Music Southeast Asia
by
Christi-Anne Castro
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 July 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199757824-0153

Introduction

Southeast Asia is comprised of ten countries. Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam are part of the mainland, while Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei (on Borneo), and the Philippines are island nations, and Malaysia is both. Additionally, regional and comparative studies often distinguish between highland and lowland peoples, the diversity of ethnic groupings, and urban and rural populations. Others stress dominant and minority religions, a history of trade, former kingdoms, and European colonization in investigations of musical similarities and differences. Ethnomusicological writings are not uniformly distributed among sites. Indeed, the history of ethnomusicology and the study of Indonesia are tied particularly closely, explaining the relative breadth and number of available sources in English. The Dutch musicologist Jaap Kunst (b. 1891–d. 1960), who coined the term “ethno-musicology,” studied Indonesian music, as did Mantle Hood (b. 1918–d. 2005), the scholar who established the first ethnomusicology program at the University of California, Los Angeles. Within Indonesian studies is a preponderance of work on the different gamelan ensembles, particularly Central Javanese and Balinese. Conversely, other countries of Southeast Asia are understudied for different reasons. Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar have been difficult to access and have been off limits to scholars at various times. Singapore and Brunei have attracted even less attention, perhaps because of perceptions that their musical expressions are merely localized versions of traditions found in China, India, or other Southeast Asian countries. Despite the many studies on the region as a whole, there is much music scholarship to be done, especially in the aforementioned places. Vietnam has more available works on music, though many are located in Vietnam and present a language barrier. The writings by Trần Văn Khê (b. 1921–present) were the earliest to receive widespread international distribution, and most are in French, but there are a number of more recent studies in English by foreign and Vietnamese scholars. The Philippines, too, has a good number of contemporary sources in English. Many Filipino musicologists and ethnomusicologists were trained abroad, particularly in the United States. José Maceda (b. 1917–d. 2004), considered to be the father of Filipino ethnomusicology, received his doctoral degree from UCLA under Mantle Hood. The resources of this article tend toward published and more easily accessible monographs and books, but there are also essays in edited collections, journal articles, and dissertations included when scholarship has been less copious.

General Overviews and Multi-Country Studies

Most of the included multi-country studies are edited collections of scholarly essays by experts in the field. Surveys, such as Becker 1993, Malm 1996a, and Malm 1996b are useful as classroom texts or references for student research papers. Music styles and practices covered in the remaining multi-country studies are sometimes held together by an overarching theme, such as music education in Brand 2006, popular music in Lockard 1998, and drama in Osman 1974. At other times, as with Abels and International Institute for Asian Studies 2011 and Morton 1975, the essays are simply grouped by region, and individual essays deal with single genres that are specialty areas of their authors. Catlin and Mahoney 1992 more tightly focuses on the lesser-studied countries of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

  • Abels, Birgit, and International Institute for Asian Studies. Austronesian Soundscapes: Performing Arts in Oceania and Southeast Asia. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2011.

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    Collected essays. Of interest are chapters on the music of Kalinga (Philippines) peace pacts by Glenn Stallsmith, Sundanese dance by Henry Spiller, Malay-Islamic Zapin music and dance by Mohd. Anis Md Nor, Chinese music in Sabah (Malaysia) by David Wong, and vocal music in Eastern Flores (Indonesia) by Dana Rappoport.

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  • Becker, Judith. “Southeast Asia.” In Ethnomusicology: Historical and Regional Studies. Edited by Helen Meyers, 377–391. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.

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    Survey of the region in a collection that is part of the Norton/Grove Handbooks in Music Series. Very brief entries for each country simply provide an overarching view of the diversity of music traditions. Of interest to students and others, the chapter contains a country-by-country bibliography that is a good starting point for further research.

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  • Brand, Manny. The Teaching of Music in Nine Asian Nations: Comparing Approaches to Music Education. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 2006.

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    A rare glimpse into music education in Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Malaysia. Brand presents the stories of fifteen music teachers in various settings. The prose is ethnographic, reflexive, and accessible and is about the author’s experiences with teachers rather than music or theories of pedagogy.

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  • Catlin, Amy, and Therese Mahoney, eds. Selected Reports in Ethnomusicology, Vol. 9: Text, Context, and Performance in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Los Angeles: Department of Ethnomusicology, University of California, Los Angeles, 1992.

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    Valuable collection of essays on well- and less-studied traditions. Following the introduction advocating a hermeneutical approach are four sections on regional ethnic minorities, Khmer arts in Cambodia, traditional and popular music in Laos, and traditional Vietnamese music. Two essays on Buddhist music of Northeast Thailand and Vietnam are also included.

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  • Lockard, Craig. Dance of Life: Popular Music and Politics in Southeast Asia. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1998.

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    Survey of the history and political implications of important popular music genres in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. Useful as a resource and textbook, this book documents some five decades of pop from a global and comparative perspective. The bibliography is a strong starting point for further studies.

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  • Malm, William. “Island Southeast Asia from the Philippines to Indonesia.” In Music Cultures of the Pacific, The Near East, and Asia. By William Malm, 37–63. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1996a.

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    In a survey of instruments and musical practices in textbook style prose, this chapter on islands is divided into music of the Philippines, Borneo, and Indonesia.

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  • Malm, William. “Southeast Asia.” In Music Cultures of the Pacific, The Near East, and Asia. By William Malm, 142–166. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1996b.

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    In a survey of instruments and musical practices in textbook style prose, this chapter on mainland music takes a comparative approach, grouping different regional genres under headings such as instrumental ensembles, vocal music, folk music, and theatrical and popular music.

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  • Morton, David, ed. Selected Reports in Ethnomusicology: Southeast Asia. Vol. 2. Los Angeles: Department of Ethnomusicology, University of California, Los Angeles, 1975.

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    Early unthemed collection of essays. Articles and topics not easy to find elsewhere include an English chapter by Trần Văn Khê, one on improvisation in stratified ensembles by Mantle Hood, one on kyo songs of Burma (Myanmar) by Muriel Williamson, and one on a northern Thai long drum by Gerald Dyck.

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  • Osman, Mohd. Taib, ed. Traditional Drama and Music of Southeast Asia. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka, 1974.

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    Collection of essays on different regional arts, many of which examine music. Section A on shadow puppetry focuses on narratives and aspects of theater, Section B on dramas and dance, and Section C on music. (See Brunet 1974, cited under Cambodia; Trimillos 1974, cited under Philippines: Regional, and Brunei Delegation 1974, cited under Brunei.)

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Reference Works

Miller and Williams 1998 in The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music and Sutton 2014 are standard reference works for students and researchers alike. Miller and Williams 2008 is an updated and condensed resource similar to The Garland Encyclopedia, but, because of its abridgement, might also be used as a textbook. Many university libraries contain the print versions of The Garland Encyclopedia and The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and/or subscribe to the online versions. These sources contain an enormous amount of information in nontechnical language accessible to a wide audience, and entries are written by country specialists.

  • Miller, Terry, and Sean Williams, eds. The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Vol. 4, Southeast Asia. New York: Garland, 1998.

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    Standard reference work. The informational chapters are divided between mainland, including upland minority groups, and island nations. Chapters on traditions harder to find elsewhere, such as those of Borneo and the upland people of Burma (Myanmar) and Laos, are especially useful. Accompanying CD. Also available online by subscription.

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  • Miller, Terry, and Sean Williams. The Garland Handbook of Southeast Asian Music. London: Routledge, 2008.

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    Shorter version of Miller and Williams 1998, with possible use as textbook. Accompanying CD. Contains updated and reduced articles from the original but places more emphasis on introductory essays on unifying themes, such as cultural influence, and modernization. Accompanying CD.

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  • Sutton, R. Anderson. “South-East Asia.” Grove Music Online. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

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    Encyclopedia entry of the online resource that began with a published version (The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, New York: Oxford University Press, 2004) but is now open to updates. This article is a general overview of the region, and individual countries also have their own entries with greater detail and more particularities. Appropriate for students and researchers. Available online by subscription.

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Journals

There are only two journals, Asian Music and Musica Asiatica, devoted specifically to Asian music, and none solely to Southeast Asian music. Despite this deficiency, articles on the region are published in a variety of sources. Of particular usefulness are Ethnomusicology, the Yearbook for Traditional Music, Ethnomusicology Forum, and The World of Music, though articles on Southeast Asian music are only intermittent.

  • Asian Music. New York: Society for Asian Music, 1969–.

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    Scholarly journal of the Society for Asian Music. The tables of contents for all issues are available online for free. Articles can be found online through JSTOR, Project Muse, and IIMP (all via subscription) or can be ordered from the society in back issues.

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  • Ethnomusicology. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1953–.

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    Scholarly journal of the Society for Ethnomusicology. Although many authors presented in this journal are North American, reflecting the makeup of the society, topics reflect a global range of interests. Articles can be found online through subscription to JSTOR.

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  • Ethnomusicology Forum. New York: Routledge, 1992–.

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    Scholarly journal of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology, formerly titled the British Journal of Ethnomusicology. Articles are accessible through subscription to JSTOR and online in libraries.

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  • Musica Asiatica. London: Oxford University Press, 1977–1991.

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    Occasionally published journal with six volumes. There were a few articles on Southeast Asia. Intended to cater to those with musicological and ethnographic bents, and conceiving of music in the world as interconnected, the journal displayed a range of approaches. Many of the specialists included have written books or articles in easier to find journals.

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  • The World of Music. Bamberg, Germany: Otto-Friedrich University of Bamberg, 1959–.

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    Scholarly journal of the university’s Department of Ethnomusicology. Published in English since 1997. A number of articles on Southeast Asia are scattered throughout. One must search, however, because despite a large number of issues devoted to regions or topics, none deal solely with Southeast Asia.

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  • Yearbook for Traditional Music. New York: International Council for Traditional Music, 1969–.

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    Scholarly journal of the International Council for Traditional Music. Formerly titled the Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council, this journal offers a broad international representation of scholars and topics. Articles can be found online through subscription to JSTOR.

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Textbooks

Introductory textbooks, such as Capwell 2012 and Sutton 2009, contain single chapters on Indonesian music with lessons on Javanese gamelan and Balinese gamelan gong kebyar, among several other genres. Bakan 2012 mentions these genres also but delves into the lesser-studied gamelan beleganjur of Bali. Miller and Shahriari 2012 is notable in that it surveys a wider variety of genres from the region, while Shelemay 2006a has a chapter on Vietnamese music (particularly in diaspora), and Shelemay 2006b studies Balinese gamelan. Brinner 2008, Douglas 2009, and Gold 2005 are short monographs suitable for more in-depth study. See also Sam and Campbell 1991, cited under Diaspora.

  • Bakan, Michael. “Indonesian Gamelan Music: Interlocking Rhythms, Interlocking Words.” In World Music: Traditions and Transformations. 2d ed. By Michael Bakan, 85–114. New York: McGraw Hill, 2012.

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    College-textbook chapter that briefly compares Central Javanese court gamelan and Balinese gamelan gong kebyar. The bulk of the chapter teaches about gamelan beleganjur, highlighting the interlocking techniques also used in kecak. Photos, figures of rhythms, and guided listening supplement the text. Accompanying CDs and online examples.

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  • Brinner, Benjamin. Music in Central Java: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

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    Monograph in the Oxford Global Music Series. Brinner focuses on Javanese gamelan, with special attention on musical elements, such as instrumentation, tuning, and melody, and on genres in which gamelan is integral, including shadow puppetry, vocal music, dance, and theater. Two chapters also touch upon musical training and the nature of music and emotion in gamelan. Accompanying CD.

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  • Capwell, Charles. “Music of Indonesia.” In Excursions in World Music. 6th ed. Edited by Timothy Rommen, 162–195. New York: Pearson, 2012.

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    Chapter in college textbook. The lesson covers Javanese gamelan with some cipher notation, music for bedhaya dance and shadow puppetry, several Balinese gamelan ensembles, and kecak. Popular genres include gambus, dangdut, kroncong, and jaipongan. Listening guides supplement each topic. Accompanying CDs.

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  • Douglas, Gavin. Music in Mainland Southeast Asia. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

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    Monograph in the Oxford Global Music Series. This text surveys genres through the themes of diversity, politics, and globalization and is the only ethnomusicology book featuring Myanmar. Directed toward classrooms, the book provides context, recordings, and activities in each section. It is suitable for a semester-long course, with the addition of other material. Accompanying CD.

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  • Gold, Lisa. Music in Bali. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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    Monograph in the Oxford Global Music Series. Gold introduces Bali through its ceremonial music and then turns to the instruments, music, and context of gamelan gong kebyar. The next chapters review the music of dance and theater and that of a cremation ceremony. Chapters contain helpful figures and activities for students. Accompanying CD.

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  • Miller, Terry, and Andrew Shahriari. “Southeast Asia: A Land of Bamboo and Bronze.” In World Music: A Global Journey. 3d ed. By Terry Miller and Andrew Shahriari, 131–180. New York: Routledge, 2012.

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    Chapter of college textbook. Topics include Vietnamese highland music and the nhac tai tu chamber ensemble, Thai classical piphat, Laotian/northeast Thai repartee singing and the popular genre of luk thung, Javanese court gamelan, and Balinese gamelan gong kebyar. The chapter has photos, figures, and listening guides. Accompanying CDs.

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  • Shelemay, Kay. “Case Study: The Vietnamese Migration.” In Soundscapes: Exploring Music in a Changing World. By Kay Shelemay, 192–211. New York: W. W. Norton, 2006a.

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    Subsection of a chapter in a college textbook. Examples of ca hue chamber music, a lullaby on dan bau, and two songs from Pham Duy’s song cycle “The National Road.” The Balinese study focuses on gamelan gong kebyar and pieces by Balinese and Western composers. Accompanying CDs.

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  • Shelemay, Kay. “Case Study: New Music for Balinese Gamelan.” In Soundscapes: Exploring Music in a Changing World. By Kay Shelemay, 271–281. New York: W. W. Norton, 2006b.

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    Subsection of a chapter in a college textbook. The study focuses on gamelan gong kebyar and pieces by Balinese and Western composers. Accompanying CDs.

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  • Sutton, R. Anderson. “Asia: Music of Indonesia.” In Worlds of Music. 3d ed., shorter version. By R. Anderson Sutton, 213–240. Belmont, CA: Schirmer, 2009.

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    Chapter in college textbook. The lesson examines Javanese court and shadow puppet gamelan, surveys Balinese gamelan gong kebyar, and introduces the Sundanese ensemble Krakatau and their fusion of gamelan with jazz. Accompanying CDs.

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National Studies

National studies are by far the most common publications on the music of Southeast Asia. The majority is ethnographic or was informed by fieldwork, conforming to the nature of the discipline of ethnomusicology and its ties to anthropology. Despite their age, older sources remain useful, especially when used in conjunction with newer ones. While older sources have a greater tendency to take a survey approach and to favor musicological analyses from a Western perspective, newer writings are often much more narrowly focused, framed by the theoretical interests of their authors, and likely to contain self-reflexive passages that reveal the constructed nature of ethnographic scholarship.

Brunei

Compared with the other nations of Southeast Asia, Brunei has few resources devoted to its music. It is best to consult Gorlinski 2014 first for an overview. Brunei Delegation 1974 is short and adequate only as a starting point. The entry Matusky 1998 mentions Brunei’s gong-chime ensembles in a larger article on the island of Borneo. While there are other sources, particularly those listed in Gorlinski’s bibliography, they are quite difficult to find outside of Southeast Asia.

  • Brunei Delegation. “A Short Survey of Brunei Gulintangan Orchestra.” In Drama and Music of Southeast Asia. Edited by Mohd. Taib Osman, 298–308. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka, 1974.

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    Essay in a collection. Published sources on the music of Brunei are extremely rare. Though lacking detail, this article introduces a gong and drum ensemble on the basis of information in oral tradition. There is no bibliography for further research.

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  • Gorlinski, Virginia. “Brunei [State of Brunei Darassalam].” Grove Music Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 15 January 2014.

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    This is the best and most easily attainable source for an overview on the music of Brunei. Topics briefly covered include the music of the royal sultanate and Malay majority population, some genres of ethnic minorities, and gong-chime ensembles.

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  • Matusky, Patricia. “Borneo: Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei, Kalimantan.” In The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Vol. 4, Southeast Asia. Edited by Terry Miller and Sean Williams, 823–837. New York: Garland, 1998.

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    The music of Brunei is not the focus here, and Brunei is included merely in a chapter about the island of Borneo. The gong chime traditions of Brunei are called gulintangan, kulintangan, or kulintang.

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Cambodia

Most of the few works devoted to the music of Cambodia are straightforward surveys, including Danielou 1957, Brunet 1974, and Narom 2005. Baumgärtel and Beñ 2011 is the least accessible of the sources, but it has value in its nod to popular music in the country. Mamula 2008 is a more easily found source on the topic of popular music. Lafreniere 2000 is not ideal as a scholarly source on music, but its biography of a musician who survived the period of genocide makes vivid the social context and significance of music during that time.

  • Baumgärtel, Tilman, and Sākalvidyālăy Bhūmin Bhnaṃ Beñ. Dontrey: The Music of Cambodia. Phnom Penh, Cambodia: VS Vann Sophea Printing House, 2011.

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    Magazine-style booklet with various articles. The collection has short nonacademic writings on traditional music, several performers, and the composer Oum Dara. The mention of popular music is uncommon and includes an article on classic pop hits, the Cha-Cha-Cha in Phnom Penh, and a claim about the demise of popular music in Cambodia.

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  • Brunet, Jacques. “The Origins of Cambodian Music.” In Drama and Music of Southeast Asia. Edited by Mohd. Taib Osman, 208–215. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka, 1974.

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    One of four essays by Brunet in this volume; the others should also be consulted. Though cursory, his essays on the pinpeat accompanying the nang sbeck, ritual music, and the mouth organ of the Samre provide useful information presented in a straightforward manner.

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  • Danielou, Alain. La Musique du Cambodge et du Laos. Pondichéry, India: Institut Français d’Indologie, 1957.

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    Short survey in French. Valuable as a glimpse into studies of the region in the history of ethnomusicology, this is one of very few monographs on Cambodia and/or Laos. Musicological portions include transcriptions of scales used by different instruments and ensembles. There are also photographs and line drawings of instruments.

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  • Lafreniere, Bree. Music through the Dark: A Tale of Survival in Cambodia. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2000.

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    Literary account from interviews of the musician Daran Kravanh, who lived through the Cambodian genocide. As neither oral history nor autobiography, this book is not appropriate as an academic source; however, it depicts the life of a real musician during a time period not covered well in musicological sources.

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  • Mamula, Stephen. “Starting from Nowhere? Popular Music in Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge.” Asian Music 39.1 (2008): 26–41.

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    Journal article about survival and transformation. Through the rise of consumer media, both indigenous music and popular music of the mid-20th century were able to resurface as expressions that connected people to the idea of a pre-Khmer Rouge Cambodian identity.

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  • Narom, Keo. Cambodian Music. Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Reyum, 2005.

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    Book in both Cambodian (script) and English that contains straightforward descriptions of musical instruments and ensembles. Divided into sections about string, wind, and percussion. The work contains an ample number of photographs and line drawings as well as some musical transcriptions and is best utilized as a reference.

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Indonesia

While Java and Bali are the two most well-researched islands of Indonesia, with particular emphasis on the various types of gamelan ensembles found in both places, a number of regional studies are also highly informative. Thus, the sections included under Indonesia represent the number of resources widely available to researchers. Java and Bali have their own headings, and Java is further broken down between entries on gamelan and other music genres. The Indonesia: Regional section is a collection of sources on areas outside of Java and Bali. A couple of studies are included at the outset that are wider in scope. Harnish and Rasmussen 2011 provides a collection of essays under the theme of music and Islam, with contemporary expositions on ritual, globalization, and the nature of tradition and change. Yampolsky 1987 is a discography whose contents trace the relationship between media and cultural politics.

  • Harnish, David, and Anne Rasmussen, eds. Divine Inspirations: Music and Islam in Indonesia. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

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    Collection of essays seeking to look beyond the prevalent coverage of Javanese and Balinese gamelan. The organizing section themes are “Tensions and Change,” “Mysticism and Devotion,” “Global Currents and Discourse,” and “Contemporary Performative Worlds.” Many prominent ethnomusicologists of Southeast Asia contributed articles, including several from outside the United States. Accompanying website.

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  • Yampolsky, Philip. Lokanata: A Discography of the National Recording Company of Indonesia, 1957–1985. Madison: University of Wisconsin, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, 1987.

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    Discography without annotation. While possibly limited in appeal to certain scholars, this collection is a research tool representing an early interest in media. While dated, the time period covered includes independence, and the collection overall gives a picture of what music was valued for recording and distribution by the state.

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Regional

Musical ethnographies on regions, such as Sumatra in Kartomi 2012, Sulawesi in Rappoport 2009 and Sutton 2002, and Lombok in Seebass, et al. 1976 and Harnish 2006, showcase the diversity of performance practices in Indonesia beyond Javanese and Balinese gamelan as well as presenting intriguing theoretical frameworks through which to understand them. The two other sources appeal to more narrow historical interests. The reprint of Kunst 1994 has value as an example of early- to mid-20th century ethnographic writing and foundational research on Indonesian music.

  • Harnish, David. Bridges to the Ancestors: Music, Myth, and Cultural Politics at an Indonesian Festival. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2006.

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    Ethnography on the Lingsar festival of Lombok; presents the complexities of a religious event held by two ethnic groups, the Hindu Balinese and the Muslim Sasak. Combining observations on music, dance, ritual, festivals, and myth, Harnish reveals the interplay of politics and identity construction within the larger Indonesian context. Includes musical figures and photographs.

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  • Kartomi, Margaret J. Musical Journeys in Sumatra. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2012.

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    A comprehensive introduction to the musical culture of Sumatra and its related islands. Released forty years after research began, the scholarship underwent continuous updating to account for change. An exhaustive work, the book contains straightforward descriptions, musical transcriptions and analyses, and forays into history and other relevant contextual narratives.

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  • Kunst, Jaap. Indonesian Music and Dance: Traditional Music and Its Interaction with the West. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam, 1994.

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    Compilation of essays from 1934 to 1952 by the pioneer ethnomusicologist Jaap Kunst, including biographies and introductions to his work by others. Translated from Dutch by Sandra Reijnhart, this book gives insight into Kunst’s fieldwork and the history of ethnomusicology, as well as on less studied provinces outside of Java.

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  • Rappoport, Dana. Songs from the Thrice-Blooded Land: Ritual Music of the Toraja (Sulawesi, Indonesia). Paris: Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, 2009.

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    Multimedia offering of a stand-alone book with a DVD-ROM of photographs, audio, and video. This ethnography on vocal music of a particular highland group includes field notes and song transcriptions in a traditional ethnographic style and is translated from French by Timothy Seller. The addition of the DVD-ROM suggests possibilities for future digital and online publications.

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  • Seebass, Tilman, I Gusti Bagus Nyoman Panji, I Nyoman Rembang, and I Poedijono. The Music of Lombok: A First Survey. Bern, Switzerland: Francke, 1976.

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    A slight volume that nonetheless has value as a relatively early record of several genres from Lombok. The few other studies on the area are confined to reference works, recording notes, and online sites.

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  • Sutton, R. Anderson. Calling Back the Spirit: Music, Dance, and Cultural Politics in Lowland South Sulawesi. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

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    Survey of music from an understudied area. The author illustrates local concerns with cultural politics, representation, foreign pressures and influences, and self-identification within a diverse nation. He also supplies readers with information, transcriptions, musical analyses, and explanations of a variety of local genres. Accompanying CD.

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Bali

The music of Bali has received ample attention, particularly as concerns various types of gamelan found on the small island. McPhee 1966 is included as a representation of early writings and as a source for those surveying the history of ethnomusicology and its intersections with composition. Tenzer 2000 is written from the vantage point of a scholar and composer as well, but this gamelan book is much more comprehensive and detailed than McPhee. Schaareman 1992 is a collection of essays by experts on vocal, court, ritual, and theater music in Bali. Herbst 1997 is an ethnographic work dealing with different kinds of sung music as well as dance and theater that would be considered traditional. In contrast, Baulch 2007, cited under Popular Music: Indonesia, turns an analytical eye on three kinds of globalized popular music of the 1990s. The remaining sources are genre studies, with Dibia 1996 devoted to the vocal gamelan genre kecak, Bakan 1999 to the processional gamelan beleganjur, Susilo 2003 to women’s gamelan wanita, and Gray 2011 to gamelan and shadow puppetry.

  • Bakan, Michael. Music of Death and New Creation: Experiences in the World of Balinese Gamelan Beleganjur. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.

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    Study of the history and transformation of the processional gamelan. Simultaneously detailed in its presentation of information and deeply reflexive, the work provides the context and background of the ensemble along with its contemporary performance practice through ethnographic passages, musical transcriptions, and performer biographies. Accompanying CD.

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  • Dibia, I Wayan. Kecak: The Vocal Chant of Bali. Denpasar, Indonesia: Hartanto Art Books, 1996.

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    Though diminutive, this is the only English-language monograph on the popular art of kecak. Dibia offers a couple of historical narratives; a description of a typical performance that includes music, dance, and storytelling; musical transcriptions; and a list of performing groups active at the time of authorship.

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  • Gray, Nicholas. Improvisation and Composition in Balinese Gendér Wayang: Music of the Moving Shadows. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2011.

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    Study of the music for shadow puppetry; concentrates on change over time and the processes of creativity during performance. A detailed review of literature leads into an exploration of discourse and performance through ethnography and piece analysis. The author also directs readers toward literature on themes briefly raised. Accompanying CD.

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  • Herbst, Edward. Voices in Bali: Energies and Perceptions in Vocal Music and Dance Theater. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1997.

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    Ethnography that highlights indigenous performance theory, especially as it concerns vocal music pedagogy. Presents firsthand explanations from Balinese performers and brings together differing accounts of the relationships between music, text, spoken language, myth, memory, and personal experience. Accompanying CD.

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  • McPhee, Colin. Music in Bali. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1966.

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    Classic compendium with an emphasis on different types of gamelans from the vantage point of a composer. Following a personal account that gives cultural context, the survey comprehensively covers instrumentation, scales, and other technical musical elements and includes numerous transcriptions in Western notation, tables, photographs (appendix), and explanatory figures.

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  • Schaareman, Danker, ed. Balinese Music in Context: A Sixty-Fifth Birthday Tribute to Hans Oesch. Winterthur, Switzerland: Amadeus, 1992.

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    Collection of essays. Though not easy to locate, this work contains detailed chapters by specialists and gives researchers access to writings by international scholars from Europe and Asia. Several gamelan styles, theater music, vocal music, and ritual music are investigated in these scholarly and musicological essays.

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  • Susilo, Emiko Saraswati. Gamelan Wanita: A Study of Women’s Gamelan in Bali. Southeast Asia Paper No. 43. Manoa: Center for Southeast Asian Studies of the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, 2003.

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    Contribution to gamelan studies that have historically focused only on male performers. While changes in ensembles are related to those in society, this brief monograph (based on a master’s thesis) also theorizes that music can alter perceptions of gender and the nature of customary practices.

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  • Tenzer, Michael. Gamelan Gong Kebyar: The Art of Twentieth-Century Balinese Music. Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.

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    Encyclopedic review of a contemporary genre. A strong research starting point, this book offers a review of literature and history, followed by detailed explanations of melody, form, and other elements. It also gives special attention to the concerns of composers and the music’s influence outside of Bali. Accompanying CDs.

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Java

Because of the large number of sources on gamelan found throughout the island of Java, this section highlights important works that give greater attention to other genres. While instruments similar to gender found in Javanese gamelan are discussed in Weiss 2006, the shadow puppet tradition examined here has significant, unique features. Kartomi 1973 and Rasmussen 2010 both deal with vocal traditions, though the former is an exhaustive song collection with a scholarly overview, and the latter is an engaging ethnography of Islamic music, set primarily in Jakarta. Two other sources deal with Sundanese traditions in West Java; Williams 2001 takes on the fascinating ensemble music Tembang Sunda, while Spiller 2010 traces complex intersections between dance, music, and perceptions of gender in Sunda.

  • Kartomi, Margaret. Matjapat Songs in Central and West Java. Oriental Monograph Series 13. Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1973.

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    Overview and collection of songs collected through fieldwork. The volume includes a history of the music and its text and a glossary of terms, but the bulk of the work is a collection of handwritten song transcriptions and analyses of pieces, with information about alternate versions, modes, and other aspects.

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  • Rasmussen, Anne K. Women, the Recited Qur’an, and Islamic Music in Indonesia. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520255487.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Ethnography exploring the roles of women and female reciters in religious culture, the sometimes unique possibilities for creative expression, and perceptions about secular and sacred music. Also a scholar of Middle Eastern music, the author offers a global perspective, observations on pedagogy, musical transcriptions, and a biography of Maria Ulfah.

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  • Spiller, Henry. Erotic Triangles: Sundanese Dance and Masculinity in West Java. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.

    DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226769608.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Dance ethnography with ample attention to the accompanying music. Spiller breaks ground with his presentation of Sundanese ideas about masculinity, sexuality, power, and eroticism, and how they are expressed in dance and music. The musical sections focus on drumming and include customized transcriptions accounting for strokes, pitch, and accents.

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  • Weiss, Sarah. Listening to an Earlier Java: Aesthetics, Gender, and the Music of Wayang in Central Java. Leiden, The Netherlands: KITLV Press, 2006.

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    Ethnography exploring “the female style” (p. 5) of older wayang music and its relationship with contemporary shadow puppetry. Weiss examines the discourse surrounding this style and perceptions of gender and rasa, a nontranslatable word that describes emotional release and restraint and is fundamental to musical aesthetics. Accompanying CD.

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  • Williams, Sean. The Sound of the Ancestral Ship: Highland Music of West Java. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

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    Ethnography on the Tembang Sunda chamber music of the Sundanese of West Java. Covering a less studied genre that is nonetheless highly practiced in contemporary society, this book traces the urbanization of a traditional music played live and mediated through the technologies of recording and radio. Accompanying CD.

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Javanese Gamelan

Gamelans of Central and West Java have historically been the most popular topics of study about music in Indonesia, as well as the Southeast Asian ensemble most commonly taught internationally. Becker and Feinstein 1984 provides a rare translation of essays from the viewpoint of Indonesian scholars. Sumarsam 1995 is a historical and analytical treatise, while Sorrell 1990 is a convenient overview. Hood 1977 and Perlman 2004 offer close examinations of mode and melody, respectively, Brinner 1995 and Benamou 2010 tackle the more abstract experiences of mood and the nature of knowing music. Walton 1987 is the only work here that deals specifically with female performers.

  • Becker, Judith, and Alan Feinstein, eds. Karawitan: Source Readings in Javanese Gamelan and Vocal Music. 3 vols. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, 1984.

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    Three-volume collection of essays translated into English; an invaluable source of otherwise difficult-to-access articles, especially for those without Indonesian language skills. The articles cover musical concepts, performance techniques, history, and more from Javanese scholars and musicians. Researchers on Javanese gamelan must also consult Becker’s original books and articles.

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  • Benamou, Marc. Rasa: Affect and Intuition in Javanese Musical Aesthetics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195189438.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Study of the relationships between aesthetics and discourse surrounding mood, spirituality, and singing. On the basis of research in Surakarta, the author places rasa in linguistic and cultural context and reveals that the concept is much more significant to performers than technical and theoretical writings about Javanese music indicate. Accompanying online examples.

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  • Brinner, Benjamin. Knowing Music, Making Music: Javanese Gamelan and the Theory of Musical Competence and Interaction. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

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    Ethnography that uncovers how performers and listeners know what they know about music and how they interact. Brinner problematizes competence as a social and contextual evaluation, and follows with a four-part theorization of interaction as network, system, sound structure, and motivation. He includes numerous case studies and explanations of musical elements.

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  • Hood, Mantle. The Nuclear Theme as a Determinant of Patet in Javanese Music. Da Capo Press Music Reprint Series. New York: Da Capo, 1977.

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    Classic text from an ethnomusicology pioneer on mode in Javanese gamelan. The analyses of modes in the pélog and sléndro families remain relevant, though the emotional nature and performance of modes varies in practice and continues to generate discussion of various viewpoints among scholars and performers.

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  • Perlman, Marc. Unplayed Melodies: Javanese Gamelan and the Genesis of Music Theory. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.

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    Theoretical treatise on the nature of melody in karawitan. Using an ethnotheory approach to expose the cognitive processes of Javanese musicians, Perlman juxtaposes three formulations from Suhardi, Sumarsam, and Supanggah, highlighting similarities and differences. A reflection on Western art music follows, comparing Javanese implicit-melody concepts with other creative approaches.

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  • Sorrell, Neil. A Guide to the Gamelan. Boston: Faber and Faber, 1990.

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    This solid introduction to West Javanese gamelan establishes the basics of setting, music, and instrumentation, as explained in Western terms. The author also elucidates the nature of karawitan (gamelan music) from types of pieces to colotomic structure to embellishment. Helpful figures are in cipher and modified Western notation.

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  • Sumarsam. Gamelan: Cultural Interaction and Musical Development in Central Java. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

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    Historical treatise covering the 12th to the 20th centuries that brings together an extensive bibliography of significant sources. Sumarsam draws upon a mix of theorists from Indonesia and the West while contributing his own thoughts on the nature of gamelan melody, structure, tempo, musical texture, tempo, and style.

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  • Walton, Susan Pratt. Mode in Javanese Music. Monographs in International Studies. Athens, OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies, 1987.

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    A collection of modes and how they are performed in Javanese gamelan, but illustrated from the vantage point of the female vocalist, called pesindhen. The presentation is direct and contains numerous figures and transcriptions in Western and cipher notation.

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Laos

Danielou 1957 is the earliest work and only survey, though Miller 1985 is similarly musicological with its overview of vocal and kaen music of the Lao. Because of the importance of text in many genres of Lao music, it is the focus of research by Catlin 1997 and Chapman 2003. Lundström 2010, too, is attentive to text but through a biography of a vocal performer. Falk 2004 offers a different spin with two articles on the qeej as a speech surrogate instrument. Rehbein 2007 is a sociological piece on music, globalization, and the marketplace.

  • Catlin, Amy. “Puzzling the Text: Thought Songs, Secret Languages, and Archaic Tones in Hmong Music.” The World of Music 39.2 (1997): 69–81.

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    Article relating the perception of tones in Hmong music to those found in their tonal language. Catlin explains how instrumental music uses understandings of linguistic in order to have more than aesthetic meaning and deals with an ethnic group that is spread through Laos and Thailand and is resident in the United States.

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  • Chapman, Adam. “‘A Crow Jumps on Rocks’: Indigenous Approaches to Composing and Performing Text in Lao Vocal Music.” Yearbook for Traditional Music 35 (2003): 97–129.

    DOI: 10.2307/4149323Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    This journal article about khap-lam provides musicological details, context, and other important genre information. Although the primary emphasis is on text, the article is useful for learning about khap-lam as a whole and includes musical transcriptions and descriptions of performance and composition.

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  • Danielou, Alain. La Musique du Cambodge et du Laos. Pondichéry, India: Institut Français d’Indologie, 1957.

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    Short survey in French. This work is mostly valuable as a historical item that serves as an example of primarily positivist writings in ethnomusicology of the past, though its transcriptions of scales used by different instruments and ensembles provide useful musicological information.

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  • Diamond, Catherine. “From Fa Ngoum to Hip Hop Boom: The Faces of Lao Performance.” In Communities of Imagination: Contemporary Southeast Asian Theatres. By Catherine Diamond, 246–275. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2012.

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    Chapter in a book about theatre. Diamond touches upon various topics relating to music, including molam and its association with politics in Laos, lam leuang opera, and hip hop. Mostly valuable to music scholars as a contextualization of particular musics, as there are no music details.

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  • Falk, Catherine. “Hmong Instructions to the Dead: What the Mouth Organ Qeej Says (Part One).” Asian Folklore Studies 63.1 (2004): 1–29.

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    Part 1 of 2 on the free reed instrument used as a speech surrogate during funerals. The music text is understood by the dead and is felt to be a fundamental to Hmong identity. This article explains the tradition, while the second (Asian Folklore Studies 63.2 (2004): 167–220) is a complete version of one such text.

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  • Lundström, Håkan. I Will Send My Song: Kammu Vocal Genres in the Singing of Kam Raw. Copenhagen: Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, 2010.

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    Ethnography and biography of Kam Raw, a musician of the Kammu people of Laos and northern Thailand. Based on research done in the 1970s, this highly musicological study provides details on the musical and textual elements of Kammu songs as filtered through Kam Raw. Accompanying CD.

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  • Miller, Terry. Traditional Music of the Lao: Kaen Playing and Mawlum Singing in Northeast Thailand. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1985.

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    Detailed reference work. Although geographically based in Thailand, the book deals with the Lao ethnic minority common to both countries. Miller covers song, singing in a tonal language, and performance in context. The rest of the book presents the history and performance of the kaen and an extensive study of modes.

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  • Rehbein, Boike. Globalization, Culture and Society in Laos. New York: Routledge, 2007.

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    Sociological work on Laos. Of possible interest here is the chapter called “A Globalized Music Scene” (pp. 112–122), in which Rehbein frames the market of Laotian music through the lenses of glocalization and hybridization. There is no musical discussion; rather, he writes about the nature of the contemporary marketplace.

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Malaysia

For a sweeping overview of the country’s music, Matusky and Beng 2004 should be consulted, though Malm and Sweeney 1974 offers a shorter and much less comprehensive survey. Jähnichen and Chan 2009 also contains a breadth of topics, but each topic is written about individually by different authors. Additionally, Pugh-Kitingan 2004 may serve as a survey text, but the varied essays here narrow in on Sabah. Chopyak 1987 deals with national culture rather than surveying music of the nation. For ethnographic work, consult Roseman 1991 as a regional study that also contributes to the subject of ritual and healing, and Sarkissian 2000, a historical and ethnographic piece on the Portuguese musical legacy in Malaysia. Tan 1993 is primarily a history on Malay opera. More of a literary study, Sweeney 1994 focuses on texts of Tarik Selampit.

  • Chopyak, James. “The Role of Music in Mass Media, Public Education and the Formation of a Malaysian National Culture.” Ethnomusicology 31.3 (1987): 431–454.

    DOI: 10.2307/851665Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Journal article on how modern music in Malaysia has participated in the development of national culture. Using history as a jumping-off point, the article articulates the role of the state and influence of mass media in shaping ideas about music associated with the national self.

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  • Jähnichen, Gisa, and Jan Cheong Chan, eds. Observing, Analysing, Contextualising Music. Selangor Darul Ehsan: Universiti Putra Malaysia Press, 2009.

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    Eclectic collection of essays, some on less studied topics. Subjects include healing music of the Melanau, folksongs of the Ulu Tembeling, and music education in Malaysia. Acknowledging multiculturalism, the book includes studies on the sitar in Malaysia, Chuangzuo music in Mandarin, and intercultural interaction.

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  • Malm, William, and Amin Sweeney. Malaysian Oral and Musical Traditions. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, 1974.

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    A slim monograph containing two articles, one by each author. Malm’s article on music in Kelantan gives a quick overview of the region, along with brief descriptions of genres and instruments, including music for fighting, shadow puppetry, theater, and ceremonies.

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  • Matusky, Patricia, and Tan Sooi Beng. The Music of Malaysia: The Classical, Folk, and Syncretic Traditions. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2004.

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    Fundamental survey of music, dance, and theatrical forms (with contributions by three other scholars). Written in encyclopedic fashion, this overview contains numerous musical figures, line drawings, and some photographs. Chapters are divided by topic, ranging from traditional music to contemporary. Readers should consult the index for specific genres.

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  • Pugh-Kitingan, Jacqueline. Selected Papers on Music in Sabah. Sabah: Universiti Malaysia Sabah, 2004.

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    Survey of music, instruments, and ensembles. The book is an edited collection of the author’s research papers, so each chapter may stand alone as a possible classroom reading. Topics include music of the Kadazandusun, Bajau, and Iranun peoples; the sompoton mouth organ; and the tongjungon tube zither.

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  • Roseman, Marina. Healing Sounds from the Malaysian Rainforest: Temiar Music and Medicine. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.

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    Ethnography and good example of medical ethnomusicology. Roseman gives a thoroughly contextualized account of female spirit mediums, their songs, and local perceptions of illness and healing. Her analyses stem from the continuously constructed symbolisms of ritual that illustrate the inseparable realms of music performance, spirituality, and the human body.

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  • Sarkissian, Margaret. D’Albuquerque’s Children: Performing Tradition in Malaysia’s Portuguese Settlement. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.

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    Historical and ethnographic monograph. Sarkissian reveals the identity construction inherent in a particular staged tradition in the Portuguese settlement of Malacca, relevant both for residents and tourists. History and mythology intertwine with contemporary practice to affirm a Portuguese heritage, possibly leading to a politicized museumization of culture.

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  • Sweeney, Amin. Malay Word Music: A Celebration of Oral Creativity. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka, 1994.

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    Study of the Tarik Selampit genre through the performer Mat Nor. Tarik Selampit is presented as oral literature with textual/musical formulas. Sweeney grapples with the complications of orality and narrative but does not deal with musical elements. The book has two text transcriptions of Cerita Raja Budak without translation.

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  • Tan, Sooi Beng. Bangsawan: A Social and Stylistic History of Popular Malay Opera. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

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    A history arguing that rather than being traditional, bangsawan was developed in the 19th century, breaking with traditional Malay theatre. Music was provided at different times by a Western orchestra, ronggeng ensemble, piano, and Orkestra Melayu and spanned song genre such as Malay, Arabic, Javanese, Hindustan, Western, and Chinese.

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Myanmar (Burma)

Garfias 1975 and Emmert and Yuki 1978 are the oldest of the sources and, not coincidentally, the ones that read most like music surveys, though they are quite brief. Similarly, Williamson 2000 deals with art music, though the focus here is primarily on the Burmese harp. Becker 1969 is also informed by harp and vocal traditions, but this article is an exposition on mode. Departing from these works, Douglas 2013 is a journal article dealing with ethnic minority music. Perhaps surprisingly, there are two works on popular music. Keeler 2009 is a journal article about rap, while Maclachlan 2011 is a broader and more comprehensive monograph on the popular music industry. Zaw 1940 is obviously dated but is of historical interest for those who wish to delve more deeply into older musical concepts as explained by a Burmese writer.

  • Becker, Judith. “The Anatomy of a Mode.” Ethnomusicology 13.2 (1969): 267–279.

    DOI: 10.2307/850149Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Journal article that points to further work in the author’s dissertation. There is much to be gleaned here, despite the age of this well-written article. Becker unravels how style is perceived in Burmese music by studying the nature of modes, providing some cogent definitions along the way.

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  • Douglas, Gavin. “Performing Ethnicity in Southern Shan State, Burma/Myanmar: The Ozi and Gong Traditions of the Myelat.” Ethnomusicology 57.2 (2013): 185–206.

    DOI: 10.5406/ethnomusicology.57.2.0185Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Journal article examining the music of ethnic minorities of the transitional zone known as the myelat region. Douglas examines the similarities and differences between gong and drum traditions in order to reveal how marginalized communities adapt to dominant populations and relate to one another.

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  • Emmert, Richard, and Minegishi Yuki. Musical Voices of Asia: Report of Asian Traditional Performing Arts. Tokyo: Heibonsha Limited, 1978.

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    The articles of interest here include the brief “The Music of Burma” by U Mya Oo; “Aspects of Burmese Musical Structure” by Otake Tomoyoshi, a useful analysis of modes, the tone interval system, and melody; and “Burmese Music: A Brief Discussion of Its Present Situation” by Tokumaru Yoshihiko.

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  • Garfias, Robert. “Preliminary Thoughts on Burmese Modes.” Asian Music 7.1 (1975): 39–49.

    DOI: 10.2307/833926Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Journal article representing one of the earliest musicological publications on the country. Garfias begins by explaining the seven scale tones and how they are utilized in pentatonic modes. The tones are presented with their intervals in cents and contextualized through the instruments of the hsaing waing ensemble and saung gauk.

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  • Keeler, Ward. “What’s Burmese about Burmese Rap? Why Some Expressive Forms Go Global.” American Ethnologist 36.1 (2009): 2–19.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1548-1425.2008.01106.xSave Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Journal article that addresses how rap can be understood as distinctively Burmese while retaining its extant international appeal, especially as it relates to young males. Keeler explores some lyrical content, aspects of performance, tonal language and rap, and perceptions of authenticity, and also offers his perspective on rap scholarship in general.

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  • Maclachlan, Heather. Burma’s Pop Music Industry: Creators, Distributors, Censors. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2011.

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    Ethnography situating the role of music in a repressive social context. Rather than cultural imperialism, Maclachlan theorizes, the Burmese appropriation of Western pop is innovation and political defiance. The book includes a history of pop, descriptions of music pedagogy and the industry, and the nature of censorship and cultural politics.

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  • Williamson, Muriel C. The Burmese Harp: Its Classical Music, Tunings, and Modes. Dekalb: Northern Illinois University Center for Southeast Asian Studies, 2000.

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    Thorough description of the classical arched harp called saung gauk, including history, construction, tunings, song types, singing, and modes. Williamson, a student of the harp, passes on information from her local teachers and provides numerous transcriptions, song texts, and figures that help explain technical elements of the music.

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  • Zaw, Khin. “Burmese Music (A Preliminary Inquiry).” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. London: University of London 10.3 (1940): 717–754.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0041977X0008873XSave Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Archaic journal article. While not a good source for undergraduates or beginning researchers of Burmese music, this article is a rare glimpse in English into the perspective of a Burmese scholar. Zaw situates classical music concepts among Indian, Thai, Chinese, and Burmese traditions.

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Philippines

The works collected here should probably be consulted first by those with a general interest in the Philippines or who are beginning research. For many years, Bañas y Castillo 1975 has been a reliable source for undergraduate and graduate students, providing snapshots of a wide variety of genres, performers, and other musical subjects. Hila 2004 is a much more contemporary collection of essays and traverses into much more depth on selected topics. Similarly, Santos 2005 is a collection of essays, though the tone throughout is much more musicological. Samson 1976 is a collection of interviews with and uncritical biographies of composers. Castro 2011 situates in context a number of different music genres and performers through a historical and an ethnographic narrative of 20th-century nation building.

  • Bañas y Castillo, Raymundo. Pilipino Music and Theater. Quezon City, Philippines: Manlapaz, 1975.

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    Classic text, valuable in its inclusion of historical details not available easily from other sources. The author documents musical organizations, music schools and conservatories, publications, and musical societies that might otherwise be lost to history or found only in periodicals of the day.

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  • Castro, Christi-Anne. Musical Renderings of the Philippine Nation. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199746408.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    A cultural history with special focus on 20th-century case studies that display hybridity and concerns over modernity. This work examines the interrelations between musical practices, politics, and ideologies of nation from the perspectives of the government, activists, and performers in the most well-known performing groups of the nation.

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  • Hila, Antonio. Music in History, History in Music. Manila, Philippines: University of Santo Tomas, 2004.

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    Collection of the author’s lectures organized as a short history of selected topics. This concise survey is a valuable reference work and starting point for further research and includes essays on the Spanish colonial heritage, revolutionary music, the kundiman, Francisco Santiago, nationalism, the Philippine Constabulary Band, and Lucrecia Kasilag.

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  • Samson, Helen F. Contemporary Filipino Composers: Biographical Interviews. Quezon City, Philippines: Manlapaz, 1976.

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    Basic biographies compiled from interviews. Laudatory in tone, the work is important as a record of the lives of composers, revealing insight into their thoughts on their own work. Some composers rarely documented in other source include Sister Ma, Rosalina Abejo, Rodolfo Cornejo, Alice Gamilla, and Restituto Umali.

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  • Santos, Ramón. Tunugan: Four Essays on Filipino Music. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2005.

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    Compilation of essays with perspectives on Filipino music. Highly musicological and technically analytical, these essays include analyses of the works of classical composer Nicanor Abelardo and modern composer José Maceda. The other two deal with the bâ’diw people and the UP Conservatory of Music as a nationalist institution. Accompanying CD.

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Spanish Heritage

While Spanish heritage music is not the single most studied genre of the Philippines, scholarly works on this topic represent a strong intellectual movement. Mirano 1992 is a part of an educational series and offers a good overview. Irving 2010 provides a valuable cultural history on the colonial period, and Chua 2010 gives closer examination to liturgical music found in the famous Baclayon church. Marcelo Adonay is perhaps the most well-known Filipino composer of Spanish-influenced liturgical music, and his life and work are detailed in Mirano, et al. 2009. Chongson 2000 is the most contemporary of the sources, as it is an ethnography on the musical practices associated with Holy Week.

  • Chongson, Mary Arlene. “Pasyon and Holy Week: A Study of Music, Acculturation, and Local Catholicism in the Philippines.” PhD Dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, 2000.

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    In this dissertation, Chongson illuminates local practices of Roman Catholicism in the Philippines as expressed in rituals of the Holy Week. In particular, chanting the pasyon (narrative of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ) enacts locally situated social values and reveals ideologies behind popular religiosity.

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  • Chua, Maria Alexandra Iñigo. Kirial de Baclayon, Año 1826: Hispanic Sacred Music in 19th Century Bohol, Philippines. Quezon City, Philippines: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2010.

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    Historical and regional study based on the collection of cantorales kept in the Baclayon church in Bohol. Positioning the Philippines’ Spanish heritage as localized, this book provides a history of Christianization and performance context and an explanation of mensural notation. Photos of the originals and an appendix of music are very useful.

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  • Irving, D. R. M. Colonial Counterpoint: Music in Early Modern Manila. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195378269.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    History of contrapuntal music during the Spanish colonial period. In more than a narrative pieced together from primary sources, the author posits the role music played in colonialism and conversion and interrogates the nature of intercultural encounter. Counterpoint is both the topic and a structuring metaphor for the book.

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  • Mirano, Elena. Musika: An Essay on the Spanish Influence on Philippine Music. Manila, Philippines: Sentrong Pangkultura ng Pilipinas, 1992.

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    Essay in booklet form that surveys various music and performance genres associated with the Spanish colonial era. This booklet belongs to a series of short monographs on music, theater, and the visual arts published by the Cultural Center of the Philippines and is useful as a classroom text.

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  • Mirano, Elena, Corazon Dioquino, Melissa Mantaring, et al., eds. The Life and Works of Marcelo Adonay. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2009.

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    Volume containing a biography, analyses of musical works, and a collection of pieces by this famed Filipino composer. Homage to the 19th- and early-20th-century church composer and conductor, this is the most comprehensive work available on the subject.

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Regional

Maceda 1998 is an overview of sorts and may serve as a starting point for looking at regional traditions with an emphasis on musical instruments. Although there are a number of collections of folk songs representing various regions of the archipelago, they are not easy to access outside of the Philippines except in the libraries of major research universities. Scholarly regional studies have tended to focus on the island of Mindanao. Otto 1985 and Kalanduyan 1996 are two useful works whose subject is kulintang as practiced by the Maranao and Magunidanao peoples. Cadar 1980 deals with vocal music in the same region, though the author is, along with Kalanduyan, well known as a performer–scholar of kulintang. Mora 2005 and Buenconsejo 2002 are ethnographies also focused on Mindanao, but the first examines ritual music of the non-Muslim T’boli people, while the second documents rituals of the Agusan Manobo people. Trimillos 1974 is a book chapter that describes Tausug vocal music found in Sulu, an archipelago in the southwest of the country. As a departure from these previous sources, de la Peña 2000 extends into the mountains of the northern Philippines to look at Kankana-ey performance.

  • Buenconsejo, José. Songs and Gifts at the Frontier: Person and Exchange in the Agusan Manobo Possession Ritual, Philippines. New York: Routledge, 2002.

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    Ethnography of the indigenous Manobo people, with a focus on ritual music. Buenconsejo illustrates how changes in political economy have transformed musical expression. He places emphasis on the ideological conflicts experienced through interpersonal relations. The text includes detailed analyses of ritual performances, framed by theorizations on politics and economics.

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  • Cadar, Usopay. Context and Style in the Vocal Music of the Muranao in Mindanao, Philippines. Marawi City, Philippines: University Research Center, 1980.

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    Overview of song genres and performance styles. While kulintang is the most studied genre of the southern Philippines and is a specialty of Cadar, this book focuses on vocal music and supplies encyclopedic detail on context, pedagogy, vocal elements, and style. He includes text transcriptions, a bibliography, and a glossary.

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  • de la Peña, Verne. “Traversing Boundaries: A Situated Music Approach to the Study of Day-eng Performance among the Kankana-ey of Northern Philippines.” PhD Dissertation, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, 2000.

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    Dissertation focusing on the upland Kankana-ey people who live in Benguet. The author contextualizes and explains the layered meanings of day-eng as an event and a musical performance practice, with special attention to social dynamics and how the expression both preserves and transforms aspects of perceived Kankana-ey culture.

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  • Kalanduyan, Danongan. “Maguindanaon Kulintang Music: Instruments, Repertoire, Performance Contexts, and Social Functions.” Journal of the Society for Asian Music 27.2 (1996): 3–18.

    DOI: 10.2307/834485Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Journal article in a special issue devoted to kulintang. This overview is extremely informative, presenting what the title promises from the perspective of a culture bearer. Other articles in this issue by Posner, Scholz, and Terada on Maguindanaon kulintang and Cadar, Garfias, and Otto on Maranao kolintang should be consulted.

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  • Maceda, José. Gongs and Bamboo: A Panorama of Philippine Music Instruments. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1998.

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    Pictorial book documenting traditions studied through fieldwork. An early and influential Filipino ethnomusicologist, Maceda showcases some of his life’s work. While he has other academic writings found elsewhere, he introduces this book with a rich survey of instruments and genres of ethnic groups that stands alone as a reference work.

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  • Mora, Manolete. Myth, Mimesis and Magic in the Music of the T’boli, Philippines. Manila, Philippines: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2005.

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    This ethnography on a people of the highlands of the Southern Philippines contributes to the literature on ritual. Mora contextualizes utom, an instrumental genre played by spirit mediums, and illustrates how musical sound connects to outside referents from myth, discourse, and daily life.

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  • Otto, Steven. The Muranao Kakolintang: An Approach to the Repertoire. Marawi City, Philippines: University Research Center, 1985.

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    Straightforward study of the kulintang/kolintang tradition of the Maranao in the Southern Philippines. The booklet explains various instruments and their roles in the ensemble, the form of typical pieces, important terms used to describe aesthetics, and older and newer music styles. Otto also describes some regional differences between villages.

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  • Talusan, Mary. “Cultural Localization and Transnational Flows: Music in the Maguindanaon Communities of the Philippines.” PhD Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles, 2005.

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    Though regional in its focus on music of Magindanoan people, this dissertation sheds light on the impact of migration by examining the music of Magindanoan communities in Manila and the nature of globalization as found in influences on performance from the Middle East and even the United States.

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  • Trimillos, Ricardo. “Vocal Music among the Tausug of Sulu, Philippines.” In Drama and Music of Southeast Asia. Edited by Mohd. Taib Osman, 274–289. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka, 1974.

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    Essay surveying traditions not written about at length by other scholars. More detailed information and discussion of other types of music among the Tausug may be found in Trimillos’s earlier dissertation on the topic, but this article lays out basic information in a straightforward manner that may jump-start scholars.

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Singapore

Research on the music of Singapore deals generally with specific ethnic groups, as in Lee 2009, a book on Chinese street opera, or on music that supports the idea of a unified Singaporean nation, such as in Kong 1995 and Tan 2005. Chen and Ismahil 1996 and Pereira 2011 are nonacademic works on popular music performers and are included here due to the small number of available resources and their usefulness as chronicles.

  • Chen, Andy, and Mosman Ismahil, eds. No Finer Time to Be Alive? Voices of Singapore’s English Music. Singapore: Simpleman Books, 1996.

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    Book of collected essays with nontechnical prose. This short volume offers various perspectives on the popular music scene of Singapore in the 1980s and early 1990s, with a focus on English-speaking performers and groups.

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  • Kong, Lily. “Music and Cultural Politics: Ideology and Resistance in Singapore.” Transactions of the Institute of Geographers, new ser., 20.4 (1995): 447–459.

    DOI: 10.2307/622975Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Journal article by a cultural geographer that interrogates the politics behind “national” songs of the state and socially critical pieces in the 1993 publication Not the Singapore Song Book (Singapore: Landmark Books). Kong has several other articles on song and nation in Singapore that should be consulted.

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  • Lee, Tong Soon. Chinese Street Opera in Singapore. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009.

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    Study framed by nationalism in Singapore from 1965 onward. Lee provides background on the tradition from the mid-19th century along with a survey of professional troupes. The ethnographic portions reflect on amateur opera and Confucianism, the influences of patronage and tourism, and how opera relates to concepts of culture.

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  • Pereira, Joseph. Apache over Singapore: The Story of Singapore Sixties Music. Singapore: Select Publishing, 2011.

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    Nonacademic survey of popular performers. While this short compendium lacks analyses of either music or context, it pulls together information on groups that would be unknown outside of Singapore. As such, it may serve as a valuable starting point for further study.

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  • Tan, Shzr Ee. “Manufacturing and Consuming Culture: Fakesong in Singapore.” Ethnomusicology Forum 14.1 (2005): 83–106.

    DOI: 10.1080/17411910500096745Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Journal article on a nationalist song competition meant to unite the multiracial society. The music evolved from songs associated with ethnic groups to art and pop songs. Tan shows how music narrates changing sociopolitical beliefs on racial engineering and turns toward antigovernment parody. May be paired with Kong 1995.

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Thailand

For a long while, the survey Morton 1976 was the primary source for researchers beginning work on the music of Thailand, particularly since Duriyanga 1973 is less available. Myers-Moro 1987 is a welcome follow-up to Morton, providing readers with performance context and human experience through an ethnographic approach. Wong 2001, too, is an extensive ethnography, but its focus is on Thai Buddhist ritual music. A number of scholarly works deal with ethnic minority music in Northeast Thailand, including Miller 1985, Kitiarsa 2006, and Ferguson 2010. Miller 1985 is just one of several works by the author that studies music in this region of the country. Kitiarsa 2006 and Ferguson 2010 are journal articles that expound on different types of popular music in Northeast Thailand.

  • Duriyanga, Phra Chen. Thai Music. Bangkok: Fine Arts Department, 1973.

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    Booklet that succinctly covers the instruments of the piphat ensemble, how they are played, and their tunings. The introduction relates Thai music to Western in order to give inexperienced readers an idea of differences between the two. Closes with some transcriptions and generalities about the nature of Thai classical music.

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  • Ferguson, Jane. “Another Country Is the Past: Western Cowboys, Lanna Nostalgia, and Bluegrass Aesthetics as Performed by Professional Musicians in Northern Thailand.” American Ethnologist 37.2 (2010): 227–240.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1548-1425.2010.01252.xSave Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Journal article on the live bluegrass music found in restaurants in the city of Chiang Mai. Musicians promote a cowboy mythology by singing songs that mix English and Lanna, unexpectedly establishing the authenticity of their own past through the appropriation of a foreign style.

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  • Kitiarsa, Pattana. “Modernity, Agency, and ‘Lam Sing’; Interpreting ‘Music Culture Contacts’ in Northeastern Thailand.” Crossroads: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 17.2 (2006): 34–65.

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    Journal article by a scholar from northeastern Thailand. A careful examination of lam sing, an extremely popular genre among the Isan ethnic minority, the article addresses the lack of any academic work on this topic.

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  • Miller, Terry. Traditional Music of the Lao: Kaen Playing and Mawlum Singing in Northeast Thailand. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1985.

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    Detailed reference work on traditions of an ethnic minority. In the first half, it covers facets of song, including tonal language, vocal techniques, and performance practice in different contexts. The second half deals with the most important instrument of the area, presenting its history and an extensive study of modes.

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  • Morton, David. The Traditional Music of Thailand. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976.

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    In-depth study with a focus on classical instruments and musical elements of that repertoire. Using encyclopedia-style prose, the work covers in detail instruments, playing methods, composition, tuning, scales/modes, typical rhythms, musical form, phrasing, and other aspects. Highly technical.

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  • Myers-Moro, Pamela. Thai Music and Musicians in Contemporary Bangkok. Berkeley: University of California Centers for South and Southeast Asia Studies, 1987.

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    Ethnography intended to complement the musicological and sound approach of Morton 1976, with a focus on people and context. Myers-Moro deals with professional and amateur performers, discourse and pedagogy about music, social organization, and transmission. She explains musical elements, instruments, the student-teacher relationship, and the waj khruu ceremony.

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  • Swangviboonpong, Dusadee. Thai Classical Singing: Its History, Musical Characteristics and Transmission. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2003.

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    Monograph on singing in Thai classical music. Detailed in approach, the book provides a short history before delving more fully into vocal production, text, the relationship between speech tones and pitch, and the nature of melody. The book ends with an explanation of how singing is taught.

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  • Wong, Deborah. Sounding the Center: History and Aesthetics in Thai Buddhist Performance. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001.

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    Ethnography of wai khruu, the ritual honoring music and dance teachers. Wong examines a religiously inclusive practice that is performance and performative, utilizing theoretical frameworks such as embodiment, nationalism, and gender. Her approach emphasizes ethnotheory with discourse about music and performance practice supplanting Western musicological analyses. Accompanying CD.

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Vietnam

Researchers requiring straightforward surveys should begin with Trần 1962, Phạm and Whiteside 1975, and Hùng 1998. More in-depth examinations of individual genres may be found in the essays of Nguyen 1991. Arana 1999 should be consulted early by scholars interested in cultural politics, while the ethnographic works by Olsen 2008, Norton 2009, and Cannon 2013 bring to the fore the vibrant experiences of performing and experiencing music, as related to the authors by practitioners.

  • Arana, Miranda. Neotraditional Music in Vietnam. Kent, OH: Nhạc Viêt, 1999.

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    Short monograph on a controversial topic and important music genre. This work outlines the development of neotraditional music, nhạc dân tộc cải biên, into a dominant national genre supported by the government and taught in conservatories, to the detriment of other traditions.

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  • Cannon, Alexander. “When Charisma Sustains Tradition: Deploying Musical Competence in Southern Vietnam.” Ethnomusicology 57.1 (2013): 88–115.

    DOI: 10.5406/ethnomusicology.57.1.0088Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Journal article on the music teacher Pham Thúy Hoan. Cannon uses a Weberian theory of charisma to show how teachers standardize traditional music and inculcate in students the need for action to preserve music pieces and modes of performance, thus creating an avenue for the sustaining and maintenance of tradition.

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  • Hùng, Lê Tuấn. Đàn Tranh Music of Vietnam: Traditions and Innovations. Melbourne: Australia Asia Foundation, 1998.

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    Thorough treatment of a traditional instrumental genre by a musican and composer, including historical and 20th-century iterations. The author emphasizes tradition and change since the 19th century and explains social organizations, analyses of modes, composition, notation, and performance practice. He also discusses nationalism, socialism, and this music outside Vietnam.

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  • Nguyen, Phong, ed. New Perspectives on Vietnamese Music. New Haven, CT: Yale Center for International and Area Studies, 1991.

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    This volume includes essays by Phong Nguyen on traditional genres, Terry Miller on theater, Mercedes Dujunco on Vong Cô, Hung Tuan Le and Richard Jones-Bamman on the dan tranh, and Adelaida Reyes Schramm on refugee music, as well as a select bibliography and list of recordings.

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  • Norton, Barley. Songs for the Spirits: Music and Mediums in Modern Vietnam. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009.

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    Ethnography on chau van. Norton reflects on medium rituals historically and as modern religious expressions, using the theoretical approaches of phenomenology, musical interaction, embodiment/entrainment, gender, and folklorization. He also describes the learning process he experienced and the nature of creativity within ritual restrictions. Accompanying CD.

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  • Olsen, Dale A. Popular Music of Vietnam: The Politics of Remembering, the Economics of Forgetting. New York: Routledge, 2008.

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    Ethnography of late-20th- to 21st-century popular music. Olsen posits that popular music expression and the industry are driven by the societal upheavals of war, reunification, the state’s emerging capitalist policies, and the lifting of US trade embargos in 1994. He discusses musicians, venues, recordings, karaoke, and the industry.

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  • Phạm, Duy, and Dale Whiteside, eds. Musics of Vietnam. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1975.

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    The first book on Vietnamese music in English. This ethnographic work by a folk singer and folklorist surveys regional music, folk songs, and theater music. Written in an ethnographic style, the presentation of folk songs reflects a still bifurcated Vietnam and the interrelationship between day-to-day experience and musical expression.

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  • Trần, Văn Khê. La Musique Vietnamienne. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1962.

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    An early survey of music in French, the first to overview traditional Vietnamese music for non-Vietnamese scholars. The book and author are often cited. After the historical overview, the book introduces instruments, modes, notation, and musical elements such as rhythm and melody. The table of contents is located at the end.

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Studies by Topic

While scholars of Southeast Asian Music have favored many different approaches, researchers and students may be more interested in particular topics as viewed regionally rather than by nation. As economic forces and large-scale violence have impacted Southeast Asia throughout its history, the issue of diaspora is an important one, though there are relatively few works devoted to this topic. Conversely, popular music studies have become much more attractive, especially in the last decade, and this shift is reflected in the appearance of a number of recent monographs and articles on the topic.

Diaspora

Sam and Campbell 1991 is an overview of traditional Cambodian music through ethnographic work with emigrants, but this work also includes teaching guides and classroom materials appropriate for younger students. Likewise, Pecore 2004 deals with Cambodian musicians in the Washington, DC area, with more emphasis on the imagined homeland. Reyes 1999 also attends to traditional music, in this case as it is performed by Vietnamese in the United States. Lu 2008, a multisited study of Burmese classical music, is based in Myanmar, Taiwan, and the United States.

  • Lu, Hsin-chun. “Constructing Musical Identity among Burmese Musicians in Burma and Its Diasporas.” PhD Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles, 2008.

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    This dissertation offers an overview of classical music, but also reaches out theoretically through a multisited study that also includes Taiwan and the United States. The work complicates the notion of identity, bringing into question issues of representation, authenticity, and advocacy by practitioners in different geographical contexts.

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  • Ng, Stephanie. “Performing the ‘Filipino’ at the Crossroads: Filipino Bands in Five-Star Hotels throughout Asia.” Modern Drama: World Drama from 1850 to the Present 48.2 (2005): 272–296.

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    Journal article. Based on dissertation fieldwork, this ethnography explores how diasporic musicians, while serving as global labor in hotel settings, simultaneously represent “Filipino-ness” (p. 273) and an ambiguous sense of home to travelers.

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  • Pecore, Joanna. “Sounding the Spirit of Cambodia: The Living Tradition of Khmer Music and Dance-Drama in a Washington, D.C. Community.” PhD Dissertation, University of Maryland, 2004.

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    This ethnographic dissertation on Khmer musicians in Virginia and Maryland shows how music connects performers and audiences to a distant homeland. The author also attempts to contextualize her experiences as a student of Khmer music within the various groupings of local community, the United States, and the globe.

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  • Reyes, Adelaida. Songs of the Caged, Songs of the Free: Music and the Vietnamese Refugee Experience. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1999.

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    Ethnography of Vietnamese music as revealed in diaspora. Dealing with traditional music and musical expressions of the refugee experience, this work extends from camps in Southeast Asia to settlers on the East and West coasts of the United States. Includes photos as well as musical figures and song texts.

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  • Sam, Sam-Ang, and Patricia Shehan Campbell. Silent Temples, Songful Hearts: Traditional Music of Cambodia. Danbury, CT: World Music Press, 1991.

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    Introduction to traditional Khmer music as gleaned from Cambodian American communities. The first part provides a pronunciation table, background on history and cultural context, and numerous illustrations and photographs. The second part is a handbook directed toward teachers and includes study guides, musical transcriptions, and reading notes for music professionals.

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Popular Music

Lockard 1998, cited under General Overviews and Multi-Country Studies, is the most useful single source for popular music throughout the region. Chen and Ismahil 1996 and Pereira 2011, both cited under Singapore, are nonscholarly sources that simply document popular musicians in Singapore. Likewise, Caruncho 1996 is a nonscholarly collection of essays on popular musicians and groups from the Philippines. Keeler 2009 and Maclachlan 2011, both cited under Myanmar (Burma), examine hip hop and other popular genres in Myanmar. Mamula 2008, cited under Cambodia, sees the rise of popular music in Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge; Olsen 2008, cited under Vietnam, takes into account the reunification of Vietnam. Dealing with northern Thailand, Jirattikorn 2006 surveys luk thung music throughout the 1990s, while Ferguson 2010, cited under Thailand, shows the impact of globalization in bringing bluegrass to the region.

  • Caruncho, Eric. Punks, Poets, Poseurs; Reportage on Pinoy Rock and Roll. Pasig City, Philippines: Anvil, 1996.

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    Collection of journalistic essays. There are few academic sources on Filipino popular music. Each short chapter in this useful book focuses on a singer or group from early OPM (Original Pilipino Music) to 1990s rock bands. While some essays contain minimal biographic information, others muse on lyrics and musical style.

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  • Jirattikorn, Amporn. “Lukthung: Authenticity and Modernity in Thai Country Music.” Asian Music 37.1 (2006): 24–50.

    DOI: 10.1353/amu.2006.0004Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Journal article that explores luk thung music from Northeast Thailand. This genre has ties to folk music yet also incorporates a variety of contemporary styles. Jirattikorn examines the genre’s link to notions of authenticity and analyzes its transformation from a “lowbrow” to a “middlebrow” form of entertainment (p. 24).

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Indonesia

Paralleling the history of ethnomusicological publications about the region, individual writings on Indonesian popular music are more numerous than those on other countries and include three full-length ethnographies by Baulch 2007, Wallach 2008, and Weintraub 2010. While Baulch 2007 centers on globalized popular music genres found internationally, Weintraub 2010 deals with the local music called dangdut. Wallach 2008 intermingles local and globalized forms in its discussion of a critical time period. Manuel and Baier 1986 and Yampolsky 2013 are journal articles, included because they discuss the older genres of jaipongan and kroncong that are difficult to find sources for in English.

  • Baulch, Emma. Making Scenes: Reggae, Punk, and Death Metal in 1990s Bali. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007.

    DOI: 10.1215/9780822390343Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Ethnography of subcultural music at the end of the New Order. The author theorizes her topic as a middle-class search for identity that takes advantage of media and globalization. Exploring localization as identity politics and “reflexive essentialism,” Baulch elucidates the impacts of tourism, a metropolitan superculture, and state repression.

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  • Manuel, Peter, and Randall Baier. “Jaipongan: Indigenous Popular Music of West Java.” Asian Music 18.1 (1986): 91–110.

    DOI: 10.2307/834160Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Journal article. The authors describe jaipongan of West Java, compared to kroncong and dangdut, as the only “purely Indonesian” (p. 91) popular music at the time of writing. The article presents an overview of instrumentation, history, and performance contexts of the music, with special attention on the female lead singer.

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  • Wallach, Jeremy. Modern Noise, Fluid Genres: Popular Music in Indonesia, 1997–2001. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2008.

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    Ethnographic account focusing on three genres, dangdut, pop, and underground rock. Wallach adopts a cultural-studies perspective in analyzing the musical expressions and interpretations of his consultants during a tumultuous period of democratization. Themes of interest include music and nationalism, commoditization, class, gender, and globalization. Accompanying CD.

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  • Weintraub, Andrew. Dangdut Stories: A Social and Musical History of Indonesia’s Most Popular Music. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195395662.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Ethnography including musicological analyses of the popular style. Weintraub traces the development of dangdut as a study of social relations and accounts for the genre’s transformation from popular music for the masses to modern consumer music. Other trenchant topics include perceptions about authenticity, spectacle, “the people,” and Islam.

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  • Yampolsky, Philip. “Three Genres of Indonesian Popular Music: Genre, Hybridity, and Globalization, 1960–2012.” Asian Music 44.2 (2013): 24–80.

    DOI: 10.1353/amu.2013.0018Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Journal article tracing the histories of three genres—kroncong, stambul theater music, and gambang kromong. This is a useful and thorough resource on the three topics, especially given space limitations. Beyond the descriptive sections, Yampolsky also asks what changes occurred with each genre as a result of mass media.

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