Balinese language means to blossom or to burst open like a flower in bloom. The majority of the modern gong kebyar music and dance repertoire exhibits a juxtapositional formal structure. That is, in both the dance and the music several contrasting themes, meters, tempos and moods are juxtaposed for striking, surprising effects. This structure undoubtedly has had a major impact on the development of largely contrasting formal structures in Balinese musik kontemporer. The musical texture of the gong kebyar orchestra is similar to other pre-existing forms; it is layered and hierarchical; higher sounding instruments move in faster ratios to lower pitched instruments, with the gong outlining the overall structure and the drums leading dynamics and tempo. This traditional orchestration is sometimes deconstructed in musik kontemporer and some kreasi baru, as experimental composers often look for new ideas in the conceptual reversal of traditional compositional practice. In the kebyar orchestra lower pitched instruments play simplified abstractions of the full melody which is expressed on higher pitched metallophones with supporting metallophones playing complicated interlocking patterns (kotekan) elaborating upon the melody. A large set of horizontal pot gongs (reyong) play both interlocking patterns and virtuosic cross rhythms with the drums, a musical technique which is characteristic of the gong kebyar repertoire. The gong kebyar ensemble quickly came into vogue throughout the island in the first half of the twentieth century and several music groups melted down their older semar pegulingan and gong gede ensembles to be made into gong kebyar ensembles. The development of kebyar occurred as the Dutch colonialists gradually gained control of the entire island in the 1910’s and 1920s, and some authors have suggested that the development of this radically new expressive form was a kind of reflection of the social change that the Balinese were experiencing under colonialism.249 The direct influence of the Dutch in the development of the form is still unclear, but many Balinese have suggested that the Dutch, whose seat of government was in the north of the island where the form emerged, actively

Primarily Seebass (1996).


encouraged many forms of civic participation including various kinds of public contests, including music contests. Vocal Genres There are many Balinese vocal genres, generically known as tembang; most are sung poetic forms of Javanese origin, which are typically performed in devotional settings. “Tembang” generally refers to Balinese vocal genres, specifically to four main subcategories: sloka, kakawin, kidung and geguritan. Each form involves unique vocal qualities, poetic organization, language conventions etc.. All of these forms can be and often are sung in solo style. Each form has its own poetic conventions or rules, generally called “padalingsa” (Herbst 1997:38). These rules include indications of numbers of syllables in each line (carik), the number of lines in each stanza (pada), and conventions regarding the final vowel of each line. Tembang are sung in several varieties of pélog and slendro tuning systems, and some tembang can be sung in several modes (ibid. 39). Sandhya gita Sandhya gita is a modern Balinese secular vocal genre incorporating a mixed malefemale chorus, original melodies and texts, and innovative vocal techniques. The development of the form began in the late 1970s and early 1980s through the initiatives of professors Panji and Bandem at ASTI Denpasar. The development of the form was further stimulated by the creation of a special category of sandhya gita performance in the annual Bali Arts Festival. The development of sandhya gita was encouraged by the local government through its call for new genres of music that combined vocal and instrumental music as a way of revitalizing vocal arts. In realizing this goal, gegitaan (singing) contests were held as part of the Festival Gong of 1978 and 1982 in which a soloist performed an existing kidung melody and text while accompanied by a kebyar ensemble and a small chorus. These choruses were later arranged in a more simple style, for mixed chorus, and were called sandhya gita. Since 1982, with occasional exceptions, competing groups in the Festival Gong have been required to perform a work using singers. Like much kebyar music, sandhya gita arrangements are often developed collaboratively. The development of sandhya gita has been somewhat controversial among music theorists and composers in Bali, the attitudes toward it generally aligning along generational divides. As it is most often composed and performed with the full Balinese gamelan gong kebyar or gamelan semara dana orchestra, the sandhya gita chorus presents certain compositional challenges. Gamelan orchestras exhibit a “paired tuning” arrangement wherein instruments are grouped in pairs, one tuned slightly above (pengisep) of the other (pengumbang). This arrangement results in a shimmering destructive interference phenomenon, known as ombak (waves). Thus gamelan orchestras present certain problems of intonation and orchestration when combined with large vocal choruses. Faced with the nearly saturated acoustic texture of the gamelan, singers are presented with the challenge of singing to either the upper or lower of the tuned pairs, or attempting to find a medium pitch level. The addition of rich harmonic vocal textures within the context of the already resonant gamelan texture presents the danger of obscuring the vocal lines. Some innovative composers


such as I Wayan Sinti have experimented with the development of equally tuned gamelan250, which do not incorporate paired tuning, specifically intended for performance with vocal ensembles. Leading performers and composers of sandhya gita include Desak Made Suarti Laksmi, I Nyoman Windha and Ni Ketut Suryatini. Gamelan Semar Pegulingan Saih Pitu This is an ancient seven-tone bronze orchestra that has within this century experienced a renaissance within secular contexts. Classified as a gamelan madya ensemble, it was probably developed in the 16th century during the reign of Dalem Waturenggong, a major patron of the Balinese arts who controlled the central Balinese kingdom of Semarapura. The ensemble is speculated to have developed as a combination of the iron gong luang, an extant sacred and ancient seven-tone ensemble, and the gamelan gambuh, a 14th century ensemble of Javanese derivation dominated by flutes, fiddles, and drums (without bronze metallophones). Classical semar pegulingan repertoire consists largely of adaptations of the gambuh repertoire. Originally an important court ensemble, the gamelan gradually declined, along with the courts themselves, over the succeeding centuries. When Dutch colonialists finally gained control of Bali in 1908, the power of the courts was quickly drained, and the gamelan semar pegulingan and its performers were left without patronage. As the kebyar ensemble quickly became popular throughout the island in the first decades of the 20th century many local groups melted down their older ensembles, including the remaining semar pegulingan, to be transformed into the new gong kebyar. In south Bali (and possibly throughout the entire island) the seven-tone semar pegulingan had become completely extinct soon after the Dutch conquest, as the courts preferred to burn the property of the rajas rather than allow it to fall into Dutch hands. In 1915 a former court musician in Denpasar led the recreation of a seventone semar pegulingan ensemble basing the tones of the metallophones on the surviving flutes which remained in the abandoned court. After this recreation and a similar project later undertaken in central Bali the gamelan semar pegulingan saih pitu gradually re-established itself throughout the island. As of 2004 there were at least thirty semar pegulingan saih pitu ensembles in Bali. Today the ensemble is widely played in both sacred contexts and in contemporary secular performances. The ensemble was partially revitalized through the experimental development of the gamelan gambuh anyar (lit. ‘new gambuh’) at STSI in 1975 in which the classic repertoire of the gambuh orchestra is performed on semar pegulingan saih pitu as an accompaniment to the ancient gambuh dance drama. By the late 1970s the semar pegulingan saih pitu began to experience a renaissance as musicians and composers, seemingly tired of the restrictions that the five-tone gamelan gong kebyar presented, returned to seven-tone ensembles to explore the compositional opportunities it presented. In 1978 Komang Astita’s experimental work Kembang Rampai (mixed flowers) combined three ensembles: angklung, semar pegulingan, and gong kebyar251 exploring the possibilities of timbral and modal combinations between the ensembles. Astita’s 1979 work Gema Eka Dasa Rudra utilized mode-mixture, modulations, and orchestral techniques wholly new to the semar pegulingan saih pitu repertoire. More recently, the gamelan became incorporated into the instrumental experiments of the leading Balinese gong smith and composer I Wayan
250 251

Sinti’s gamelan and ensemble is known as Manika Santi. This represents one of, if not the first, work to incorporate ensemble mixtures, a technique which is common in contemporary musik kontemporer.


Beratha, whose 1987 invention of the large gamelan semara dana represented the combination of both the semar pegulingan saih pitu and the gamelan gong kebyar in a single ensemble. Gamelan Semara Dana This is a modern Balinese orchestral ensemble invented in 1987 by the master gong smith, tuner and composer I Wayan Beratha. The gamelan semara dana can be understood as a combination of two older orchestras: the gamelan gong kebyar and the gamelan semar pegulingan. The range of the gamelan gong kebyar gangsa (a metallophone which plays figuration parts) covers ten pitches, or two octaves. The range covered by the seven-tone gamelan semar pegulingan gangsa covers the seven pitches of the full pélog system, or less than a single octave. The gamelan semara dana is essentially a blending of these two gamelan, with a low gong kebyar range at the bottom and a semar pegulingan saih pitu range at the top (or twelve pitches covering two octaves). Thus accurate renditions of both gong kebyar and semar pegulingan repertoire (as well as the music of other ensembles) can be performed on this single orchestra. According to Beratha the gamelan semara dana had its beginning in an Indonesian dramatic form developed in the 1960s known as sendratari (from the Indonesian terms for art-seni, drama-drama, and dance-tari). Sendratari was originally developed in Java and first performed in Bali in 1962. The first sendratari script in Bali, based on the Jayaprana legend from north Bali, was created by Beratha and featured 40 dancers, an amplified dalang (narrator) and a single gamelan gong kebyar orchestra. Today, sendratari has developed into the largest dramatic form known in Bali, often using 80 or more dancers and up to four gamelan orchestras. After the first production of the Jayaprana legend by Beratha he and his colleagues at KOKAR continued to stage each of the seven kanda (books) of the Ramayana epic. After completing the Ramayana series they continued with stories from the Mahabharata and it was at this time that Beratha looked for ways to expand the role and power of the gamelan in sendratari. He then combined multiple gamelan, a gamelan gong gede and a gamelan semar pegulingan to achieve various dramatic effects. The gamelan gong gede is a large orchestra tuned to the five-tone patutan selisir and characterized by a heavier, darker tone than the lighter seven-tone semar pegulingan. These two gamelan gave Beratha the musical range to represent the moods and temperaments of both alus (refined) and keras (rough) characters in the sendratari play. After finishing the Mahabharata productions, Beratha came to believe that using several sets of gamelan was not a practical solution. It was his goal to develop a single orchestra that would be capable of a wide range of expression by having an expanded pitch range on which it would be possible to play all of the modes and repertoires known in Balinese music. After several experiments Beratha arrived at the gamelan semara dana, a gamelan theoretically capable of playing the repertoire of several traditional ensembles, but also through its extended range opening up a new world of compositional possibilities to Bali’s youngest generation of composers. As part of the recent resurgence in interest in seven-tone music Beratha has identified over ten five-tone modal subsets on the gamelan semara dana and younger composers such as Asnawa, Windha, and Dewa Alit have recently written several works involving several experimental modes, modulations between modes and poly-modal textures. Groups such as Semara Ratih in Ubud village, led by the composer Nyoman Windha perform new gamelan semara dana works regularly for enthusiastic Balinese audiences. What had started as an experimental ensemble meant to ease the load of


gamelan performers in sendratari contexts has developed into an established new ensemble destined to reshape the landscape of Balinese new music.


C – COMPOSER PROFILES In the following section I present brief sketches of several of the most influential and important Balinese composers who have either composed experimental music, or whose works and teaching have influenced the development of Balinese experimental music. In my discussions I present both biographical information and a review of their impact, major works and personal aesthetics. Young Generation Dewa Ketut Alit Dewa Ketut Alit, Balinese musician and composer was born in Pengosekan village (Gianyar) on May 17th, 1973. He first began playing gamelan in his neighborhood ensemble, directed by his father Dewa Nyoman Sura, at the age of ten. Alit, along with his brothers Dewa Rai and Dewa Beratha, quickly became the leading musicians in the Pengosekan, Ubud area. Pengosekan has long had active kebyar and angklung ensembles and was historically a center of wayang batel Ramayana and arja. Alit and his brothers quickly became experts in these genres as well as becoming outstanding composers. Alit entered KOKAR, the high school of the arts, where he studied primarily with the teachers Sinti, Padang, and Sue. In his second year Alit began creating experimental compositions in the context of “ghost” writing recital works for upperclassmen. These early works involved innovative orchestrations such as Javanese gamelan combined with several Balinese drums, or gamelan angklung instruments combined with kebyar. In 1993 Alit entered STSI where, he admits, he studied composition primarily on his own. Alit graduated in 1998 after creating a well received experimental instrumental recital work using the ancient and sacred seven-tone gamelan luang. Having never formally studied luang, Alit created an innovative composition which drew upon traditional luang syntax as well as kontemporer and Western (diatonic) materials. In 1997 Alit, along with his brothers, founded the Cudamani sanggar, or arts club. This group quickly became one of the foremost performing ensembles on the island. Since its founding the Cudamani ensemble has toured America, Europe, and Asia, has released recordings commercially and has collaborated with composers and choreographers from around the world. Alit’s compositions, including Gregel, Pengastung Kara and several other instrumental and dance accompaniments were developed specifically for the Cudamani ensemble. Since 2000 Alit has traveled frequently throughout Asia and America as a guest director and composer for gamelan ensembles outside of Bali. As a visiting artist at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, he created several hybrid works involving gamelan and Western instruments. In Boston and Japan he has created original works for local ensembles. Since creating his innovative ujian recital work Alit has been in the forefront in composing new works for seven-tone ensembles, specifically the gamelan semara dana.


I Made Subandi I Made Subandi, Balinese composer and performer, was born in Batubulan Bali in February, 1966. Subandi began playing gamelan, like many of his colleagues, at an early age in the informal setting of his local neighborhood ensemble. Subandi later undertook formal music study at SMKI (85-88) and STSI (89-93). Subandi trained early in his career with his father, I Made Dig, a well respected drummer and gender wayang player. Subandi’s younger brother I Nyoman Sunartha, also a formally trained musician and graduate of STSI is now famous as a comic bondres dancer and performer in the renowned arja muani from Denpasar. In musical terms, the village of Batubulan is synonymous with the musicianship and compositional style of Subandi and his family at banjar Batuyang. Subandi studied composition at SMKI and STSI under Asnawa, Padang, and Windha. Subandi is one of a very few composers in Bali today actively composing for gender wayang, the rather esoteric and difficult music for the Balinese shadow puppet play. He has composed at least two entirely new shadow puppet play accompaniments, both for seven-tone pélog ensembles. The first, composed for a set of rare and new seven-tone gender wayang was intended to accompany updated versions of the traditional Balinese wayang babad, which recount Balinese legends and tales. This repertoire, possibly some of the most challenging music that can be found on the island, is also at times performed independently of wayang in ceremonial settings.252 Subandi’s music for the wayang babad is strongly influenced by his exceptionally firm grounding in a number of traditional repertoires and a deep interest in experimentalism. Subandi’s wayang babad accompaniment includes extensive modulations, combined modes, extended techniques and distortions of traditional forms of both wayang and semar pegulingan repertoires. In 2000 Subandi and musicians in Sukawati began experimenting with using the ancient and sacred iron slonding gamelan, not historically known in Sukawati or Batubulan, in accompanying a newer form of the wayang babad stories.253 The gamelan slonding, also a seven-tone ensemble, had until then never been used to accompany shadow puppet theater. This experiment, which ruffled the feathers of some older traditionalists, especially those from the traditional East Balinese villages around Teganan where slonding is an important ensemble in ceremonial performances, has met with relative success in Gianyar and Badung. The long introduction to the performance, the pemungkah, includes several modulations – which the dalang is obliged to follow in his opening songs (such as alas arum and pegalang). The development of this accompaniment and ensemble is unique in that it represents the appropriation of a subcultural form.254 Subandi has worked extensively with foreign artists, including those associated with Gamelan Sekar Jaya in California, as well as Australian and European artists. While in

Currently this ensemble includes musicians from both Batuyang and Sukawati (banjar Babakan), who typically accompany the Dalang Kadek Sudiana. The musical technique is exceptionally difficult because, while the instruments are seven-tone, most of the music is pentatonic (at any one time) and the hallmark techniques of gender wayang performance, fast interlocking and damping in both hands, is made even more difficult when non-modal notes most be jumped over. 253 The dalang Juanda, from banjar Babakan, Sukawati, has been the primary performer for these performances. 254 Subandi appreciates and has studied gamelan slonding but is not an expert. Rather, he has studied slonding at both STSI and with colleagues who have more and direct experience with the ensemble in its original ceremonial contexts. Thus, this kind of development of regional sacred ensembles into other areas of Bali and into less sacred contexts, accompaniment for wayang stories, can be viewed as another way STSI homogenizes and aestheticize Balinese regional sacred arts.


residence in California, Subandi studied tabla drumming and was exposed to a wide range of musical styles in concert and cassette. Beginning in the late 1990s Subandi, I Wayan Yudane, I Gusti Sudarta, and I Made Lanus created a new experimental collaborative wayang with Australian musicians. Subandi and Yudane acted as the primary Balinese composers for this project. Despite his deep involvement with international collaborative projects Subandi continues to be a central figure in new kebyar kreasi baru composition and his works for Gianyar won the first place prizes in the 2003 competitions. Subandi’s approach is largely intuitive; motives and lines are worked out in the context of rehearsal, rather than being conceptionally developed outside of rehearsal. Due to his great talents in performance, his compositions tend towards virtuosity (even for Balinese musicians) and impatience. Phrases and melodies are rarely repeated more than once, as Subandi’s short attention span, musically, forces the music into ever changing forms and phrases. I Wayan Yudane I Wayan Yudane, Balinese experimental composer and critic, was born in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, September 5, 1964. Yudane, the son of I Nyoman Gebiyuh, a well-respected gong smith and gamelan performer, began his study of traditional music as a youth playing in his local neighborhood ensemble. Rather than following his fellow student performers into KOKAR, Yudane opted for what he viewed as a more serious education in math and science. During high school Yudane continued performing and in 1980 began arranging Western melodies for gamelan. Deciding early on that he would rather study composition more seriously than performance, Yudane pursued an education in “serious” music composition at the cosmopolitan Institute of the Arts in Jakarta (IKJ) under the tutelage of the renowned Indonesian composer Slamet Abdul Sjukur. After leaving IKJ in 1987 Yudane returned to Bali to complete his degree at STSI Denpasar. The innovation in Yudane’s early works for gamelan often spring from unusual approaches, such as composing backwards, as it were, by creating the complicated interlocking figuration (kotekan) before creating the basic melody (pokok), eliminating the pokok altogether, or reversing the traditional orchestral texture of the kebyar ensemble by giving the lower pitched instruments (gong, jegogan) precedence over the middle and highpitch textures. Early in his study at STSI Yudane gained a reputation as being a rebel. Many of the STSI elders deplored his compositions as being gratuitously experimental and decried his approach as detrimental to tradition. In one of a series of works entitled Laya Yudane explored percussive timbres in ways that shocked the traditional composition community in Bali. For Laya Yudane placed several bronze gamelan keys, removed from their wooden cases, under and around a large iron gong. A performer tossed small stones at the gong, which slid off and bounced along the gamelan keys, incorporating both indeterminacy (unheard of in traditional Balinese genres) and what were perceived as disrespectful approaches to instruments charged with religious symbolism; in Bali the gong is traditionally regarded as a religious symbol and an abode of spirits. Rather than being judged solely on compositional merits, some of Yudane’s works have been judged against the grain of traditional custom. Since the early 1990s Yudane has worked actively with electronic media. Almost entirely an autodidact concerning electronic composition, Yudane has been able to produce sophisticated electronic music with limited tools at his disposal. Yudane’s self-produced instrumental recordings cross a wide terrain stylistically, at times unabashedly techno,


featuring thick looping breakbeats under sweeping ambient soundscapes; his electronic music is ambivalent toward high-low, pop-serious, class distinctions. While Yudane is clearly interested in and in-tune with several world music traditions as well as Western experimentalism and commercial popular forms, a Balinese identity is still evident. However, in much of his work the Balinese elements are diluted and abstracted sometimes beyond recognition, presenting fragmented and vague essences of Balinese culture. Yudane does not consider his music to be “Balinese” and in fact rejects all kinds of geographic labels or boundaries to composition. For Yudane the world is, compositionally, one place. Yudane, through his role as a composer, critic, and performer stands out in the traditionally conservative cultural environment of Bali, as an at times unabashedly abrasive iconoclast, willing to threaten his own relationships and livelihood for the sake of stimulating the Balinese music environment. Middle Generation I Ketut Gede Asnawa I Ketut Gede Asnawa was born in Denpasar on December 26th, 1955. Asnawa, a musician, composer, theorist, and brother of composer and STSI faculty member I Komang Astita, began his musical education at the age of six playing in his local neighborhood gamelan performing both for tourists and traditional Hindu religious ceremonies. Asnawa attended the high school of the arts (KOKAR) (1971-1974), and later the conservatory of the arts (ASTI) (1974-1980) where he focused on traditional dance and gamelan performance, receiving his B.A. in 1980. Between 1983-1985 Asnawa attended the Indonesian Institute of the Arts (ISI) in Yogyakarta (Java), graduating with an S.S. Kar degree (M.A. equivalent) in 1986. During his college career he became an active participant in several international touring ensembles, performing traditional Balinese music throughout Asia and Europe. In partial fulfillment of his undergraduate degree Asnawa composed two major works for traditional gamelan ensembles, marking the beginning of his career as a composer. His first work, Lansing Tuban, for a gamelan semar pegulingan saih pitu ensemble (a seven-tone orchestra) represented an arrangement of a much older traditional work of the gambuh repertoire. Asnawa’s approach in this composition would serve to formulate his personal aesthetic and understanding of the relationship between tradition and innovation in Balinese culture. After studying the classic Lansing Tuban, an esoteric work from an already archaic repertoire, and the intricate drumming patterns which underpin the overall formal structure of that repertoire, Asnawa re-vamped the work, incorporating what were at the time daring innovations through the use of expanded modes, non-modal tones and modulations. Both Asnawa and his brother Astita have led the modern interest and flourishing of seven-tone ensembles in Bali. Asnawa’s compositions do not simply represent nostalgic preservation. Rather, his works have added to the overall conception of seven-tone music through an expanded definition of the modal system, increased use of modulation and of larger six and seven-tone modes. By 1986 Asnawa was teaching at the high school of the arts (KOKAR) and was an in-demand performer and composer. During this time he spearheaded the renaissance of yet another archaic form, the gamelan beleganjur, a spare ensemble used in cremation processionals and historically associated with warfare. As in his approach to the gamelan semar pegulingan, Asnawa retained in his beleganjur compositions what he conceived as the fundamental defining features of the classical form, here the characteristic gilak gong


ostinato. However, Asnawa radically energized the repertoire by adding virtuosic tutti patterns, influenced by the gong kebyar form, and contrasting pengawak sections -- long, languid melodies more reminiscent of the semar pegulingan repertoire than of the shorter forms associated with traditional beleganjur. In 1988 Asnawa was invited to study for a masters in ethnomusicology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore country, under the direction of the leading American ethnomusicologist Mantle Hood. After graduating in 1991 with an MA, Asnawa returned to Bali to continue teaching at SMKI (formerly KOKAR) and occasionally at STSI (formerly ASTI). He has since toured several times in performing ensembles and has taught gamelan in the Netherlands, Canada and America. His recent compositions have won him the highest prizes at the annual Bali Arts Festival and he is a well-respected theoretician. Most recently, Asnawa has lead the development the gamelan semara dana, a seven-tone ensemble invented by composer and gong smith I Wayan Beratha. As a composer Asnawa has played the role of a moderate innovator, fully versed in several traditional repertoires yet active in their development and evolution; interested in the preservation of ancient forms but eager to avoid stagnation in the arts. I Komang Astita The Balinese musician, composer, and theorist I Komang Astita was born in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, on September 24, 1952. Astita began his musical education in the fifth grade playing in his local neighborhood gamelan (orchestra) performing for tourists and temple ceremonies. As a teenager Astita enrolled in the national technical vocational school in Denpasar studying architecture and gaining skills that would later influence his dramatic approach to composition and set design. After graduating in 1969 he continued his studies at the high school of the Arts (KOKAR) focusing on traditional gamelan performance. During his college years Astita performed as a member of several touring groups, performing gamelan throughout Indonesia in 1969 and Europe in 1970. In 1971 Astita performed as part of a Balinese contingent in national productions of the Ramayana staged in Java. These performances centered around the collaborative development of a national art form known as sendratari (from the Indonesian for art – seni, drama - drama, and dance – tari). Astita later became centrally involved in the development of Balinese sendratari, often composing gamelan arrangements for the large-scale dramatic performances. In 1972 Astita entered the college of the arts (ASTI), graduating in 1976 and later in 1977 began working as an assistant to faculty member I Wayan Beratha, Bali’s most renowned composer. Along with his brother I Ketut Gede Asnawa, Astita has been in the forefront of modern Balinese compositional developments, most notably the resurgence of seven-tone ensembles. Astita’s Kembang Rampai and Gema Eka Dasa Rudra represent the beginnings of the resurgence in the modern interest in seven-tone ensemble and the beginning of musik kontemporer in Bali. Gema Eka Dasa Rudra, for a seven-tone semar pegulingan ensemble, incorporated virtuosic passages and textures borrowed from the modern gamelan gong kebyar ensemble as well as abrupt changes in mode and mode mixtures. Previously, nearly all of the classical semar pegulingan repertoire incorporated restricted five-tone subsets (patetan) extracted from the seven-tone gamut, and such innovative concepts as mode mixture were considered radical at the time. Gema Eka Dasa Rudra was the first in a series of programmatic compositions by young Balinese composers educated in and associated with the national conservatory system. These works marked a significant compositional break (both in process and result) with the masters


of the previous generation, such as I Wayan Beratha, whose instrumental works were typically non-representational, or based on abstract naturalistic impressions. Gema Eka Dasa Rudra, like Asnawa’s Kosong, and Windha’s Sangkep, was a dramatic representation of a traditional Balinese ceremony, in this case a rare Balinese purification ceremony (the Eka Dasa Rudra) which occurs only every 100 years. Clearly influenced by his involvement in sendratari, Astita had his musicians physically act out sections of the ceremony, attended by priests, across a dramatically decorated stage design including several gongs hung from ropes tied to the ceiling. Gema Eka Dasa Rudra represents a watershed point in the history of modern Balinese composition, a work that profoundly influenced the composition of his colleagues including Windha, and Asnawa. In the mid 1980s Astita accepted an invitation to study at San Diego State University, graduating in 1986 with a masters in musicology. His final recital work, Kotekan for Two Marimbas, Flute, and Chimes represented the synthesis of both his Balinese background and his training in Western art traditions. Since graduating Astita has taught Balinese music and Western music appreciation, history, and theory at STSI, at times taking extended leaves to perform and teach abroad. Between 1987 and 1988 Astita taught at the University of Montreal and in 1995 he accepted an invitation to teach and compose in California, this time at UCLA where he composed several experimental works including Waton, a nondeterminant work incorporating symbolic notation. Desak Made Suarti Laksmi Desak Made Suarti Laksmi, Balinese composer, musician, dancer, was born in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, March 28, 1959. Mrs. Laksmi began playing music and dancing when she was seven years old, being trained in both by her father, I Dewa Putu Sasih, himself a well respected dancer and drummer. By age ten Mrs. Laksmi was professionally performing all of the popular dance repertoire and teaching local children both music and dance. On the request of her father she entered KOKAR where she was one of the first women to pursue study in musical performance (karawitan), a field until today almost entirely dominated by men. During her study in KOKAR she performed in some of Bali’s first mixed sex ensembles, often playing lead instruments such as the ugal (a large metallophone). As a child Mrs. Laksmi began a serious study of traditional Balinese language and writing (bahasa Bali, Kawi, huruf Bali) a field she continued to study during her instrumental studies at ASTI. Mrs. Laksmi ’s study of Balinese language equipped her for a role as a vocalist, as traditional Balinese tembang (singing) is often performed in the archaic Kawi language and the rules of meter, phrasing, and musical rendition (pada lingsa) are as much the purvey of poesy as musical composition in Bali. In 1986 Mrs. Laksmi won the Indonesia-wide singing competition, Utsawa Dharma Gita, a state-sponsored competition of traditional sacred song performance. She soon afterward gained a reputation as one of Bali’s finest traditional vocalist. Mrs. Laksmi began her career as an instrumental composer in 1984 through the preparation of original works for her final BA recital at ASTI. During the mid 1980s all graduating karawitan students at ASTI were required to compose two works, one based on traditional forms and one intentionally innovative in style, termed kreasi baru. This was intended to create a generation of composers fully versed in the performance of classical traditions and experienced in creating new forms. Mrs. Laksmi’s innovative recital work, Jutiring Urip, was a dramatic performance involving dance, song, and gamelan. Based on the


Menbrayut tale, Jutiring Urip incorporated innovative dramatic elements including singers who danced as they sang while accompanied by a gamelan semar pegulingan saih pitu, a rare form of seven-tone gamelan which during the late 1970s and mid 1980s experienced a revival through the works of the young composers of Mrs. Laksmi ’s generation. In 1985 Mrs. Laksmi accepted an invitation to join the music faculty and today, along with Ni Ketut Suryatini, is one of only two female music faculty in the national conservatory. In the mid 1980s Mrs. Laksmi, along with Suryatini, began composing and performing a new form of secular vocal music known as sandhya gita, a genre influenced both by traditional Javanese vocal forms, such as gerong and the more modern koor, and the western a cappella chorus. The administrators of ASTI actively encouraged the development of this new mixed sex ensemble in the early 1980s by requiring its development and performance in the annual Bali Arts Festival. Freed of the strict rules of form and rendition of older Javanese-derived sacred vocal styles, composers such as Mrs. Laksmi eagerly explored the musical license available to them in this form. Sandhya gita, which is commonly performed with full gamelan accompaniment, has become one of the most popular vocal forms on the island through its incorporation of call and response structures, canon techniques and an expanded approach towards harmony. When composing sandhya gita works Mrs. Laksmi frequently collaborates with Nyoman Windha who arranges the gamelan accompaniments. Mrs. Laksmi has toured internationally several times, has instructed several groups in America, and has taught as the Luce foundation professor of Balinese music and dance at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts. I Wayan Sadra I Wayan Sadra was born in 1953 in banjar Kaliungu Kaja, Denpasar. After studying gamelan informally within the local banjar ensemble Sadra continued his studies at KOKAR Denpasar, after which he departed for Jakarta in 1973, coming into contact with early Indonesian experimental musical trends and an active scene of artistic experimentalism. For a brief period during his residence in Jakarta Sadra was engaged in possibly one of the most intriguing gamelan performance scenes ever to develop in Indonesia; for some months Sadra was employed as a musician in Jakartan bars accompanying female dancers wearing nothing but live boa constrictors. The be-snaked women would erotically gyrate to Sadra’s improvisations on kendang and gender.255 While in Jakarta Sadra studied painting for a brief time at IKJ while creating new instrumental works and theater accompaniments. Sadra taught Balinese gamelan at the Jakarta Fine Arts Institute between 1975-1978 and the Indonesian University between 1978-1980. In 1982 Sadra then moved to Solo, after being invited by school director Humardani, to study and later teach at ASKI, graduating in 1987. Sadra, more than any other Balinese composer, has explored new compositional approaches and defined a voice for himself, seemingly far distanced from Balinese traditional forms. More than most Indonesian composers of new music Sadra has achieved international acclaim and recognition, having been invited in 1990 to Colorado in a Meet the Composer grant, and releasing recordings of his music in the West. Sadra is also active as a cultural and music critic, frequently writing in papers and journals in Bali, Java and Jakarta. Sadra’s recent compositions make wide ranging references and display far flung inspirations. His 2001 CD

Sadra reportedly earned only 70,000 rupiah (today roughly $8) for two months service.


of compositions entitled Gender, Suling however maintains a distinct and strong connection to Balinese traditional culture. While certain improvisatory explorations highlight an interest in twelve-tone dissonance rarely heard in Bali, most of his works in some way incorporate core elements of traditional Balinese music, mostly in the form of gender wayang references and suling flute melodies. I Nyoman Windha I Nyoman Windha is an outstanding Balinese composer and performer; born in Singapadu, Bali, Indonesia, July 4, 1956. Windha began his musical studies informally in his youth performing in his local neighborhood gamelan in banjar Kutri Desa. After graduating from KOKAR Windha continued to STSI where he focused on karawitan. After graduating in 1985 he shortly thereafter joined the composition faculty. Throughout his college years Windha regularly performed and composed for the several annual music festivals held in Bali and Java and performed as a member of several international touring groups specializing in the trompong (a row of bossed pot gongs) and ugal (a large metallophone), leading melodic instruments in the large traditional gamelan ensembles. A prolific composer, most of Windha’s works have gently pushed at the boundaries of existing performance practice, with the occasional exception of such self-consciously experimental works as Sangkep, performed for the PKM in 1983. In the same vein as those representational works by his colleagues Asnawa and Astita, Windha’s Sangkep, one of his earliest works, was a musical/dramatic representation of a traditional Balinese neighborhood meeting. Since 1983 Windha has composed over 65 works in various genres, some highly experimental in nature. As the principal compositional understudy of the renowned Balinese composer I Wayan Beratha, Windha’s works quickly became well known and widely appreciated early in his career. Sometimes developing compositional ideas began by Beratha himself, Windha has created a canon of both instrumental and dance works that have become standards of the current repertoire. Often working with Swasthi Bandem, the well-known choreographer and wife of Dr. Made Bandem (the director of STSI Bali from the mid 1980s to mid 1990s) Windha created the dance works Puspanjali, Cendrawasih and Tari Belibis. His instrumental works spring from a flowing melodic genius. Drawing inspiration from popular standards of the gong kebyar repertoire, more esoteric sacred ensembles such as gong luang, Javanese vocal forms, and non-Indonesian musics, Windha’s instrumental compositions have consistently won him awards in Bali’s annual music contests and he is the island’s most in-demand composer for gamelan. Windha’s graduation work Kindama (1984), an accompaniment to a large scale dramatic performance (sendratari), was composed for an experimental seven-tone gamelan made by Beratha and incorporated dramatic modulations between five-tone modes, innovative vocal compositions, and daring orchestration techniques. Kindama was an extremely innovative composition at the time and represented a move away from the fivetone strictures of the standard gamelan gong kebyar repertoire. Some of Windha’s works have been massive in scope, including his hour-long Derap Tersada Nusantara, a narrated history of Indonesia incorporating multiple gamelan and singers from both Bali and Java. Windha has recently been hailed as one of Indonesia’s finest composers of what could be called an emerging national classical form. Incorporating both Javanese and Balinese traditional gamelan genres, his massive Palapa, written in 1986, represented an ambitious attempt to synthesize otherwise disparate regional forms. In 2000 Windha created the large-


scale work Marajut Tali Keragaman which blended 10 different Balinese gamelan ensembles performed by over 150 musicians including a 20 member mixed chorus. Windha, along with his STSI colleagues Desak Made Suarti Laksmi and Ni Ketut Suryatini, has been in the forefront of the development of new Balinese vocal forms, especially the sandhya gita ensemble. This ensemble, influenced by but free of the strict rules governing the ancient Javanese-derived classical vocal forms, has been a site of incredible compositional development in the past few years. Windha has incorporated in his sandhya gita compositions the use of call and response techniques, counterpoint, and unusual intervallic relationships. Windha’s local reputation has provided him with numerous opportunities for international performance, composition, and collaboration. He has been most productive in this sphere through his association with the American Gamelan Sekar Jaya and the several composers in residence with that ensemble including Michael Tenzer, Evan Ziporyn, and Wayne Vitale. Windha’s experiences abroad, especially in America and Germany have made profound impacts on his compositional approach. Today, Windha’s increasing panIndonesian and international exposure has given him the independence to work as an active and influential figure in the scene of Balinese and world composition.

Older Generation I Wayan Beratha I Wayan Beratha, the outstanding Balinese composer and performer, was born in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, 1924. Beratha, the son of I Made Regog, a well-known gamelan teacher and performer, began performing in his father’s ensemble as a youth, quickly gaining a reputation as a formidable performer and composer. By his early twenties Beratha was in-demand throughout south Bali and beyond as a performer, teacher and contract composer, often creating brilliant kebyar works for mabarung--competitive gamelan contests. His compositions have become standards within the canon of the gong kebyar repertoire and he is credited for several major changes and innovations within the genre. He served as leading instrumental faculty when the national conservatory, KOKAR, and later the college of the arts, ASTI (now ISI) were opened in 1960 and 1967 respectively. Beratha is deferred to and respected, almost deified, as an authority on performance, composition, and instrument tuning and construction. Today, preferring to delegate his musical ideas to understudies, Beratha is currently primarily concerned with the preservation of classical forms such as the staid and stately lelambatan and the delicate and ethereal repertoire of the gamelan pelegongan. However, earlier in his career, Beratha’s works sometimes incorporated bold musical experiments such as his use of five beat cycles and triple subdivisions in his works Palguna Warsa and Purwa Pascima, or the representational musical effects in his nationalistic Gesuri in which drum patterns are meant to mimic the gunfire of the Indonesian revolution. Several of Beratha’s now canonical works have developed from a modernization of classical forms such as his development of the ancient gabor offering dance form into the more energized Panyambrama for the gamelan gong kebyar and his 1977 Tabuh Pisan which won the first prize in the 1978 Bali-wide gamelan competitions. In Tabuh Pisan classical elements are retained within the body of the piece while fiery, virtuosic kebyar flourishes are performed on the gangsa (metallophone) within the overture. By the mid 1980s Beratha had retreated to


the background of the music scene in Bali, preferring to devote his energies to teaching and gamelan tuning. Besides composing many of the modern-day standards of gamelan gong kebyar repertoire, Beratha has been centrally involved in the development of entirely new expressive forms. In the early 1960s Javanese and Balinese composers met to attempt to create a wholly new dramatic and musical form. The form, termed sendratari (from the Indonesian for artseni, drama-drama, and dance-tari) aspired to the level of national classical expression. Sendratari was unlike any previous form largely because of its massive scale. Often accompanied by several gamelan ensembles, narrated and enacted by up to 150 dancers on a colossal stage, the form quickly spread to Bali. Beratha himself oversaw the production of the first performances of sendratari in Bali and composed much of the accompanying music for the first production at KOKAR, the school of the arts, in 1962. After the first productions Beratha and his colleagues at KOKAR continued to stage each of the seven kanda (books) of the Ramayana epic, later continuing with stories from the Mahabharata. In his search for deeper musical and expressive possibilities Beratha incorporated multiple gamelan in these productions: a low range gamelan gong gede and a lighter, higher semar pegulingan (although the two gamelan alternated, never sounding together). This combination later inspired younger composers, including Komang Astita, to compose works such as his Kembang Rampai which combined multiple gamelan and incorporated hybrid scales between the ensembles. Beratha eventually sought ways to combine these multiple ensembles into a single orchestra, mainly as a practical solution to avoid moving several heavy and large orchestras for single performances. By 1986 Beratha had succeeded in developing a kind of hybrid gamelan, the gamelan semara dana, essentially a combination of the older semar pegulingan saih pitu, a seven-tone ensemble reserved for older classical repertoire, and a gamelan gong kebyar, a modern five-tone ensemble on which the exuberant kebyar repertoire was developed. Beratha’s new ensemble is capable of performing the full repertoires of several older genres and presents a new world of compositional possibilities to Bali’s youngest generation of composers. The development of the gamelan semara dana stemmed partially from Beratha’s interest in the revival of older seven-tone music, the resurgence of which has re-energized Balinese experimentalism, especially through the development of innovative modal and modulatory practices. Beratha is popularly regaled as Bali’s greatest living composer and a major authority on tuning and tuning systems.


D – SOURCE TRANSLATIONS 1 - Satu Alternatif, Enam Tahun - Pekan Komponis Muda, Suka Hardjana, Editor. Translator’s note: This work is a facet at all tertiary level arts institution libraries in Indonesia. It documents, more than any other publication in Indonesian or English, the early development of musik kontemporer in Indonesia between the late 1970s and early 1980s. The work is often cited by young composers as a resource for ideas and historical context. The original work includes various official addresses, discussion transcripts and media reviews. Here I include only the opening introductions and the relevant abstracts of works by Balinese composers. I follow as closely as possible the sometimes unique formatting conventions used in the original. Six Years of the Young Composers’ Week 1979-1985 An Alternative Edited by Suka Hardjana Introduction Actually since 1979, the first year of the Young Composer’s Week, there was the wish to publish the results of these meetings. Yet, it was only in 1986 that this wish was fulfilled. And of course there were practical and technical limitations which could not be avoided. Because of these limitations, not all of the forum’s proceedings are included here. Not all of the comments, questions, and thoughts of the participants could, of course, be included in this volume. The editor has therefore included only the most central and important thoughts and comments from the nearly thirty hours of proceedings from each of the six forums. It must also be understood that the quotations included are often paraphrased. Nevertheless, these words are too important to be overlooked or omitted. Furthermore, recordings of the music as well as the stage settings, dance and dramatic elements, etc. that is, the audio and visual elements of these proceedings could, obviously, not be captured within these pages. The Dewan Kesenian Jakarta has in its archives the full documentation of these proceedings, and both recordings (reel-to-reel) and photographs can be ordered from the institution. This book has two aims. Firstly is to provide a full report of our forum’s meetings to the general public as well as to those directly involved in, or directly interested in, the group’s activities. Secondly, and not less importantly, to provide a documentation of a new art movement, an art movement that not only has significant cultural value, but historical importance as well. Certainly the spontaneity and energy of these works must be fully understood. This book takes as its model a documentary style, it is rather informal and in need of further editing and improvements here and there. Hopefully this style is not too flawed or fragmentary and the weight of the thoughts presented at the forum will be accessible to a wide audience. Moreover, the historical importance and contribution of these meetings


should been viewed from a cultural and developmental perspective. The alternative ideas presented here are truly innovative, and in the future the forum of creative Indonesian composers will be a clear example to the world. It is hoped that the significance of these meetings and works are conveyed in the pages of this book. Suka Hardjana Editor A Welcome from the Head of the Dewan Kesenian Jakarta Periodically, since 1979, the Dewan Kesenian Jakarta has sponsored the Young Composer’s Week. A dream that was not easily realized, the forum has now become an institution that cannot be ignored. This forum which brought forth many issues and problems of composition by the many participants provides a picture which is unexpected: that which is always desired by the composer, that is, creation without limits. From the analysis and review which is gained from each of the discussion sessions, we are lead to the conclusion that composition skills are a kind of potential, furthermore we find evidence that is deeper, that is how we “cash in” these skills, develop them and allow them to flourish in a form that can break through the walls which have bound composers for so long. With pleasure we offer this publication which has been edited and compiled by Suka Hardjana. Hopefully the Young Composers Week will continue to function, develop and “sing” the energy of the Indonesian arts. To the artists which have supported the development of young composers, the Dewan Kesenian Jakarta praises your continued struggle. Your fight will soon be appreciated by the peoples of Indonesia, Amen. Jakarta, May 1986 Dewan Kesenian Jakarta Iravati M. Sudiarso Director Welcome by the Director General of Culture and Education to the “Festival of Dance II” and “The Young Composers Week, 1979.” The initiative to create a special week for new dance and music by young artists is a laudable concept. In the development of our arts we must not only lay importance on our traditional arts. We must also cultivate our new artistic seedlings to guarantee a continuation of our precious arts, those who in the previous era achieved a high artistic stage that we can still feel proud of. In forums and meetings such as today’s the young seeds in the ground of dance and music find an excellent opportunity to demonstrate their abilities in the field of artistic creation. The appearance before the general public will represent the challenge faced by those artists in reminding the public of the integrity and relevance of high art, and so this opportunity will be useful in developing the evaluations and opinions of the general public. Besides this, the work of these artists who are already able to bring forth new expressions can help push and stimulate other young artists to follow in creating works of high quality. Thus the Indonesian arts will continually develop in new directions.


Our culture has been developing for centuries and the fruits of our culture should become the bedrock that inspires our new composers and creative artists. The Indonesian arts hopefully will represent the character and nature of Indonesian-ness, without lowering individual artistic energy and expression. The raw materials which originate in extraordinary foreign cultures certainly should not be resisted or avoided, yet we hope the fusion and synthesis of unique Indonesian characteristics occurs in the creation of artistic works which truly reach high creative levels, so that finally we can find a form which is lasting and which can be respected by future generations. Prof. Dr. Haryati Soebadio Greeting of the Head of the Dewan Kesenian Jakarta We always require creation, although older works, the results of creative processes themselves, sometime come to be thought of as holy. However, new works cannot be brought into existence if the required creative climate and atmosphere are not cultivated. For several years, since the Music Conference of 1974, the Dewan Kesenian Jakarta has strove to discover the aims of music: that which represent three principle needs, that is creativity, the education of music and music criticism. In the aim of stimulating creativity and the creation of music The Dewan Kesenian Jakarta has already introduced the Sayembara Komposisi Musik [the new music competition] each year for several different genres of music. Another path which will be followed besides the yearly contests (which at that time had less than satisfactory results) is the “Assignment” of the creation of new music to all Indonesian composers. This is regarded as important for continuing the stimulation of creative activities in music. In the traditional field, the Dewan Kesenian Jakarta in 1976 invited all traditional composers to perform works, while discussing them in a large forum. Now the Dewan Kesenian Jakarta believes that supporting the meeting of young composers and their creations in a single face to face opportunity will be good for young composers who have moved beyond traditional forms. The majority of the attending composers have been trained in formal institutions. We have the aim of soliciting the composers’ own opinions of the works in discussion forums to the end of the week. Hopefully, in other opportunities, the Dewan Kesenian Jakarta can continue facilitating the interaction of young Indonesian composers, involving more composers if possible. Finally, to all the parties which helped us to sponsor the Young Composers Week, 1979, we offer our honest thanks for their attention and participation. January, 19 December, 1979 Dewan Kesenian Jakarta Iravati M. Sudiarso, Director


[p.55] “Gema Eka Dasa Rudra” by Komang Astita, BA. Performed in the Theater Arena – Taman Ismail Marzuki, December 21st, 1979. Personnel: 1. Komang Astita 2. Wayan Rai S. 3. Nyoman Windha 4. Nyoman Sudiana 5. Nyoman Tantra 6. Wayan Mariana 7. Nengah Muliana 8. Gst. Lanang Oka Ardika 9. Pande Gede Mustika 10. Made Persib I Komang Astita, BA ASTI Denpasar I Nyoman Astita was born on the 24th of December 1952. Since he was in fifth grade he had a love for gambelan, especially Balinese gambelan. He lived in the Kaliungu Kaja district of Denpasar, which was especially important in his becoming a composer, and he was supported by the members of his family each of which had experience in the arts. His father performed gambelan and his uncle played and built gambelan and was an architect. After graduating from SD (high school), Nyoman Astita continued to the Sekolah Teknik Negeri (Technical School) in Denpasar, studying building construction until 1969. Throughout, his strong attraction to music was not extinguished and he continued to study at the Konservatori Karawitan (KOKAR) in Denpasar. While a student at Kokar, he joined arts missions to several western and eastern Indonesian towns. In 1970 he joined an art tour to West Germany and the Balinese sendratari group at the Ramayana festival in Prambanan and the Pandaan Ramayana festival in 1971. In 1972 he continued his education at ASKI Denpasar and graduated with his bachelor’s degree in 1976. Since that time he has often joined touring performing ensembles, traveling to Malaysia, Padang, Singapore and large cities in Java. Since 1977 Nyoman Astita has taught as an assistant in ASTI Denpasar (as an assistant to Wayan Beratha) in karawitan theory classes. His works completed by 1979 include: a children’s sendratari for the children’s gong kebyar festival, dance works Baris Badawa Manggala Yudha, and a dance work entitled Kupu-Kupu (performed on August 17, 1979 in Jakarta). He created a tabuh kreasi entitled Kembang Rampai incorporating a seven-tone semar pegulingan, an angklung and a gong kebyar. In September, 1979 he created a fragment entitled Gugur Kurupati performed during the anniversary of the Puputan Badung. “GEMA EKA DASA RUDRA” By: Komang Astita, BA : Kendang / Rebab : Kendang / Kentungan : Gangsa / Kentungan : Gangsa / Kentungan : Kulkul / Bende : Kantil / Kepyar : Jublag / Kelenang : Jublag / Kulkul : Gong / Sapu / Kempul : Voice / Kempyung


I. Introduction: Firstly we give thanks and offerings to God, Ida Sang Hyang Widhi Waca, the One True God, for his mercy. We ask forgiveness for our shortcomings either in our paper or our performance. The work ‘Eka Dasa Rudra’ which we have the opportunity to present here represents a work which is innovative and non-traditional and which attempts to represent in performance a large Balinese ceremony. Several types of Balinese music have inspired this work. Among the concepts we employ are the interaction of slendro and pélog tones which we express through the gambelan semar pegulingan saih pitu. Besides this, we explore rhythm through the use of kotekan (interlocking figuration). Wooden and bamboo instruments and several types of gongs represent a unique feature of this work. In our composition we avoided static textures, and the musical labor is divided evenly. Importantly, each of the musicians played a role in helping to arrange the music. Music is not only made from the principles of tone, melody, rhythm, harmony, and dynamics but also the elements of time, space, and motion. Based on the considerations above, the composition is also aided by staging and lighting, and all the elements of the performance are hoped to produce a theatrical effect. As a work of art, this piece is still far from perfect. This represents the maximal efforts of our coordinated work according to the working conditions and time constraints. We hope to have created something new through this work. We have searched both forward and backward in looking for new means of expressing a new music different from any other existing works, especially in the world of Balinese music. II Core Themes Looking at the title rather than the work itself, it is clear that the theme of the work which we present is a ceremony. Eka Dasa Rudra for the Hindu people, especially in Bali, is a large ceremony which is only performed once every 100 years. It is an extremely important ceremony for every Balinese because, in all probability, they will only witness one such ceremony. Because of this the Besakih Temple, which is the center of the ceremony, becomes extremely busy and crowded, covered in offerings and ornaments. The performance of several types of music and drama, dance, masked performances, and wayang is an integral part of the performance of this ceremony. As a result of our experiences taking part in the Eka Dasa Rudra ceremony this past march of 1979 we brought forth the idea of expressing an element of this ceremony in the form of a musical performance. The heterogeneous atmosphere at that time, the echoing sounds of all kinds of music, gamelan, mantras, prayers, the great commotion of the sounds of music in a special way reflected the social life of the Balinese people. To illustrate the performance of the Eka Dasa Rudra ceremony according to our musical aims, we present several core themes, among them: a social atmosphere, a solemn, sacred mood, and a respectful atmosphere. Our general “plot” [sic] is infused with the folk feeling which is clearly illustrated by the sound of the “kukul” (kentongan) which is used in the villages to signal that there is an important situation which needs to be discussed in the banjar, the wantilan or another village meeting area. In this first section which represents the atmosphere in the villages we express the bustling atmosphere of the preparations for the ceremony. For the following section the mood moves to another section of the ceremony


known as “mapada.” This is a ceremony in which several types of plants and animals are carried as offerings around the temple. This section is especially sacred. After the mapada ceremony, in the evening when the feeling is very solemn and devotional, people recite kakawin, kidung, and the angklung is played, people watch wayang and some in the temple still process, lead by a priest. Here we include a feeling of trance as a climax eventually closed with a feeling of respect symbolizing the final ceremony. All of these feelings and moods are expressed through music which sometimes is interspersed with “mime” of the ceremony as a visual representation. It should be clear that not all of the themes on which the music is based is derived or inspired by the Eka Dasa Rudra ceremony. This is due to, besides times constraints, the need to maintain musical autonomy so that it is not dominated by the dramatic expression. III. Instrumentation In order to produce the various feelings and atmospheres we needed several instrumental colors. Because of this we used as many as 30 instruments among them being: 2 large gongs – gong kebyar 1 medium gong – semar pegulingan 1 kemong – gong kebyar 1 kempur - gong kebyar 1 kempul – angklung 1 bende – gong gede 1 kempli – gong gede 1 kempyung – semar pegulingan 2 gangsa pemade – semar pegulingan 2 gangsa kantil – semar pegulingan 2 jublag – semar pegulingan 1 gentorag – semar pegulingan 1 small ceng-ceng – semar pegulingan 1 kajar – gambuh 2 suling – gambuh 2 kulkul, a large and small 1 ketungan 1 rebab – gambuh 2 whisk brooms 2 bamboo kebyak 1 kangsi 3 penumbuk This instrumentation is intended to be out of the ordinary. IV Composition The time limit offered by committee was sufficient for us to develop the musical ideas we desired to realize. But the fact is that the time that was offered did not allow us to exploit the time as thoroughly as possible, because we were very busy at this time. Intensive preparatory


rehearsals for the Pekan Komponis Muda only started after the second week of December, 1979. The process of composing can be divided into three sections: The exploratory or searching stage. The forming stage and The refining stage. The Searching Stage Since receiving the Committee’s invitation, we began to think and search, working to create a form or approximation which would be in accordance with our resources, materials, time, and conditions. In this stage we sought a newness, yet achieving this newness was the foremost challenge that we faced. This situation involved many problems besides the issues of money and instruments. After consideration, we finally decided to create a work which departed from traditional forms. Theme is very important, because it aids composition. Finally we established as a theme the “Eka Dasa Rudra.” The Forming Stage Remembering that our time was limited to a week, our time was therefore divided thusly: 3 days we used to create a form while the remaining three days we used to polish and refine the work. In the first three days we introduced the 10 members/players to the concepts and emphasized the sections which we still felt were unstable so that each player truly controlled their part and their playing. For three days we practiced for nearly 8 hours a day until the form which we desired finally began to emerge, while it still of course needed to be further perfected. The Refining Stage For the last stage we continued to have rehearsals during the afternoon and evening yet our time was beginning to run out. In this stage we began to take suggestions from our colleagues and mentors. During this time we were still experiencing several problems and changes besides the suggestions in ourselves calling for more changes. On the 15th of December 1979 we had time to have full rehearsals ending with an open rehearsal attended by several imminent musicians and cultural figures in Denpasar. That is a short description of the process of the creation of this piece “Eka Dasa Rudra” which we will be presenting today. Obstacles The principle obstacles were our busy schedule at the time of preparation. Further obstacles came in the form of financial constraints and the availability of instruments. “Gema Eka Dasa Rudra” by Komang Astita The composition of music using Balinese instruments is not terribly easy. The wealth of the various Balinese traditional repertoires and instruments shadow the composer’s step along the way in creation. During this generation artistic needs have been realized through the gong kebyar. Recently however gong kebyar has shown signs of saturation. The development of gong kebyar has recently been in the form of variations, rather than innovations—variations upon standardized forms and melodies, with the same set orchestration each time. Gong kebyar lately gives the impression of stasis.


It is a different situation with our current work because our principle aim was to try to advance a step while still quoting from traditional Balinese forms. We attempted to incorporate several innovations through the gambelan semar pegulingan saih pitu including the changing of “tonal key” (patutan or patet) which gives a changing sense of atmosphere. Besides this we have pioneered the introduction of rhythmic music using the kulkul, ketungan, kebyak, whisk broom, and several gambelan instruments. Through the title above we transform the ceremony into a theme for composition and the expression of pitch, rhythm, harmony, dynamics, time, space and motion, hoping to achieve an expression of feelings of the Eka Dasa Rudra. Finally, through this work which we present as a production of ASTI Denpasar and supported by the second year students in karawitan, we express our greetings and hope that our presentation touches your heart.


[p. 89] “Gora Suara” by Pande Made Sukerta Performed in the Theater Arena, Taman Ismail Marzuki, February 5th, 1981. Performers: 1. I Ketut Yasa 2. I Made Lasmawan 3. I Ketut Saba 4. I Nengah Maja 5. Suroto 6. Pande Made Sukerta 7. I Gusti Gede Putra 8. I Nyoman Murtana 9. Sukamso 10. Sigit Astono 11. I Nyoman Cahya 12. B. Subono 13. Rustopo 14. Rahayu Supanggah 15. Prasadianto 16. Pande Nyoman Jero Pramana 17. Supardi 18. Joko Purwanto 19. Rusdiantoro Pande Made Sukerta, ASKI Surakarta Born in 1953 in Tejakula, Singaraja, Bali. Since 1964 he was an active participant in local gamelan ensembles. Since 1970 he continued his studies at SMKI Denpasar where he focused on rebab. In 1973 he continued his studies at ASKI Surakarta, graduating from the Seniman Karawitan program in 1979. While at ASKI he organized and led the performance of Balinese music, participated in several experimental works, and composed many komposisi including Malam, Asanawali and Demung. As a performer he often participates in foreign tours, including trips to: Singapore (1972), France, The Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy and Iran (1974), Australia (1974). He has also performed as a musician in the Young Choreographer’s week (Wayang Buda) in Jakarta (1978) and the Young Composer’s Week (Gambuh and Dang-dang Gula) in Jakarta (1979). “Gora Suara” Performance time: approximately 20 minutes. Instrumentation: traditional instruments: a gamelan gong kebyar supplemented with several Javanese and other instruments. This composition departs but draws from tradition forms which still offer many musical - Trompong, kempul, ceng-ceng kopyak, ceng-ceng kecek, piring, kembungan, Voice. - kendang wadon, kempul, voice. - kendang lanang, kempul, piring, voice. - ceng-ceng kecek, kempul, voice. - kajar, Gong suwukan, piring, voice. - rebab, giying, penyandet, kembungan, kempli, ceng-ceng kopyak, voice. - reyong pengenet, kembungan, voice. - reyong penyorong, kembungan, voice. - jegongan, biting, voice. - gong, Kempul, kenong, voice - pemade penyandet, piring, voice. - pemade pemolos, piring, voice. - giying ugal, voice. - pemade pemolos, piring, voice. - pemade penyandet, piring, voice. -kantil pemolos, piring, voice. -kantil penyandet, piring, voice. - jublag, penontong, voice. - Jublag, voice.


possibilities which have yet to be explored. In this composition several vocal forms are used including Javanese gerongan and Balinese kekawin, among other forms. “Gora Suara” by Pande Made Sukerta In this work we use traditional materials which still provide us with limitless compositional possibilities all of which can be treated in traditional or innovative ways. The instrumentation includes a gong kebyar as well as the following instruments: a Javanese gong and four Javanese kempul, a genta orag, a Javanese penontong cara balen, biting, piring [plates], and balloons. As in the instrumentation, in our composition we were not bound by the conventions of traditional karawitan, either Javanese or Balinese (which I know well), or the traditional function, form, rhythm, and structure of gending. But among these conventions we used several, including: Interlocking kendang, reyong, and gangsa patterns The pengecet, pengawak, ocak form The genderan in the pangawak We also used conventional traditional forms in unconventional ways: Interlocking jublag and jegogan patterns Javanese gerong and cakepun. Javanese singing in Balinese musical style. Trompong and reyong playing at the same time Kendang gupekan and cedugan used at the same time In this composition there is a section which is left open to certain performers (giying, trompong, jegogan, jublag, gong, suling, and rebab). We do not feel bound by the norms of traditional performance practice, but the presence of traditional forms is clear and strong in this work. While in some of our other works we leave tradition behind completely, this work I feel is very close to traditional, especially Balinese, forms. Form It could be said that the medium we are using here is gong kebyar, with a few supplemental instruments. Generally gong kebyar pieces are not standardized in form as are lelambatan pieces, that is the repertoire of the gamelan gong gede, such as tabuh pat semarandana, tabuh pat jagul, or such as the gamelan pelegongan and its standard forms such as tabuh telu lasem. Voice. In our composition we used a vocal arrangement similar to Javanese gerong, Balinese kekawin and other vocal forms. Javanese gerongan involves the use of cengkok and cekepun. The instrumental form is not necessarily parallel with the vocal form, and this is normal. Balinese kekawin is often performed freely, rhythmically and melodically independent of the gamelan. The meaning or contents of the cakepan lyrics are not here considered significant as compared with melody or overall mood. Here the cakepan only functions as a means of transporting the pitch.


LAD-LUD-AN Wayan Sadra Performed in the Theater Arena, Taman Ismail Marzuki, February 6th, 1981 Performers 1. Putu Winarta 2. Ida Bagus Kartika 3. Wayan Rajin 4. Wayan Sudayasa 5. Ngurah Kertayuda 6. Made Asri 7. Kusumadewi 8. Yulli Majid 9. Ketut Putra 10. Ida Bagus Putu Oka 11. Gst Nyoman Latra 12. Wayan Windia 13. Gst Ketut Rai Sukiartha 14. Nyoman Ngeplus 15. Ketut Arjutawan 16. Wayan Kerta 17. Elly 18. Gst Kompyang Raka 19. Wayan Sadra 20.…………… I Wayan Sadra Born August 1, 1954 in banjar Kaliungu Kaja, Denpasar Bali. He studied at the Konservatori Karawitan in Bali and one year at the Performing Arts Academy, LPKJ, performing in Sardono W. Kusomo’s group in a performance of Dongeng Dari Dirah. His works which have been performed include Lanyad and Nadir. “Lad – Lud – An” Performance time: 20-40 minutes Our traditions are rich in Indonesia. [We can] move beyond that, using and arranging all of that material, through expression or orchestration etc. using the many experiences of this life as inspiration to guide or search in expression. And the above must be supplemented: exploiting and creating “anything that has not yet existed” this may be only an expressive style. Nonsense?…..Truly II……better than nothing! Lad – Lud – An I Wayan Sadra We composers become distracted with the business of composing and find it difficult to express ourselves through the written word. And yet, we know the written word is so important for these kinds of forums. Writing represents a realization of the concept or


thought, an explanation of the art work. Or, of course it can be the opposite leading only to vagueness. Is this the responsibility of the composer? Could it be that the words and concepts are made up afterwards to fit with the work? These could be deceptions and excuses! And we have no talent for writing. Furthermore, we feel that the audience can likely say more than we about Lad-Lud-an in the form of suggestions, criticism, verbal abuse, slander, etc., …….or whatever!! Enough, we must say a few things about the work. Long before the invitation from the Dewan Kesenian Jakarta was received, the preparation for this piece had already begun. Preparations in the form of ideas, outlining, intentions etc. It’s typical that in every effort there are long moments of frustration and writer’s block. At other times ideas come of themselves. What is in the richness of traditional manifests itself in almost subconscious ways. The wealth of all of the types of Balinese gamelan and their repertoire is a treasure trove. They represent long development of tunings and instruments. It is a development which is truly extraordinary. One of the latest developments, that of the gamelan gong kebyar, has had incredible consequences in artistic and social life. The hub-ub of kebyar has completely enveloped the life of Balinese music and arts. A golden age. It is thought of as an assimilator of all previous forms of expression, a flexible form capable of any social expression. True or not, this is has lead us to a point. A point of feeling stifled, unfulfilled, pent-up somehow and in need of revolt, if only a little, in the search for something different. But we use the old values which we feel are still appropriate to current artistic life. This feeling of being stifled is balanced by our abilities and imagination. It is probably an indication of typical creativity, which does not need to be idolized, because we are all creative. The realization of a concept is tricky. First it is imagined as unique. Strongly imagined. A good spark and foundation. It comes like a clear ray of light. You can’t imagine the difficulties and problems which might later arise. You forget that later you will interact with others with equally idealistic and strong notions. When you begin to discuss you already begin to stumble into problems. Misunderstandings and conflicting desires. Of course, as every person comes with different ideas and dispositions. There are those that speak endlessly, those that nod although they do not understand, those that want to be told what to do, or those that will not take advice or suggestions, believing they already have a finished concept. Eventually this kind of situation leads to worry and stress, the hope becomes confused, stifled. Finally, you simply pick the easiest thing to play, something easily followed, which everyone is already comfortable with. At the time it is thought of as the best option. When all feel they are involved, they feel able then to give feedback, to think and approach the earlier concepts. Its not impossible that the idea hasn’t changed. No longer pure because of limitations. The rehearsal doesn’t go smoothly, quarrels break out. Hopefully this simplicity can be expressed as completely as possible and observed in its fullness by each of the members/performers. This fact does not preclude other possibilities and dynamics. The spontaneity which springs from tradition. An example: We can see a small space which can be developed further, such as the solo kendang player (used in fast sections). Each player plays even the same pieces quiet differently. It is compact sounding, tight, as if it was through composed but is in fact improvisation. Or it can be an annoying, too-thick texture. This all depends on the ability of the musician to respond musically, as an individual within a group. There is a sound from………….. There is an old person who…….. There are police about to………..


There are two broken eggs……… There is darkness in………………. We have long felt prepared for this performance, that is of course until yesterday. Our doubts concerning the upcoming performance terrorizes us. And now we prepare ourselves, if only in our minds.


[p. 109.] GEGIRAHAN LUMRAH By IG. B. Suarsana Performed in the Theater Arean, Taman Ismail Marzuki, February 6, 1981. Performers: 1. IG. B. Suarsana 2. G.B. Adi Perbawa 3. Gd. Putu Winarta 4. TG. B. Subrata 5. G.B. Suprasta 6. Ketut Putra 7. Wayan Sudyasa 8. Wayan Sadra 9. Made Wenten Astika 10. Nyoman Gelgel Punarbawa 11. Ketut Westra 12. Wayan Pande 13. Nengah Subaga 14. Nengah Kastika 15. Nyoman Tapa 16. Ketut Rai Sukiarta 17. I.G.B. Sutarta 18. I.G.B. Winaya 19. Wayan Sunarta 20. Ida Bagus Kartika -kendang/rebana/gangsa -giying/cengceng kepyak -kendang/rebana -rebana/gangsa/talenan -rebana/gangsa/talenan -suling/reong -suling/reong -reong/cengceng kopyak -gangsa/talenan -jegog/bungbung -jublag/bumbung -jublag/bumbung -kantil/talenan -kantil/talenan -kempluk/bumbung -rebab/suling -cengceng/bumbung -rebab/suling -reong/suling -gangsa/bumbung

I Gusti Bagus Suarsana BA Arts Division, Department of Culture and Education. DKI Jakarta Born in Singaraja, September 1947. Active as a teacher of Balinese music in Singaraja, Jembrana, Denpasar, and Tabanan since 1966. He worked as a teacher of dance and music beginning in 1969, has been a permanent teacher in Perean/Tabanan since 1975. A composer of Balinese works, and the leader of the Balinese dance school “Widya Budaya” in Jakarta. In 1967 he graduated from SMKI Denpasar, in 1978 he graduated from ASKI Denpasar. He has participated in several art missions in and out of the country to West and East Indonesia, Palembang, Makasar, Expo ’70 in Osaka Japan, America, Canada and Singapore. His works include: Tabuh Sapta Buana (1972), Tabuh Merak Ngilo (1974), Tabuh/Gegitan Bali Dwipa (1980), Tabuh Gegitan Tampak Siring (1980), Tabuh Abdi Budaya (1973), tabuh/fragmen Cupak Gerantang (1980), Tabuh/Fragmen Bima Swarga (1980) and Karya Tari Kekayonan 1. “Gegirahan” No one desires sorrow, sadness or misery. Rather, everyone wants to be healthy, happy and wish to live better tomorrow than they live today. Gegirahan means the strength of the soul to be happy in life and to face tomorrow with a smile. Gegirahan is expressed thusly:


people’s inner feeling - through the voice people’s deeds – through instruments several kebyar melodies support the theme 2. “Lumrah” Lumrah means normal or conventional, or everyday, something that has already become tradition. However, if examined in a spiritual way the meaning of lumrah is very open and not limited. An example: however odd something might be, if it goes through a time of incubation or transition it can eventually become something called tradition, or lumrah. Possibly what is not lumrah today can become lumrah tomorrow, in accordance with context. The expression of “lumrah” is first expressed in a conspicuous and odd way, but later it becomes increasingly commonplace…………? “Kegirahan” by IG. B. Suarsana INTRODUCTION I responded with pride to the opportunity that I had been given in the Pekan Komponis Muda II in 1981 by the DKJ. Participation does not only require one skill, but rather the ability to develop an expression in a relatively short amount of time. One deciding factor besides skill is the strength of will, interest and a strong effort based on the conviction that the work can be done. This situation pushed me so that even while I experienced many problems and obstacles, I did not lose heart or soul. I used this opportunity to express the fruit of my works, to add something unique to Balinese music, especially traditional music. I used gambelan gong kebyar instruments tuned to the five tone Balinese pélog. This gambelan is very flexible and offers many musical possibilities and is used in accompanying traditional and kontemporer Balinese dance. Among the types of supporting instruments I used are the rebana biang (Betawi), bumbung, talenan, gentorag, cengceng kopyak etc. In closing we hope that there are opinions and criticisms from experienced musicians in the field that will help us improve our works which we have titled Gegirahan and Lumrah. We are sure that there are many faults with our work, and we are reminded of the phrase “there is no ivory without cracks.” Compositional Themes 1. GEGIRAHAN comes from the word “girah” with the prefix ge and the suffix an. Gegirahan is a Balinese word which is rarely used in everyday speech. Girah means to covet or be delighted with and gegirahan means happiness. Gegirahan is similar in meaning to girang but not exactly the same. Gegirahan has a strong connection with “positive vibes.” Gegirahan is an important element in people’s lives. People who do not posses gegirahan live an empty life, and some seek to end their lives in various ways. Gegirahan is closely connected to Panca Indra, that is: eyes, ears, mouth, feeling/skin, and thought. Gegirahan manifests itself variously in different people. In a refined, consistent and stable way, or in momentary periods of intense happiness surrounded by times of depression. In this work the compositional core is made up of several vibrations intertwined through rhythm to form a single sound and a single rhythm, becoming ‘GEGIRAHAN.’ LUMRAH


Lumrah means normal or natural in Balinese and Indonesian. By lumrah we imply two meanings, that is: a. Lumrah in the use of pitches, instruments; How an individual’s creativity (in this case mine) can use pitches and scales which already exist. That is using materials that aren’t wholly original. b. Lumrah in the creation of works In the creation of even traditional works there are always some innovations. In the creation of form, playing technique, and expression of feeling the composer expresses a unique voice within his work. Concerning the expression there are some things that only the creator can know. From these two meanings we intend to present something which is possibly normal to those used to it but strange to those unused to it. After one or two hearings certain things in Lumrah become commonplace. This is the point of “LUMRAH.” Compositional Technique. “Gegirahan” First the group discuss their interests and likes. Then several colleagues arrive who are unaware of this earlier meeting. -Vokal: Wee nyamane tumben tepuk (Hey friend, where have you been?) Ade mesebeng banyol (You jest) Deeke mula banyol (You are surely joking) Jalan jani bareng ngawe banyol (if that’s so, then let us joke together) Meli girang. . . ngadep girang (let us amuse ourselves) Girang ento neranayang awet muda (because joy is the vitality of youth). -Each person hums while moving to their instrument. -Each instrument begins quietly, with the melody. -They sound then sharp and staccato, then smooth, even and the thundering, finally quiet. -The mood is fiery with a continuous rhythm with the alternating sounds of all sorts of instruments: rebana biang, bamboo, talenan, ceng-ceng kopyak, gangsa, in a constant alternation of orchestration. -Short rhythms are played in a 3/4 meter following a march melody, with the orchestration alternating between strong and light instruments to highlight balance and taste. At (p4) the climax. -This finishes with an increasingly slow and weak rhythm, a decrescendo so that all that is heard is the nostalgic sound of the suling gambuh. From this melodic form the following sketch. -A refined sound as a foundation. -A loud sound (short) -A quiet sound (long) -A rhythmically fast sound, constantly changing


-The climax, compact, representing the final aim to find happiness in this life. -Increasingly weak and finally stopping, representing aging and the deterioration of physical and mental health So in this way I will musically paint the form of Kegirahan in humanity through composition Gegirahan. Compositional Approach / technique. 2.A. “Lumrah” -Lumrah is introduced by a kendang ornamentation -This continues into a melody in the rejang style, with a sacred and religious atmosphere -Continuing into an energetic, joyous, glamorous [sic] gilak -Continuing into a gender/gineman melody. -Continuing into a gandrung melody, with a romantic mood. -This is closed with a gambangan melody as a conclusion.


B/ melodic beginning, voice and all instruments playing quietly. C/ Clanging bells, Kebyar in a staccato feel. D/ Gangsa variations, with suling and rebab. E/ Quick rhythm, dominated by the rebana, talenan, bumbung, cengceng and kendang and kecak. F/ Melodic Climax: All instruments in march rhythm. A/ The rhythm slows with the rebab and suling, weakening until gone. Explanation of sketch a-b = an even rhythm (a religious atmosphere) b –c / an energetic rhythm with ornamentation, gangsa and reyong, kendang question and answer. (c represents the first climax) c-d = A devout atmosphere with the gineman melody. d-e / A romantic mood represented by the gandrung melody e-f / The second melodic climax, ending with the gambangan melody. *** The types of melodies used in these two works are original as is the gong form, it is only in the style of other ensembles. Note: Our presenting two works to the PKM II is an exception. We give the following reasons for this:


a. To demonstrate different playing types/techniques. The playing technique for Gegirahan are very simple, while the playing techniques for Lumrah are rather difficult. b. To compare the two works. -the two works complement each other and musically connect. -The form of Lumrah is meant to continuously increase in intensity, in tempo and in range, and gives the sense of ending before it is ‘finished.’


[p. 160] Trompong Beruk I Wayan Rai S. Production ASTI Denpasar Performers: I Wayan Rai S., I Nyoman Windha BA, I Ketut Asnawa BA, I Made Persib, I Nyoman Tantra, Pande Gde Mustika, I Gusti Lanang Ardika, I Nyoman Mariana, Nengah Muliana, I Nyoman Sudiana, I Made Pogog, I Ketut Cemeng, Gusti Ngurah Suteja, Ni Ketut Suryatini, Ni Ketut Suarni, Gusti Ayu Srinatih. The trompong beruk is a Balinese musical instrument. This instrument has keys of palm wood or bamboo and resonators made of beruk, or coconut shells. It is tuned in either slendro or pélog. The playing technique is the same as that of the gong gede trompong or gong kebyar trompong. The trompong beruk is not part of a larger ensemble but is played on its own. As a solo instrument it is played at home or in the fields recreationally. Often the instrument is played by farmers after they have finished their day’s work or while watching their fields. In the fields it is often connected with rope to the field hut which is pulled whenever birds come near the fields in order to scare them away. The instrument is most often played in an improvisatory style but today this style is little understood. It is extremely difficult to find performers, and the traditions surrounding the instrument are nearly extinct. The names of performers are largely unknown. Seeing this we became interested in revitalizing it. In this re-discovery we were very lucky because we found that several trompong beruk players are still living, among them Nyoman Miada (nearly 80 years old) from banjar Margatelu (in Karangasem). From this master we were able to obtain much data. Here we also found a trompong beruk tuned to slendro. We chose this village as a center of exploration. After this discovery we wanted to develop the form further. In this development effort we wanted to play the instrument with several other instruments, with the aim of creating a new ensemble. For this we created an instrument named the “tengkulak.” The tengkulak is a key hung over a coconut shell which is pierced at the top which acts as a resonator. The difficulty is in matching the resonator pitch to the key pitch. After many attempts we finally were able to create a working instrument. We tuned it to the trompong beruk. Besides the tengkulak we used guntang, an instrument made from large bamboo culms which are tuned (carved) and functions as a chord under which is a resonator. The bamboo acts as string and resonator. These instruments were first used for arja ensembles, as a metrical and structural marker. We tuned this instrument to the trompong beruk in this ensemble. The instrument was made by I Nyoman Rembang, a Balinese composer, theorist and instrument maker. We also included bamboo suling, both small and large. We also used a gong pulu, which is usually used in the joged bumbung ensemble or gandrung ensemble. We also tried making a gong pulu with bamboo keys with a clay resonator, but unfortunately we were not able to finish the instrument in time and we instead borrowed a gong pulu from Pak Rembang with iron keys and a wooden resonator. Other instruments included several supporting rhythmic instruments according to the themes of the work: Sapan, Kepuakan, Okokan, Guetan and Janur. Themes


Banjar Margatelu where we conducted our research project is a small village in the mountainous area of Karangesem. The villagers are mostly farmers who maintain strict traditional values. It was an extraordinary experience for us to live for several weeks among the Margatelu villagers. The local sounds of nature, birds, dogs, frogs etc. and the sounds of the farmers working in the rice fields were always to be heard. We thought this natural symphony would be enhanced if the sound of the trompong beruk once again was heard in that area. We take as our compositional theme the sounds of communal living and working among the folk of Margatelu. In this effort we also chose several tembang that we felt were appropriate for this work, and which supported this theme. We studied these tembang from Ni Nyoman Candri. We interpreted the sounds of nature and animals through the human voice. Composition The first step we took in realizing our ideas was in bringing together 17 performers with which to experiment and collaborate. We looked for a non-fixed melodic form to allow for an improvisatory style on the trompong beruk. We used a short melody with the support of the trompong beruk and kotekan on the guntang instruments. Besides playing kotekan, we also gave the task to the supporting musicians the role of finding other possibilities which could be realized on their instrument. We did this in four rehearsals. In the fifth rehearsal we included the tembang. The tembang was chosen to fit with the context of the project. Pupuh Ginanti Pengalang (a morning tembang) and Ginanti Linggar Petak were chosen. These two tembang have long been used in arja theater. We purposefully chose these two tembang because their tunings matched the tuning of the trompong beruk. Apparently these two tembang are increasingly rarely used in arja today and we wanted to revive these as well. We worry that these tembang will suffer the same fate as the trompong beruk. In these tembang the trompong beruk functions as an accompanist, improvising around the core outline of the tembang. In the eighth lesson we began to interpret several types of animal sounds with both the voice and plastic noise-makers which we included to heighten the village atmosphere. From here the form of our work began to become evident. In continuing our composing we attempted to include instruments which function as rhythmic support. Occasionally we experienced problems because the atmosphere felt fragmented; parts did not flow together. We tried to continue so that by the 15th rehearsal we arrived at the form which we present for you in performance. In this work we still use several traditional conventions as well as exploring new possibilities. In the beginning section we present the feeling/atmosphere when the farmers leave their homes to work in the fields, sleep, work and finally rest while eating and playing the trompong beruk. Obstacles We had no overwhelming obstacles, however we did have several minor problems which can be discussed. 1) Rehearsal time: The time which was allotted for us to prepare our work was actually sufficient. But we had several conflicting engagements and responsibilities such as to our semester finals, and preparations for the Arts Festival, these distractions were enough impede


us in arranging rehearsal times. This is why we were not able to attend all of the Pekan Muda III activities. However, thankfully we were able to participate. 2) Among our supporters there was one who had a misfortune during a rehearsal, even though he was not seriously injured, it was enough to disrupt the rehearsal. 3) Other problems included those such as funding. Motivations Inspirations Besides the several obstacles above, we can still express relief because of: 1) The motivation and help from the head of ASTI Denpasar and the staff in both material and moral support. We also received help from the ASTI Denpasar student senate. 2) Our friends’ enthusiasm in the preparation of our work. 3) The Dewan Kesenian Jakarta believed in us even while our work is far from what we hoped it would be. We understand that this is the result only of our own shortcomings.


[p. 278.] SANGKEP I Nyoman Windha A. Background The sangkep is the activity of a group of people or organization which has a set of rules or regulations. Such an organization in Bali is known as the “banjar” or “seka.” The sangkep is a regular meeting which occurs each month among members of a banjar or seka, with the aim of discussing or scheduling social activities. This strong tradition is still practiced in Bali. We aim to express the sangkep tradition in a musical form. In our composition we illustrate a group of people in the mist of a discussion. There are materials of discussion, and problems with the gambelan which concern three situations. 1) The process of making gambelan (instruments and ensemble) in Bali, not only involves looking for and choosing instrumental materials, but also involves rituals aspects which social groups always discuss through sangkep. 2) The traditional system which is used in studying and playing gambelan is known as the Nuwutin system, where the teacher gives examples to students. This system has been developed into a modern (analytical system) where the students study tuning systems, and engage in oral discussions before actually playing the gambelan. 3) There are three core functions of gambelan. a. As dance accompaniment b. As ceremonial accompaniment. As we know Balinese social life includes much ceremony for which there is always some form of gambelan. c. As an organizing and unifying social force. In Bali nearly every banjar has a gambelan which is maintained by a special Banjar organization, the “seka gong.” d. Balinese gambelan is composed of several types of instruments of different forms; each instrument has a unique function in the ensemble. Because of this the gambelan reflects social life as each member of the banjar has his own role and function. All of the issues discussed above are what we have incorporated into our work. B. Composition process. The criteria provided by the committee (DKJ) to the participants requires a work which is new in nature, one that either moves beyond tradition, taking tradition as its starting point or one that eschews traditional forms completely. In composing sangkep we still used traditional karawitan conventions but added experimental ideas and techniques. This is because our point of departure and background is traditional Balinese gambelan and we are not yet capable of freeing ourselves completely of tradition. The first step we took in composing this work was to give an explanation to all 11 people involved in performance and composition. This was to facilitate the interpretation


among the players of the themes of our concept. After giving several explanations we experimented in rehearsal. In our work we explore the representation of speech in the form of music. C. Materials In developing an ensemble we chose materials which we thought would be useful to us. Bamboo is a material which can give the effect of the voice, which is rather close to our central concept, and we used it as a core source in this work. We attempted to use bamboo in new ways, among them: 1) Tingklik. An instrument which is formed of keys without resonators tuned to five tone pélog, an instrument which is rarely seen today. We have re-discovered/excavated the tingklik adding bamboo resonators and tuning it to seven tone pélog. The instrument now rather resembles the gong kebyar gangsa, but played with two hands. 2) Bumbung. A long length of bamboo, 1- 2 nodes, tuned to the tingklik tuning, struck against a soft or elastic base. 3) Krepyak. An instrument such as this already exists in our music, here we have added pitches to the instrument. 4) Slepite. This word comes from the Balinese slipit. A simple instrument made of bamboo chips or flakes. 5) Besides this we also used suling as are found in nearly every Balinese ensemble. 6) Besides bamboo we also used coconut husks, played by rubbing them against a hard surface. 7) Voice, tembang Bapak I Wayan Baratha and Bapak I Nyoman Rembang helped us in creating these instruments. In forming our composition we gave a certain amount of freedom to the players according to their instrument – while not allowing them to stray too far from the core ideas. From the arrangement of all the materials above we formed Sangkep, a kontemporer work. Our rehearsals were held at the ASTI campus in Denpasar, each lasting around two hours, 17 in total. Our recital was held on March 12th, 1983 and was connected to the Karawitan Bali concert at the Taman Budaya arts center in Denpasar. In this concert 9 different types of gambelan were included. D. Structure The structure of this work includes 5 stages/sections 1. The Mood/Atmosphere of Sangkep Before Sangkep begins the players play each instrument on stage as if they were children who knew nothing. From this emerges the idea to develop each instrument, playing technique, and their functions in Balinese social life. 1) The second section narrates the function of gambelan in Bali, which is explained with the tembang Cecantungan which is combined with the bumbung, suling, and tingklik 2) In the third stage we discuss the function of gambelan as dance accompaniment


which we illustrate through motion, dynamic music and humor, with the aim of being entertaining. 3) This section discusses the function of gambelan as ceremonial accompaniment, performed with an atmosphere of devotion. Here we include the vocal tembang Sekar Madia or Kidung. 4) This section expresses the socially unifying role of music and is primarily rhythmic. There we have a brief picture of Sangkep. Nevertheless, the situation/picture described above may undergo spontaneous change because of its contemporary nature. Performers This work was performed by 11 players: 1. I Nyoman Windha 2. I Wayan Rai S 3. I Wayan Suweca 4. Pande Gde Mustika 5. I Nyoman Sudiana 6. Gusti Lanang Oka Ardika 7. I Ketut Parta 8. I Nyoman Tantra 9. I Gusti Ngurah Sueka 10. I Made Suartika 11. I Ketut Sudana Obstacles: We did not have any overwhelming obstacles. However, there were several minor problems we ran into, among them: 1) Rehearsal time. The preparation time given by the [DKJ] committee was sufficient but we had many activities which conflicted with our rehearsals. 2) Problems of funding. Motivations Besides the above obstacles, we had much inspiration and help: 1) The aid of Dr. I Made Bandem (head of STSI) and the staff and student senate at ASTI Denpasar for both moral and material support. 2) The help of the Governor of Bali, the Walter Spies arts school and many others whom we cannot name individually here. 3) The trust and belief of the DKJ in forming this work which is still far from what we had imagined it would be. Any faults of this work are solely our responsibility.


[p. 325.] “KOSONG” I Ketut Gede Asnawa A. Background The essence of “kosong” in Balinese religious philosophy suggests a world or universe. Kosong also means zero, lonely, desolate, or quiet. And many other interpretations can be glossed from the term as well. The connection between kosong and this work is the nyepi ceremony which is performed every year according to the Balinese calendar, usually in March. This is part of the celebration of the new year in the Icaka (Icakawarsa) system. Nyepi consists of several levels of ceremony including; mekiis, tawur and ngerupuk, nyepi, ngembak geni, and simakrama. The several ceremonies have the following meanings: a. mekiis: represents a symbolization of the cleansing of the universe of impurities and negative forces. b. tawur and ngerupuk: Tawur means payment, this ceremony aims to stabilize the universe from negative forces. After the tawur ceremony is completed, the following afternoon the Ngerupuk ceremony is held, in which “mesui” is sprinkled while a torch is carried around the house or village. It is meant to drive out super-natural forces. c. nyepi: Nyepi means silence, desolation. Refraining from all activity, work, movement, entertainment, use of fire. All life begins from nothing, meant to represent a fresh start, a new page, clean of spiritual pollution in both the macro and microcosmos. d. ngembak geni: This is the re-activation of life in the new calendar. e. simakrama: Also called darmasanti, the priests and other religious figures apologize to each other for their shortcomings. Usually performed with the recitation of the Upanishads, in the effort of achieving good deeds in the future. The processes and ceremonies described above are the foundation of our work. B. Composition. One of the criteria given by the DKJ was to present a work in a new (experimental) style, which takes tradition as its starting point or which eschews tradition altogether. In Kosong we used karawitan conventions alongside experiments. This is because for all our lives we have been involved in performing traditional music, and find it difficult to free ourselves of its conventions. Because of this our present work is “traditionally experimental.” In realizing our work we began by explaining our concepts to the ten performers. This was necessary to provide the players with enough information to accurately interpret our


concepts in their playing and improvisation. After this we then experimented with ideas in rehearsal. Because our work incorporates a religious ceremonial theme, the details we provided on the ceremony itself was essential in facilitating its expression in music. C. Materials By materials we mean the instruments we used in our composition. In the effort of forming a unit/ensemble, we chose instruments with simple characteristics. We explored the feasibility of finding new sound effects from these simple instruments, sounds which could be both supporting and communicative. These instruments include: 1. Timbung: an instrument made of a wooden and bamboo key, with resonators, tuned to five-tone pélog. This instrument historically has only two tones, for this project we developed an 11 key instrument which functions in carrying the melody. 2. Bimbang: a bamboo instrument, a single resonator culm. We include here 11 tubes tuned to the timbung. Played by striking against the floor. 3. Cengceng: a bronze instrument, a small dome shaped cymbal. Conventionally played two together, however today we are exploring new technical developments – looking for new sound colors. 4. Guntang: This is a string instrument made of a single bamboo string. For this project we developed a two-string version of the instrument. 5. Kulkul: a bamboo sound block 6. Batu (Rocks): a new “instrument” which is hoped to provide new rhythmic textures. 7. Whisk Broom: a cleaning tool, which we use as a rhythmic instrument. 8. Besides this we also use rubber balloons, combs, and other objects played in a rhythmic fashion. 9. Voice. In forming our work, we gave a certain amount of freedom to the performers according to their instrument, while not allowing them to stray too far from our instructions. From all of the materials discussed above Kosong was formed to be a contemporary work. Our rehearsals took place in the ASTI Denpasar campus, each lasting around 2 hours. We had a total of 22 rehearsals. Our local performance occurred on March 25th 1984 at the Wantilan Taman Budaya (Art Centre). D. Compositional Structure Kosong is comprised of 8 sections: 1. The mood of the purity of night, when people are still sleeping. People rise as a sign of a new day. 2. The mood of morning, signaled with the sounds of birds, while people rise and go about their activities. 3. The atmosphere of business, the activities of preparing the ceremony. Each person having his or her own duty, then this continues into mekiis. 4. The mood of tawur is signaled with the sound of the kulkul and the quiet sounds of the gamelan and kidung. By the afternoon this continues into ngerupuk, where people make noise while carrying a torch and “sprinkling water.”


5. The mood of the day of nyepi which is extremely quiet. While the quiet sounds of nature and 12 strikes of the bell signal the beginning of the Icaka year. 6. The mood of ngembak geni: people happily welcome the new year with new activities and new feelings. 7. The mood of the simekrama, where the priests and other religious figures ask for forgiveness from one another and sing/speak kakawin (Sekar Agung), which provide religious and philosophical teachings. 8. Each priest speaks while discussing these teachings, finally leaving the stage There is a brief picture of our work. However the picture presented above may be changed because of the flexible nature of a contemporary work. Performers: 1. I Ketut Gede Asnawa 2. I Nyoman Windha 3. I Gusti Ngurah Suweka 4. Pande Gede Mustika 5. I Gusti Lanan Ardika 6. I Nyoman Sudiana 7. Ida Bagus Nyoman Mas 8. I Gusti Agung Jaya Utama 9. I Wayan Beratha 10. I Gede Astawa


[p. 373.] WRESTI I Wayan Beratha, Ida Bagus Mas, Anak Agung Jaya Utama I. Introduction Wresti is a Sanskrit word meaning rain. We already know what rain is. However, because we want to include the concept in a compositional form, we must give several clarifications of its role as a theme in our music. Rain is a natural cyclic phenomenon, a change in the atmosphere. In a long dry season people crave rain, while people complain if there are floods. Rain is a force that shapes and controls human life. Through the concept of rain we interpret several melodies, rhythms, and dynamics. II. Composition Process After deciding upon rain as a main theme, we expanded our concept through a scrutiny of life experience in the village. Based on the above experience we finally included types of voice, rhythmic bamboo instruments, forms of kotekan, toys, and several types of traditional karawitan. Our technical ideas and our limited funds limited us to only six performers to be involved in this work. We coordinated ourselves according to each person’s abilities. We also arranged a very simple instrumentation, a unique feature of this work. We used several conventional instruments such as: rindik, bumbung gebyog, kendang krumpungan, Javanese bedug, and large gong. We also used unconventional instruments: plates, coconut husks, tin cans, plastic hose, plastic bags, a pen, and other instruments we felt were appropriate. From the beginning we understood that we have departed from traditional Balinese music. The experimental aesthetics which we included were taken to prevent a too traditional impression. However, we did use/transform some traditional principles although in the end we were not bound by traditional compositional approaches. Our experiment is principally a new form, melodically, rhythmically, and structurally. III. Compositional Form First, the introduction paints a stiflingly hot atmosphere. A dialogue between players each defending themselves. A flash of lighting followed by thunder. Rain does not yet fall, and the air is still clear. Secondly, the clear atmosphere is intertwined with the rindik which plays an arrangement of a vocal melody with the bumbung. The bumbung patterns are based on kotekan interlocking figures, which are developed into several variations. These rhythmic forms are developed with the kendang, by playing the tuning thongs, playing the body of the kendang, as well as traditional playing techniques. The role of the instruments cannot by separated. They are rhythmically united and thus represent social life. Each person likewise has a unique social function. There are difficult accelerandos and deccelerandos which take great concentration on the part of the performers to perform successfully. It is hoped that the transition between variations and sections avoids the sense of monotony.


A feeling of nervousness colors the third section. Here we present slow rhythms of the bumbumg along with the sparse playing on the suling. A picture of wind and rain which may signal upcoming rain is painted. The dynamic rhythms of the kendang and coconut shells, and cans played in a jagul pattern paint the mood of nervousness. In the forth section, preceded by lightening and thunder, the rain finally falls. The tight mood is illustrated by striking the bedug and the gong on the body of the instrument. The sound of rain is painted by rubbing plastic bags together and clicking the pen. In the fifth section, we see that the rains do not cause flooding or destruction and village life continuous as normal. In this section vocal arrangements are used as a conclusion. The vocal arrangements are accompanied by the playing of the rindik, bumbung, batok kelapa, plastic, and pen. The above description is only meant as a brief introduction to our concept and we hope the listeners can more fully imagine the theme. We hope that we have connected the various sections of the work within in a plot that does not bore the listener. IV. Obstacles We almost did not experience obstacles in the composition of this work, other than the challenges to represent our thematic ideas within music. Although the number of players seemed as if it might be an obstacle, we found it an interesting challenge. But of course there were always difficulties in funding and time budgeting. V. Conclusion In closing we do not want to forget to extend our thanks to Bapak DR. Bandem, I Wayan Beratha, I Nyoman Astita MA, I Wayan Dibia MA, and I Nyoman Windha BA for their help and motivation. We also thank the committee of the PKM IV for extending to us this opportunity. We thank the audience for their attention. PERFORMERS 1. I Wayan Beratha 2. Ida Bagus Nyoman Mas 3. Anak Agung Jaya Utama 4. I Wayan Suharta 5. I Made Artana 6. I Ketut Widnyana


2 - Prakempa - Bandem’s Edition Chapter 1: Introduction A. Research background. The Prakempa is a lontar (palm leaf manuscript), thought to be rather ancient, concerning the mythology of Balinese gambelan ensembles. From an etymological perspective, the word “Prakempa” refers to the “unrest of the world,” “earthquake” or the prophecy of the disturbances of the earth (Panitia Penyusunan Kamus Bali Indonesia, 1978: 449). In the context of Balinese gambelan, Prakempa most likely refers to the core tatwa (philosophies or logics), susila (ethics), lango (aesthetics), and gagebug (techniques) associated with Balinese gambelan. The learning and teaching Balinese gambelan has traditionally been oral, a process of study from mouth to mouth and from generation to generation without using a notation system, or any writing system. The emergence of the Prakempa gives us a clear clue that earlier populations wrote manuscripts concerning Balinese gambelan, as well as on the four principles mentioned above. The background of Balinese gambelan that is implied in the Prakempa will fittingly expand the appreciation of the reader interested in gambelan. Prakempa was discovered by Bapak Almarhum I Gusti Putu Made Geria, a Balinese gambelan specialist who during his life worked as a professor of gambelan at the Akademi Seni Tari Indonesia (ASTI) in Denpasar, Bali. The discovery of the Prakempa represents efforts in the preservation of Balinese gambelan and the text represents an invaluable example of artistic literature. B. Synopsis of the Issues/Problems We’ve already explained that the Prakempa contains four principle aspects that we must discuss. These aspects again are: philosophy or logics, the basic philosophies concerning Balinese gambelan and the well-balanced life-style; ethics, those ritual and hierarchical aspects within gambelan; aesthetics, the structure and laws of melody and technique, orchestration and the playing techniques of Balinese gambelan. Within this research, these four principle aspects are our main concern. C. Scope of the research. The Prakempa is an example of a mystical manuscript of the highest quality, representing the essence of Balinese gambelan containing the four aspects mentioned above. The discussion within this research will be bound to these aspects. Even though there are other lontars which discuss Balinese gambelan, such as the lontars Aji Gurnita and the Gong Wesi, because of limited time and resources, we will deal only with the Prakempa. If the Aji Gurnita should be mentioned within this study, it will serve only as comparison without going further into its contents. Besides the lontars Aji Gurnita and Gong Wesi, the authors are aware that there are other versions of the Prakempa besides the one presented here, preserved within holy relics and collections of Balinese scholar/priests. Accordingly, we should come together to form a critical edition, this work representing the first.


D. Objective of the Research This study of the Prakempa has as its objective the elucidation of descriptive knowledge of the Prakempa itself. Going through the analysis section and continuing onto the manuscript itself, the authors hope to reach a single conclusion concerning the philosophy (or logics), ethics, aesthetics and playing techniques within Balinese gambelan. The fruits of this study, besides being a vehicle of knowledge of aspects of Balinese gambelan, will also provide a preparation study, a precedent or example for later works. E. Method of the Research In Dr. A. L. Becker’s article Text-Building Epistemology, and Aesthetics in Javanese Shadow Theatre, he suggests that textual analysis requires that the text be situated within a cultural matrix in order to elucidate conceptual context. Such a matrix is made up of: 1) The connections between words, phrases, sentences, and larger units within the text being analyzed. 2) The connections between the analyzed text and other texts. We add that this should also include the connections between the historical text being analyzed and contemporary texts. 3) The connections between the author and the text, listener, reader, observed from the perspective of both the author and receiver. 4) The connections between the text and elements of the text and events and structures outside of the text. (Becker, 1979: 8) #1-4) Professor. Becker’s method in analyzing the text of Javanese wayang kulit is useful as well in analyzing the Prakempa. Because of this, this study will employ Becker’s model in studying sections of the Prakempa, even though this theory is not yet as full or perfect as the authors would wish. Before we enter into a more detailed discourse, we should mention that the Prakempa is translated from Kawi to Indonesian and this translation is formed into verses which are numbered 1 to 84. This ordering will help our analysis of the text. Chapter 2 Form and Contents [of the Prakempa] A. The Prakempa as Literature The Prakempa as a work of poetic mysticism cannot be separated from other mystical books. As seen from the point of view of form, the Prakempa represents the prose used in Bahasa Jawa Kuna (Ancient Javanese, or Kawi) and is written in the Balinese script (aksara). Before we explain the Prakempa as a mystical book of high literary quality, it is perhaps important to explain other mystical books in order to provide a picture of the position of the Prakempa in reference to other such works. Balinese ancient mystical works which developed in the pre-Hindu era represent the mystical books of the traditional people of Bali whose knowledge was passed down from generation to generation. The editing and recitation of mystical books of these people, despite undergoing the change of time, continue to flourish among the Balinese. As for the classes of mystical books, these include: I Buta teken I Bongol, (The Blind and the Deaf) Pan Sugih teken Pan Tiwas, (The Rich Man and the Poor Man) and Men Bekung, Men Muntig, among others.


The strong connection between Bali and Java has its beginnings in the 8th century. As a result the mystical books of Bali were heavily influenced by those of Java. Pracasti Bebetin in the year 896 AD represents a great and important work of mystical literature which mentions several types of art such as gambelan, dance and singing. The Pracasti Bebetin was penned under the name of the raja Ugrasena of Bali (Goris, 1952: 55). At the end of the 10th century a king named Dharma Udayana emerged who had taken an East Javanese wife who was descended from the king Mpu Sendok, also known as Mahendradatta. From this union was born a prince named Airlangga who was eventually enthroned as the king of East Java, succeeding Sri Dharmawangsa who held reign from 991-1007 A.D. According to the explanation of Professor P.J. Zoetmulder in her book Kalangwan, during the reign of Sri Dharmawangsa the court poets translated/recomposed the Mahabharata epic (wiraceritera) from Sanskrit into Ancient Javanese (Jawa Kuna). This transformed poetic work was well known at the time under the name Astadasaparwa (Zoetmulder, 1983:111). The raja Airlangga was a great patron of the arts and during his kingdom emerged the Mahabharata epic entitled Kakawin Arjuna Wiwaha; this poetic work was composed by Mpu Kanwa (Simpen, 1982: 30). When Airlangga assumed the throne, besides the Kekawin Arjuna Wiwaha, the kakawin Bhoma-kawya was also composed by Mpu Bharadah. After the kingdom of Mataram in east Java was divided into two, that is the kingdoms and Jenggala and Kediri, another recomposition of the Mahabharata entitled Kakawin Kresnaya was created. This kakawin was composed by Mpu Triguna and within it is mentioned the King Sri Jayawarsa Digjaya Castraprabhu who reigned the kingdom of Kediri in 1104. Subsequently, King Mapanji Jayabhaya ruled Kediri at the end of the 12-century and at this time the Kakawin Bharatayudha was composed by Mpu Sedah and Mpu Panuluh. Subsequently, from the 10th to 12th centuries, the Mahabharata stories were continuously being transformed and developed in Bali, forging a connection between Java and Bali at that time. The migration of Javanese Majapahit to Bali before the 16th century increased again the connection between Java and Bali in the realm of the arts, especially the poetic and the performing arts. The arts of Bali were heavily influenced by those of Java and Javanese elements are evident from the system of gambelan tuning (laras), the composition of melodies, the use of costumes in dance, the form of dance, and the function of arts in Bali as a sacred art. Between the 16th and 19th centuries, that is during the reign in Bali of Kings such as Dalem Waturenggong (1460-1550), Dalem Bekung (1550-1580), Dalem Sagening (1580-1665), Dalem Dimade (1665-1686) and so on. This was a golden age of the Balinese arts in which many types of dance were developed, including: Gambuh, Topeng, Wayang Wong, Parwa (Wayang), Arja, Legong Keraton, and other classic forms. A priest named Dang Hyang Nirarta, a scribe from Majapahit During, arrived during the reign of Dalem Waturenggong (1460-1550) in Gelgel. Nirarta introduced an elaborate architectural style of temple and palace which Bali has inherited into the present day. Besides architectural expertise, Nirarta was also a gifted writer and he left behind a tradition in the form of lontar such as the Wukir Padelengan, Rareng Canggu, AntingAnting Timah, Ampik, Jagul Tua, Usana Bali, Usana Jawa, Sebun Bangkung and others (Ditjen Pariwisata, 1973: 108). During this time Balinese poetic works contained information about philosophy, astronomy, ethics and other topics, developing in a form of literature known as Ithihasa.


Ithihasa is literature composed in different types of tembang (sung poetry). It has already been explained that since the era of King Dharmawangsa until the era of Majapahit in East Java there had already developed a form of kakawin (based on the Mahabharata and Ramayana) as well as kidung Malat, while during the reign of the Balinese kings kakawin and kidung production was increased by the court poets/scribes, beginning a transformation where kakawin and kidung became sekar macapat, a transformation where the mystical writings in Kawi became Balinese mystical writings in the form of tembang. Kakawin and kidung were composed as gaguritan or paparikan. At this time the Paprikan Adipawra, Bharatayudha, Narasoma, Bomataka were based on the Mahabharata. Nearly all of the lontar mentioned above are still preserved in Bali, deposited in the sacred artifacts of the people, also in the largest collection of ancient lontar in Bali, the Gedong Kirtya in Singaraja. According to the catalogue published by the Gedong Kirtya which was classified by Nyoman Kajeng, lontar are divided thusly: . A. B. C. D. E. F. G. Weda (Weda, Mantra and Klapasastra) (Vedic – Holy Indian Scriptures) Agama (Palakerta, Sasana, and Niti) Wariga (Wariga, Tutur, Kanda, and Usada) Ithihasa (Pawra, Kakawin, Kidung, and Gaguritan) Babad (Pamancanggah, Usana, and Uwug) Tantri (Tantri and Satua) Lelampahan (forming the tales of Gambuh, Arja, Wayang, and other theatre forms).

The last group was added by I Made Suwija, a curator who currently works at the Gedong Kirtya (Agastia, 1985: 4). As indicated in the classification above, Prakempa are placed within the category Wariga and by Dr. Th. Pigeaud in Literature of Java the Prakempa is listed with the number code: [it is unclear if this refers to some specific lontar or a class of lontar] K 869 M35 57 Lor -(Pigeaud, 1968:936)

As a work of mystical literature of the highest quality, the Prakempa is placed in the category Wariga because of the title’s reference to earthquakes, the churning, flaring up of the world, and this disturbance has a corresponding sound and pitch that is produced by Balinese gambelan. Besides this the Prakempa also contains tutur (expressions, proverbs) and in an explicit way it is said the Prakempa reveals tutur (advice) from Bhagawan Gottama to the young. These phrases are included in the epilogue of the Prakempa. Indeed who is this Bhagawan Gottama? This represents a question that has yet to be answered until today. This name can simply represent a nom de plume or actually the author of the Prakempa. Within the Ramayana it is mentioned that Bhagawan Gottama is a scribe from the Grastina hermitage. Gottama had a fairy wife from heaven named Dewi Indradi. From this marriage was born a princess and two princes named Dewi Anjani, Bali, and Sugriwa. The third figure becomes the famous figure in the Ramayana and is well known by the Balinese people. (Depdikbud, 1981:183).


In the Kitab Jataka it is mentioned that Gottama, whose full name is Sidharta Gautama, is the king Kapilawastu who becomes the Buddha and teaches the people that the freedom of the soul is achieved by following the good and middle path (the good and saintly road) and loving your fellow man (Depdikbud, 1981: 125). It would be foolish to suppose that the author of the Prakempa is the priest Gottama from the Ramayana or in fact Sidharta Gautama. The researchers do not believe that it is possible that the Prakempa is a mystical work of the Ramayana nor that it represents Buddhist teachings. But, if this is so, then the question emerges: Is it possible that the author of the Prakempa is a Buddhist brahmana (Shiwaite Buddhist)? All of these facts are not yet clear, the researchers suppose that this name only represents the pen-name of a gambelan teacher that was highly important or gifted. As explained above, the Prakempa is a mystical work of prose that is nearly 84 verses, in Ancient Javanese (Kawi) and written in the Balinese script. To give a more interesting visualization of the Prakempa, the text here is accompanied by mystical symbols. The Kawi which is used in the Prakempa is apparently equivalent with the Kawi which is used in the babad (chronicle) lontars and the oldest extant babad, the babad Dalem, which is thought to have emerged in the middle of the 18th century. Even so, the Prakempa is more recent than the babad mentioned above. In the effort to digest the contents of the Prakempa it may be necessary to discuss another lontar concerning Balinese gambelan, that is the lontar Aji Gurnita. At this time the authors have already obtained three copies of the Aji Gurnita, two from Gedong Kirtya at Singaraja and one from the palace Kabakaba in Tabanan. This lontar discusses in detail the gambelan Melaprana (Gambuh) as a source or ancestor of many other types of Balinese gambelan. The Prakempa and the Aji Gurnita show similarities in form and both include a chapter entitled “Catur Muni Muni” or the Four Musical Treatises. These four musics include gambelan Gambuh, Pelegongan, Pajogedan and Bebarongan. The chapter “Catur Muni-Muni” found in the Aji Gurnita includes an explanation that is rather longer than that found in the Prakempa, the reason for this being that the last section is used to explain the philosophies of the gambelan Melaprana (Gambuh) which is divided to form the four musics mentioned above. The epilogue that is found in the “Catur Muni Muni” chapter of the Aji Gurnita cannot be found in the Prakempa. There are some basic similarities between the two lontars mentioned. An interpretation of these similarities could be formed if we knew the respective age of each lontar. If it is seen from the contents of the lontars, the Prakempa provides a more complete picture concerning Balinese gambelan (including playing techniques and the rules of melody), while the Aji Gurnita does not discuss these issues. Seeing the depth at which the aspects are discussed in the Prakempa, it is possible that this lontar would be useful for the developing the knowledge of Balinese gambelan for the following generations. B. The Four Core Principles As a hypothesis that the authors propose, the Prakempa includes four core principles, that is: philosophy or logics, ethics, aesthetics, and playing techniques in Balinese gambelan. To be clear, the authors discuss each as follows. 1. Philosophy or Logics


The language concerning philosophy or logics in the Prakempa begins with an apology from the author for his boldness to write the Prakempa. This apology is aimed toward the Tuhan Yang Maha Esa (God Almighty), expressed through the symbol “Om” representing an abbreviation of the word “AUM” a manifestation of the three deities, Brahma, Visnu (Wisnu), and Shiva (Ciwa). The three deities also known as the Tri Murti are manifestations of Tuhan Yang Maha Esa in the form of the creator (Brahma), the protector (Wisnu) and the destroyer (Ciwa) (verses : 1-4). The explanation of the philosophy or logics in Balinese gambelan begins with the creation of the sound, voice, pitch and rhythm by the three deities where the pitches are represented with characters from the Aksara Bali script such as bisah (2), taleng (3), and cecek (6). The gambelan as a musical instrument or as music cannot be separated from the Balinese concept of the well-balanced life, including the concept of the well-balanced relationship to God, nature, and fellow man. The three concepts of the well-balanced life mentioned above are known as the Tri Hita Karana. For the Balinese, wherever he is or whatever he is doing, the concept of the wellbalanced life functions as his basic mode of conduct. According to the philosophies or logics expounded in the Prakempa, the concept of the well-balanced life is expressed in several dimensions, these are: 1. The well balanced life in the individual’s case (or in the first, single dimension). That is the well balanced life based upon the philosophy of mokshartham jagadditaya ca iti dharma. 2. The well-balanced life in two dimensions, such as: the belief of dual strengths such as good and evil, noon and midnight (afternoon, night), man and woman, north and south, heaven and hell, etc. 3. The well-balanced life in three dimensions, such as: the belief in the existence of the principles of threes in life such as the tri murti: Brahma, Wisnu, and Ciwa; tri loka: bhur loka (the world below), bhuvah loka (the middle world) svah loka (the world above); tri aksarq: ang, ong and mang; tri sakti; saraswati, laksmi and uma; tri guna: satvam (the good character), rajas (the greedy character), and tamas (the lazy character) etc.. 4. The well-balanced life in four dimensions, such as: belief in the strengths of fourness in life such as: catur lokapala: Indra, Yama, Kwera and Baruna; catur asrama dharma: brahmacari, grahasta, wanaprasta and bhiksuka; catur purusa artha: dharma, artha, kama and moksha etc.. 5. The well-balanced life in five dimensions, such as: the belief in the strengths of five-ness such as: panca mahabhuta: earth, (apah), winds, evening-glow and (akasa): panca cradha: God, soul, karmapala, reincarnation and moksha; panca yadnya: dewi yadnya, pitra yadna, manusia yadnya, rsi yadnya, and buta yadnya etc. 6. The well-balanced life in six dimensions, such as: sad ripu, the six poor behaviors: kama (lust), kroda (anger), moda (sinful, criminal), loba (greedy), himsa (torture) and matsarya (jealousy); sad rasa (six flavors): spicy, acidic/sour, sweet, salty, bitter etc. 7. The well-balanced life in seven dimensions, such as: redite (Sunday), soma (Monday), anggara (Tuesday), buda (Wednesday), wraspati (Thursday), sukra (Friday) and saniscara (Saturday); sapta loka (world): bhur, bvah, svah, traya, jana, maha, satya, and loka.


8. The well-balanced life in eight dimensions, such as: astaiswarya: anima (refined), loghima (great lightness, ease), prakamya (all that is wished comes true), mahima (to be all, enclose all), prapti (all places are reachable), icitwa (the principle in all things), wacitwa (the most mighty), and yatrakamawasayitwa (there is nothing that can defy God’s will). 9. The well-balanced life in nine dimensions, such as: dewata nawa sanga: Icwara, Brahma, Mahadewa, Wisnu, Mahesora, Rudra, Sangkara, Cambhu and Ciwa. 10. The well-balanced life in ten dimensions, such as: dasa aksara (the alphabet/vowels): sa, ba, ta, a, i, na, ma, ci, wa, ya. All of these dimensions (conceptions) of the well-balanced life above form the basic philosophy of the Prakempa and these conceptions will emerge one by one in the Prakempa. These dimensions above are all interconnected and suggest that there are two vital forces, good and evil. According to the philosophy of the Prakempa, sound has a strong connection with the five dimensions, known as the Panca Mahabhuta. Sound with color each spread to all the protectors of the earth and finally form a ring known as the Pengider Bhvana. The creator of the sound is called Bhagawan Wiswakarma, taking the concept from the 8 rulers of the world who come from (beneath) the ground/earth. These sounds are in the form of 10 pitches. That is, the five pitches of laras pélog and the five pitches of the laras slendro. These notes have a connection with the Panca Tirta and Panca Geni, the two sources of the well-balanced life. Specifically, pélog is connected to the Panca Tirta and slendro to the Panca Geni. Panca Tirta represents a manifestation of Bhatari Ratih. From the ten notes which forms the soul from Smara and Ratih as Dewa Percintaan (God of Love) giving forth the seven notes as follows: ding, dong, deng, ndung, dung, dang, nding. The seven notes above represent the source of sound in the Balinese gambelan and according to the Prakempa this sound scale is called genta pinara pitu. Besides the creation of the 5 tone pélog and slendro scales and the 7 tone pélog (Genta pinara pitu), the Prakempa also mentions 3 pitches that are connected to the Tri Aksara (Ang, Omg, Mang) and four tone slendro that is connected to the Catur Lokapala (Indra, Yama, Kwera and Baruna) which follow the abodes of the gods, and are connected to physical human life. To clarify this the researchers provide the figure, an outline of Pengider Bhvana as a schematic of the Prakempa: 2. Ethics or morals As a work of literature, the Prakempa represents a source of ethics and serves as a subject of ethical study for the Balinese. Ethics are traditions, morals or mores of social life. The discussion of the balanced life in respect to the various dimensions discussed above provides us an indication that the Prakempa is concerned with the issue of ethics, especially concerning the relationship of people with good and evil Besides this the Prakempa as a lontar concerning Balinese gambelan mentions several types of Balinese gambelan, following with the explanation of their roles and aspects and the rituals which are connected to every ensemble. The differing roles and forms of these gambelan gives an indication that there are specific ethics/ethical teachings contained within each Balinese gambelan. According to the “Four Musical Treatises” which are expressed in the Prakempa, Balinese gambelan are grouped in several classes and each ensemble has a specific and unique instrumentation, orchestration, playing technique, and function. There are


classifications of Balinese gambelan which are discussed in the Prakempa, these being: gambelan Smar pagulingan (Barong Singa), Smar Patangian, Smar Palinggihan (Joged Pingitan), Smar Pandirian (Barong Ket), Melad Prana (Gambuh), Angklung, Bebongan, Gambang, Genggong, Slunding and a sacred ensemble which is made of metal which has not yet been identified (verse: 41,51,55,65,67 and 80). Nearly all of these ensembles still exist in Bali today. According to the Prakempa each of the ensembles mentioned above have functions which differ according to place, time, and context. Slunding is used for accompanying (devotional) prayer by the priests while meditating in the forest. Gambelan Melaprana (Gambuh) is used to accompany the Gambuh ritual dance, meant to give a feeling of transcendence to kings in their palaces. Gambelan Smar pagulingan is used to accompany the welcoming, offering dances in the palace. Bebonangan is also known as gambelan Ktug Bumi, used for accompanying the Bhuta Yadnya ceremony (cleansing, purifying ceremony). Other ensembles are used to accompany weddings, cremations, worship, the suka duka ceremony, and palace ceremonies and celebrations (verses: 38,59,67, and 82). Noting the difference between the functions of the various ensembles above gives an indication to us that these gambelan have a certain historical stratification and to cross this stratification or to abuse it could form a violation of ethics (or etiquette) and that this would be counter to the well-balanced life. The issue of ethics in gambelan, apart from the perspective of function, can also be viewed from the perspective of ritual. In the Prakempa, each gambelan ensemble is played on the ceremony day of Tumpek Krulut, or the Sabtu Keliwon; Wuku Kerulut is a day which recurs every 210 days. Tumpek is regarded as a holy day by the Balinese. The Balinese greatly value time and give special attention to times of transition, such as ngedaslemah (dawn), jeg-ai (midday), sandyakala (dusk), tengah lemeng (midnight) and other types of moments. The day of Hari Tumpek is a day full of transitions, that is, the transition or coincidence between different calendar systems. Those born on Tumpek Wayang must be cleansed through a special ceremony. With this ceremony these people must be safeguarded from the influences of this holy but dangerous day. When there is a ceremony for a gambelan in the day of Tumpek Kerulut, the Prakempa gives indications concerning the sacrifices and mantera which must be employed. (verses :52, 54, 60 and 74). Concerning other moral aspects which are discussed in the Prakempa are those called “kutukan” (curses). The gambelan teacher is obliged to memorize the basic philosophy from the Prakempa, following the moral prescriptions which are implied or hidden within. Those who don’t follow these prescriptions will fall subject to a curse; their soul will not find heaven but will become the slime in the pits of hell. They cannot justify their being reincarnated again into a human; they instead become a creeping animal, such as an ant, which is always held in contempt by humans. To give a more broad and detailed picture concerning the ethics in the Prakempa, it would be appropriate for the researchers to sketch the types of forms and functions of Balinese gambelan in the following chart. The form of gambelan such as Nekara, Beri, Tingklik, Jegog, Bumbung and Kebyar are not mentioned in an explicit way in the Prakempa and the names of these ensembles represent an addition by the current authors in order to show the development until the modern day.


3. Aesthetics The discussion concerning aesthetics in the Prakempa focuses primarily on musical scales and forms. According to the Prakempa, Balinese gambelan includes four types of music scale/laras: 5 note pélog, seven tone pélog, 5 tone slendro, and four tone slendro. Each of these scales are derived from the gambelan genta pinara pitu. Besides discussing the tuning scales found in Balinese gambelan, the Prakempa includes a section on scales used for the voice which are used for mantra, sruti, agosa, anugosa, undantya, anudantya, andana sika, and bhuh loka. These eight vocal types (scales) are used in tembang (sung poetry) such as tembang Gede: Weda, Sruti, Mantra, Wirama and tembang Tengahan: Kidung or Malat. Laras. Whereas scales that are found in tembang Macapat: Dhurma, Sinom, Adri, Ginada and others are not discussed. Further, this document mentions three types of patet (mode) in pélog ensembles: patet demung, selisir, and sundari. While slendro ensembles also have patet classes: patet pudak sategal, sekar kemoning and Asep Cina. In the Panji story titled Wangbang Wideya, patet Asep Cina is referred to as Asep Menyan as a patet from gender wayang Bali (Robson, 1971:35). Today there are several patet found in the gambelan smar pagulingan (genta pinara pitu) having the following form: (see figure in source text) Before continuing to the discussion of tabuh (form) as a principle in the discussion of gambelan aesthetics, the Prakempa briefly explains the types of melodies (works) that are found in gambelan gong (gong gede). Actually, these melodies are meant to include the melodies: Smarandana, Wiranata, and Galangkangin. Excluding Wiranata, the other two melodies are still popular among gong gede musicians. Besides speaking about these melodies, the Prakempa also discusses the symbolic meaning of the gambelan instruments, gong (as an abode of the Gods), kempul (as a concentration of all that is pure) and kajar (as the tempo or the leader of the musicians) (verse: 32). Taken literally, the word “tabuh” means word/accent (logat), or an arrangement of behavior and realization (characteristic). Tabuh also suggests melody, composition, (sung) song or strophe (pupuh) (verse:35). Today, tabuh is generally interpreted by the Balinese as orchestration and structure or the composition or form of a melody. In the Prakempa the discussion concerning composition (structure) of melody is referred to as angsel or pepada. Further, the angsel or pepada which are found within gambelan gong gede include: Angsel Pisan, Angsel Telu, Angsel Pat, Angsel Nem, and Angsel Kutus. Today in Bali the term angsel as form (or composition) is rarely used or known, and angsel is most often used as a term in a composition. Because of this, we will use the term tabuh when referring to melodic composition. The meaning of tabuh as melodic composition was discussed by Nyoman Rembang is his book titled “Hasil Pendokumentasian Notasi Gending-gending Lelambatan Klasik Pegongan Daerah Bali” in which he not only writes about the laws and rules of melody (composition) but also provides around 45 transcriptions of Balinese gong gede works. To clarify the meaning of aesthetics in the Prakempa, especially concerning the issue of melodic structure, the authors have provided a graph from Rembang’s work. (see graph in source text) 4. Technique The final aspect which becomes a focus of the Prakempa is the playing technique of Balinese gambelan. Technique represents an important principle in Balinese gambelan.


Technique not only refers to the proper striking and damping of gambelan keys; there is also a connotation which is deeper. Technique (gagebug), has a strong connection with orchestration and according to the Prakempa nearly every instrument has a unique playing technique which depends on the physical characteristics of the specific instrument. The physical characteristics of the gambelan instruments give aesthetic pleasure to each gambelan lover and devotee. In the Prakempa is found a long passage which demonstrates the types of techniques employed in the gambelan gong (gede), gender wayang (verse: 40), angklung, and genggong. Besides technique as meaning the proper striking, this section also discusses several types of tatotekan (“interlocking figuration”) as a unique feature of Balinese gambelan. There are ten types of tatotekan which are discussed in the Prakempa and this section is very interesting and important to the authors as it represents an effort to standardize the playing techniques of Balinese gambelan. The late I Gusti Putu Made Geria has already discussed in length the playing techniques of Smar Pegulingan and Pelegongan in works which are now archived at ASTI Denpasar. The late Bapak I Gusti Putu Made Geria for all his life resembled the Gottama, a hard working and determined scholar who left several hundred gambuh, gong gede, legong kraton and angklung works to us which are now archived, preserved in several personal sacred collections of students and young people in their own notes. These writings do not only represent melodic examples but also playing techniques, tatotekan systems, all of which will be very useful to the next generation.

Pengider Bhuwana, p. 10, Prakempa.


Glossary of Frequently Used Terms angklung, gamelan. Four (rarely, five) tone slendro gamelan often used in ritual contexts. angsel. A sudden dance move or rhythmic accent often cued by standardized drumming patterns. banjar. A traditional Balinese neighborhood association (meeting house) where community gamelan are stored and music rehearsals are held. bapang. An 8 or 16 beat cycle typically outlined by the gong structure (G).P.t.P calung. A single-octave mid-register gender that typically plays the pokok melody. Same as jublag. cedugan. Balinese drumming style incorporating the use of a mallet in the right hand. ceng-ceng. Hand cymbals. calonarang. A traditional Balinese story of black-magic and witchcraft, good and evil, in which the malevolent Rangda figure confronts the benevolent Barong. colotomic (form). A punctuated cyclic form outlined by various gongs. Cudamani. A sanggar in Pengosekan, Bali, lead by I Dewa Beratha and I Dewa Ketut Alit. dag. (D). Open right-hand stroke on the kendang wadon in cedugan style. ding, dong, deng, deung, dung, dang, daing. Balinese solfege syllables for the full seven-tone pélog tuning system. dug. (T). Open right-hand stroke on the kendang lanang in cedugan style. empat. Balinese term for interval distance between four keys on a five-tone gamelan. Roughly a fourth or fifth. Same as Javanese kempyung. gambang, gamelan. Sacred seven-tone gamelan which served as a source for interlocking and melodic patterns in kebyar and pelegongan forms. gambuh, gamelan. Ancient court ensemble including large suling flutes and rebab. A source for semar pegulingan melodies and drumming forms. gamelan. Large traditional Javanese and Balinese musical ensembles, largely comprised of bronze percussion instruments but also including flutes, fiddles, and voices. gangsa. A two-octave gender instrument employed for performing elaborating parts in many types of Balinese gamelan ensembles. gender wayang, gamelan. An ancient Balinese gamelan consisting of two to four twooctave gender tuned to the slendro tuning system. Used to accompany the wayang dramatic form. genderan. Texture in kebyar, pelegongan, and some other Balinese ensembles which highlights the gangsa instruments, excluding the reyong, kendang, and ceng-ceng. Often incorporating quotes or transformations of gender wayang styles and repertoire. gending. Term for musical composition. Primarily used in Javanese contexts. gilak. A short gong cycle associated with beleganjur and martial musics: (G). . . GP.P gineman. An un-metered tutti introduction in several types of Balinese gamelan repertoire. In kebyar contexts often referred to as kebyar. gong (G). Largest of the hanging gongs in gamelan ensembles. gong gede, gamelan. Large bronze Balinese ensemble used for court, state, and temple ceremonies. Tuned to five-tone pélog tuning.


gongan. A full cycle outlined by the stroke of the gong. gupekan. Balinese hand-drumming. jegogan. Lowest single-octave gender instrument in large Balinese gamelan ensembles. kabupaten. Indonesian regency district. Headed by a bupati. kantil(an). Highest range two-octave gangsa instrument. ka(p). Left-hand slap-stroke on kendang wadon. kawitan. Head, or beginning to a gending. kebyar. To burst open. (1) Gamelan gong kebyar. (2) kebyar music style. kempli (M). Mounted small gong used to mark beat or palet divisions. kempur (P). (kempul) Hanging medium-sized gong. kempyung. Term for a four-key interval on five-tone instruments. Often equivalent to a fifth or fourth. Primarily used in reference to Javanese music. Same as Balinese empat. kendang. Barrel-drums employed in gamelan ensembles. kendang tunggal. Improvised solo drumming. keroncong. Hybrid Indonesian music employing a small ensemble of Western string instruments and singer. Both Western harmonic progressions and Indonesian melodies and rhythms are employed. Mostly performed in Java and the Moluccus. klasik. Classic. klentong (t), (+). Small vertical gong often used to mark mid-points in Balinese gamelan repertoires. Same as kemong. kotekan. Melodic interlocking patterns in Balinese music. kreasi baru. New creations. kreasi lelambatan. Classical lelambatan composition arranged in kebyar style. lanang. Male. Refers to the higher of paired kendang or gong. lelambatan. (lit. Slow compositions). Repertoire of the gamelan gong gede often employing long, standardized forms and drumming. LISTIBYA. Majelis Pertimbangan dan Pembinaan Kebudayaan, The Balinese Arts Evaluation and Cultivation Board) lontar. Palm (borassus) leaves used for traditional Balinese inscription. luang, gamelan. A sacred seven-tone pélog gamelan. Majapahit. 12-15th century East Javanese kingdom. neliti. (Correct.) A Balinese term sometimes used to describe two-octave melodies. ngubeng. A Balinese term sometimes used to describe static melodic textures. ngucab. A dynamic swell. norot. Kotekan form involving linear melodic forms, with both the polos and sangsih playing interlocking eighth-notes. nyog cag. Kotekan form in which the polos plays eighth-notes on the beat, coinciding with the pokok tone, as the sangsih performs up-beat upperneighbor tones. ombak. (Wave.) (1) Acoustic beating, destructive interference produced by Balinese paired tuning. (2) Dynamic fluctuation. (3) Tempo fluctuation. order baru. Suharto’s order, policies, goals, and administration. panggul. Mallet. (tabuh). payasan. Balinese term for musical elaboration referring to kotekan forms or unfixed neliti elaboration on rebab, trompong, and suling. pelegongan, gamelan. Pre-cursor of gamelan gong kebyar originating in court and village contexts. Used to accompany legong, calonarang, and other genres. pelestarian. Preservation.


pélog. Javanese term also used in Bali for the common Indonesian traditional seven-tone tuning system of unequal intervals as well as for various five-tone subsets such as pélog bem, barang (in Java) and pélog selisir, tembung (in Bali). pemade. Two-octave mid-range gangsa instrument in large Balinese gamelan ensembles. pengembangan. Development. penggalian. Excavation, revitalization. pengawak. (from awak, body). Used to refer to large and often slower middle sections in certain Balinese repertoires. pengecet. A faster and often short section which typically follow pengawak sections in certain Balinese repertoires. pengisep. Higher of the pair in Balinese paired tuning. pengumbang. Lower of the pair in Balinese paired tuning. penyacah. Single-octave gender, one-octave above the calung. Often performs singleoctave version of ugal melodies. PKB. Pesta Kesenian Bali. Bali Arts Festival. Annual festival held in Denpasar. PKJT. Pusat Kesenian Jawa Tengah. The Central Javanese Arts Center. PKM. Pekan Komponis Muda. Young Composers’ Week. A series of music festivals held in Jakarta yearly between 1979-1988 and sporadically afterward. pokok. (Basic, core thing.) Single-octave core melody often performed at quarter-note rate on calung. Typically an abstraction of the ugal melody. polos. (Simple.) One of a pair of interlocking parts in kotekan patterns. The polos is typically more on-the-beat and more closely aligned with the pokok melody than is the sangsih. rebab. Two-string spike lute used in Javanese and Balinese ensembles. reformasi. The era of political change inaugurated after Suharto’s fall in 1998. reyong. Large set of small horizontal pot gongs, typically played by four musicians. reyongan. Reyong texture. RRI. Radio Republik Indonesia. saih pitu. Seven-tone pélog. saih lima. Five-tone derivative of pélog. sandhya gita. Modern Balinese mixed-sex vocal arrangements with gamelan. sanggar. An Indonesian term referring to an arts organization. sangsih. (doubt, different, complementary.) One of two interlocking parts in kotekan patterns. Often adding harmonic tones (often empat), and filling in the rhythmic gaps left by the polos. More often above the polos and off-beat. sekaha. Gamelan club. semara dana, gamelan. A seven-tone gamelan invented by I Wayan Beratha in 1986. Essentially a combination of the gamelan gong kebyar and gamelan semar pegulingan saih pitu. slonding, gamelan. Sacred seven-tone gamelan with iron keys. semar pegulingan, gamelan. Seven or five-tone pélog ensemble which performs arrangements of gambuh repertoire. slendro. Javanese and Balinese term for common Indonesian five-tone tuning system with roughly equidistant intervals. SMKI (KOKAR, SMKNI3). Indonesian High-School of the Arts. STSI (ASTI, ISI). Indonesian Academy of the Arts. suling. Indonesian end-blown bamboo flute. tabuh. Composition or gending.


tan wadag. Javanese: Non-representational. tari lepas. Set dances in the kebyar style. topeng. Mask and mask dances. triwangsa. High caste levels. trompong. Set of small vertical pot gongs played by one to three musicians. tut (T). High pitched right-hand stroke on the kendang lanang. ubit empat. Four note kotekan pattern. ubit telu. Three note kotekan pattern. ubit-ubitan. Kotekan forms in which polos and sangsih coincide (either on the same pitch or harmonically) at regular intervals. ugal. Large two-octave mid-range lead gender in large Balinese ensembles. ujian. Recital, test. wadon. (Female.) Lower of a pair of kendang or gong. wayang. Javanese and Balinese shadow puppet theater.


CD Contents and Notes CDI 1) Sutasoma Excerpt. Live recording by the author. Bali Arts Festival 2003. 2) Informants Singing Excerpts from Taruna Jaya. Live recording by the author, Bali, 2003. 3) Dewa Ketut Alit’s Pengastung Kara. Live recording by Wayne Vitale, 2000. 4) Dewa Made Suparta’s Leyak Mata. Live recording by the author, Bali, 2004. 5) I Wayan Gede Arsana’s Moha. Live recording by the author, Bali, 2001. 6) I Ketut Gede Asnawa’s Kosong. Live recording by Michael Tenzer, STSI, 1985. 7) I Wayan Sadra’s Beringin Kurung. Studio recording by STSI Solo, 2000. 8) I Nyoman Windha’s Lekesan. Live recording by the author, Bali, 2001. CDII 1) Karya Gede Example. Live recording by the author, Bali, 2002. 2) Ida Bagus Made Widyana’s Trimbat. Live recording by the author, Bali, 2004. 3) Sang Nyoman Arsawijaya’s Ambisi. Live recording by the author, Bali, 2004. 4) Desak Made Suarti Laksmi’s Tembang Gending. Studio recording by Nyoman Catra. Wesleyan University, 2002. 5) I Made Subandi’s Improvisations for Gender Wayang. Live recording by the author, Bali, 2004. 6) I Made Subandi’s Improvisations for Gender Wayang Version II. Live recording by the author, Bali, 2004. 7) Pande Made Sukerta’s Asanawali. Lokananta recording, Solo, 1986. 8) I Wayan Yudane’s Lebur Seketi. Bali Stereo recording, Bali, 1993.


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A AMI, Akademi Musik Indonesia120, 156, 157, 166 Arsana, I Gede ..................55, 96, 134, 141, 253 Asian Composers’ League............................ 111 Asnawa, I Ketut Gede51, 56, 77, 78, 79, 83, 93, 94, 97, 98, 100, 115, 119, 121, 144, 145, 146, 180, 194, 259, 260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 349, 359, 362, 364, 365, 366, 368 Astita, I Komang44, 54, 77, 82, 115, 121, 129, 144, 145, 180, 263, 349, 358, 364, 365, 366, 368, 370, 374, 377 autonomi daerah............................................. 44 avant-garde....... 4, 8, 38, 82, 150, 169, 170, 171 B Bali Post .......................................... 67, 138, 193 Baliseering ............................15, 16, 17, 20, 154 Bandem, I Madexiv, 36, 59, 60, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 119, 125, 127, 128, 146, 147, 160, 259, 264, 357, 368, 395, 401 Bateson, Gregory ...................................... 19, 21 Becker, Judith ...........................22, 75, 173, 402 Beratha, I Wayan53, 56, 58, 77, 82, 83, 94, 95, 96, 97, 102, 112, 127, 128, 134, 158, 179, 180, 183, 263, 350, 359, 365, 366, 368, 369, 370, 374, 399 Body, Jack..................................................... 166 C Cage, John.....................................116, 150, 171 Calonarang ................................................... 193 Captain Beefheart ......................................... 299 Cater, I Nyoman................................... 134, 416 cengkok.................................................. 189, 380 Chinese....................................64, 141, 144, 152 Cokro, Pak.............................. See Wasitodipuro Cokrowasito, Ki.................................... 158, 159 D dalang....................... 26, 32, 106, 165, 359, 362 desa kala patra.............................................. 100 Desak, Ni Made Suarti44, 129, 325, 358, 366, 369 Dewantara, Ki Hadjar ..................... 25, 155, 184 Diamond, Jody .............................................. 121 Dibia, I Wayan44, 101, 104, 110, 128, 129, 130, 132, 138, 139, 192, 193, 194 Djelantik, Dr. A.A.M.................................... 124 djembe ...................................................7, 65, 66 DKJ, Dewan Kesenian Jakarta115, 385, 393, 395, 396 E Erawan, I Nyoman ................................102, 133 etnik .....................................................25, 64, 65 F Feldman, Morton...................................150, 171 Ferianto, Djaduk ............................................... 8 Ford Foundation..............................68, 190, 193 Foucault, Michele ..................................... 75, 76 G gambuh .........118, 145, 180, 181, 358, 376, 386 Geertz, Clifford .................................19, 20, 319 genta pinara pitu.................73, 74, 77, 407, 409 Geria, I Wayan ........................72, 179, 401, 410 Gesuri ...................................................... 83, 369 GOLKAR ........................................................ 32 Gong kebyarxii, 52, 58, 59, 77, 82, 89, 97, 102, 103, 106, 109, 110, 125, 129, 155, 181, 197, 261, 349, 351, 356, 357, 358, 359, 365, 368, 369, 370, 374, 376, 379, 380, 385, 390, 394 Gunawan Muhamed........................................ 68 H Hardjana, Sukaxiv, 2, 57, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 156, 159, 162, 166, 184, 259, 371, 372 Haryadi, Frans.......................160, 162, 163, 166 Hood, Mantle ................................................ 365 Humardani5, 32, 33, 67, 81, 146, 161, 162, 163, 164, 167, 175, 194 I IKJ, Institut Kesenian Jakarta115, 132, 189, 190, 363, 367 irama ............................................................. 179 IRCAM........................................................... 169


J jazz ................................158, 159, 190, 262, 269 K kecak......................................152, 192, 193, 388 Kelola ............................................104, 191, 269 keroncong.............................................. 158, 269 Kitaro..................................................... 138, 139 KKN, Kuliah Kerja Nyata............................ 127 kotekan99, 139, 141, 179, 189, 349, 350, 351, 352, 356, 363, 375, 391, 399 kreasi baru1, 3, 4, 49, 53, 54, 55, 61, 62, 82, 83, 89, 91, 96, 98, 103, 106, 110, 129, 135, 137, 139, 140, 147, 158, 159, 181, 194, 261, 262, 356, 363, 366 L Ladrang Siyem ............................................. 184 Lanus, I Ketut ....................................... 100, 363 laras...................... 126, 173, 175, 403, 407, 409 Lasmawan, Made.......................................... 379 LEKRA ............................................................. 8 LISTIBYA .................................................... 112 Lotring, I Wayan............................................. 94 M Mack, Dieter ............ 2, 154, 178, 184, 258, 301 Made Pande Sukerta ..................................... 185 Mahabharata....................50, 359, 370, 403, 404 Majapahit ........................................ 22, 403, 404 Manifes............................................................ 28 Manika Santi ................................................. 358 Martopangrawit, Ki ......................159, 175, 185 McPhee, Colin ......... 21, 22, 182, 199, 200, 419 Mead, Margaret......................................... 21, 22 modernism............ 116, 117, 162, 169, 171, 174 Murgianto, Sal ...................................... 117, 191 musique concrete .................................. 166, 170 N Nartosabdho, Ki.................................... 158, 185 New Order25, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 43, 46, 62, 72, 111, 129 O Old Order ....................................25, 35, 47, 158 orgasm ............................................................. 99 P Pancasila.................................28, 108, 147, 156 Panyambrama............................................... 206

patet .............................. 179, 180, 181, 378, 409 pathet .....................................................173, 175 PKI, Partai Komunis Indonesia8, 27, 29, 31, 58, 123, 124 PKJT, Pusat Kesenian Jawa Tengah160, 161, 164, 165, 185, 186, 192 PKM, Pekan Komponis Muda115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 146, 191, 259, 388 Planet Bamboo .............................................. 114 PNI............................................................xxi, 28 PNI, Partai Nasional Indonesia ........27, 29, 123 postmodernism ..............................169, 171, 175 Prabowo, Tony .............................................. 191 R Raden, Franki2, 6, 24, 67, 89, 116, 153, 154, 156, 159, 162, 166, 167, 191 Raffles ....................................................... 12, 14 Raharjo, Sapto........................................... 5, 6, 8 Rai, I Wayan40, 44, 57, 115, 121, 374, 381, 384, 390, 395 Ramayana.....153, 359, 365, 370, 374, 404, 405 Reformasi ........................................................ 43 Rembang, I Nyoman59, 124, 179, 180, 181, 390, 394, 409 Rina, Ketut .................................................... 192 Roth, Alec .............................................173, 174 RRI ................................................112, 157, 413 Rustopo1, 5, 61, 89, 120, 161, 162, 164, 167, 175, 183, 184, 379 S Sadra, I Wayan2, 8, 99, 104, 114, 115, 167, 178, 183, 184, 185, 187, 190, 269, 367, 381, 384 Saptono.................................................... 53, 181 Sardono S Kusomo117, 153, 161, 191, 192, 193, 194, 269, 381 Schoenberg....................................103, 116, 170 Sekar Jaya....................... 69, 121, 178, 362, 369 semar pegulingan26, 52, 58, 73, 113, 125, 129, 180, 356, 358, 359, 362, 364, 365, 367, 370, 374, 375, 376, 378 semara dana30, 72, 77, 89, 180, 357, 359, 365, 370 Semara Ratih.........................................277, 359 sendratari30, 106, 110, 129, 135, 359, 365, 368, 370, 374 Sinetron ............................................................. 8 Sinti, I Wayan .. 50, 51, 54, 55, 59, 91, 107, 358 Sjukur, Abdul Slamet........................................ 6 SMI, Sekolah Musik Indonesia ....155, 156, 166


soccer............................................................... 91 Soedarsono.................................................... 160 Sono Seni .............................................. 190, 269 Spies, Walter.....................21, 22, 152, 153, 395 Stimulus Diffusion................................ 151, 166 Suanda, I Nyoman65, 91, 94, 97, 98, 101, 102, 146 Suandita, I Ketut ....................................... 60, 62 Suardana Kadek ................................................ 1 Subandi, I Made... 60, 67, 82, 96, 349, 362, 363 Subono...................................186, 187, 344, 379 Sue, I Made ...................61, 82, 83, 95, 111, 134 Suharto ...29, 30, 31, 32, 36, 39, 43, 44, 62, 111 Sukarno ...........................26, 28, 29, 32, 39, 156 Sukerta, Pande Madexii, xiii, 99, 100, 101, 115, 118, 121, 150, 165, 183, 379 Sumandhi, I Nyoman.................................... 106 Supanggah, Rahayu ......118, 178, 184, 191, 379 Suryatini, Ni Ketut59, 77, 78, 95, 118, 144, 183, 187, 358, 367, 369 Suweca, I Wayan15, 44, 91, 100, 102, 121, 349, 395 T tabla................................................... 13, 65, 363 Taiko ................................................. 65, 66, 138 talempong...................................................... 129 Taman Mini..................................................... 38 Tempo........................................................ 67, 68 Tenzer, Michaelxii, 22, 112, 145, 168, 172, 178, 179, 197, 369

TIM, Taman Ismail Marzuki115, 162, 189, 190 tri angga .......................................................... 52 tri hita karana ........................................... 97, 98 U UNUD, Universitas Udayana ....................... 128 V Vickers, Adrian11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 22, 26, 43, 64, 71, 153 Vienna ........................................................... 168 Vitale, Wayne............... 178, 179, 205, 369, 415 W Wasitodipuro, Ki (Cokro)...... 3. See Cokro, Pak wayang50, 78, 93, 110, 118, 119, 133, 145, 179, 187, 189, 362, 368, 375, 376, 402, 409, 410 Wesleyan University............................... xv, 125 Windha, I Nyoman44, 68, 98, 113, 115, 121, 127, 128, 129, 131, 132, 144, 145, 146, 147, 180, 181, 183, 349, 358, 359, 362, 366, 367, 368, 369, 374, 393, 395 Y Yudane, I Wayan7, 8, 41, 52, 54, 55, 68, 69, 82, 98, 114, 120, 121, 132, 134, 141, 178, 191, 349, 350, 351, 352, 363, 364 Z Ziporyn, Evan........................................178, 369


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