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Part I: Issues and Processes. Introduction to Southeast Asia as a Musical Area.

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Presentation on theme: "Part I: Issues and Processes. Introduction to Southeast Asia as a Musical Area."— Presentation transcript:

1 Part I: Issues and Processes

2 Introduction to Southeast Asia as a Musical Area

3 Similarities in Southeast Asian Music bronze gongs, xylophones, bamboo flutes importance of vocal music aspects of shared geography and history

4 Differences in Southeast Asian Music contrasting people and languages variation in religious practices differing availability of resources

5 Mainland Southeast Asia Seven nations  Burma (now known as Myanmar)  Cambodia  Laos  Malaysia  Singapore  Thailand  Vietnam

6 Island Southeast Asia Three nations:  Indonesia, The Philippines, Brunei  Borneo (includes East Malaysia, Kalimantan [part of Indonesia] and Brunei)

7 Boundaries are largely colonial inventions Laos - created from the spoils of war Indonesia - created when the people attained self-rule from the Netherlands East Indies Thailand was never colonized

8 Lowland and Upland all except Singapore include lowland plains, major rivers, and upland areas almost all are tied in some way to the ocean most are affected by earthquakes and volcanoes dominant populations live in the lowlands nonmainstream minorities live in the uplands

9 Regionalism diversity of population individuality in language, literature, clothing, cuisine, music regionalism is tolerated (or celebrated) in the context of a mainstream culture regionalism is more problematic when regions are near-equals or rivals

10 Urban and Rural Cities are the least “traditional” and reflect diverse origins:  Hindu-Buddhist court cities  Commercial cities  Islamic cities  Colonial administrative cities

11 Urban and Rural (cont.) Cities are the most modern and internationalized places:  most modern: Singapore, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City  least modern: Rangoon (Yangon), Vientiane, Phnom Penh

12 Urban and Rural (cont.) Villages tend to be more traditional and less wealthy  cultural life centers on cycles of agriculture, religion, and the calendar  songs and rituals are associated with seasonal agricultural festivities  music specialists are rare; anyone can play  instruments tend to be simple and locally made  theme of courtship is pervasive in songs

13 Classical, Folk, Popular: the problem with labels classical: connotation of sophistication, high value, expressive of political and economic power; assumption of wealthy aristocracy folk: there has to be a “folk” – often one of the nonmainstream minorities popular: mediated, widely disseminated; most developed in countries with the greatest wealth and urbanization

14 Networks of Power and Influence power is centered on a person, place or object dynamic rulers with many followers wield power in a radiating field places like Java’s Borobudur or Cambodia’s Angkor Vat are invested with

15 Networks of Power and Influence (cont.) power ascribed to sacred sites objects like musical instruments, bronze drums, daggers, masks have power in an ensemble, the gong usually has the most power

16 Two Approaches to Listening the sensual response the intellectual response

17 Elements of music medium (what makes the sound) melody (organized succession of tones) rhythm and meter (organization of sounds in time)

18 Elements of music (cont.) texture (relationship among the music’s elements) form (structural organization) timbre (qualities of sound) extramusicality (nonmusical meaning)

19 Questions for discussion How do natural resources and geography have an impact on the production of music? How does your own culture view power in terms of people, places, and objects? How is that concept different from Southeast Asian views of power?

20 Questions for discussion (cont.) Have you ever tried to explain a particular genre of music to an outsider to the culture (your parents, for example)? What worked and what didn’t? How do the elements of music differ between here and Southeast Asia?

21 Southeast Asia in Prehistory

22 Early Agricultural Communities One of the longest histories of human settlement Hunters and gatherers collected forest products (resins, beeswax, aromatic woods)

23 Early Agricultural Communities Oldest evidence dates to at least 3000 BCE or earlier in NE Thailand Metallurgy in the area is different from that of China or India; its origins are still obscure and subject to debate

24 The Coming of Civilization India and China were seen as outsiders imposing systems of statecraft and administration on unsophisticated local societies Local people formed complex social and political systems before the rise of the earliest recognizable Hinduized states

25 The Coming of Civilization Explosion of bronze technology between c and 500 BCE, esp. Vietnam Bronze drums of the Dong Son Period (after c.500 BCE) High degree of decoration, including stars, stylized animals, cranes, domestic scenes, processions, musical instruments being played

26 Prehistory in the Islands In contrast to the mainland, the archaeological record is less abundant Bronze and iron appeared around 500 BCE Bronze Dong Son drums scattered across the archipelago

27 Asian Art and Music in Prehistory – What We Know Music appears among the arts in the Dong Son record Drums  Associated with powerful leaders  Possibly sacred instruments, invested with supernatural powers

28 Asian Art and Music in Prehistory – What We Know (cont.) Depictions of people playing in interlocking patterns Other instruments appear on the drums:  free-reed mouth organs  hand-held cymbals  flutes  bells

29 Questions for Discussion In the absence of a written record, how can we find out about early music? How can pictures of music and musicians be misleading?

30 Questions for Discussion (cont.) Is contemporary music in the United States related to music performed prior to the arrival of the Europeans? Why is it important to know about agricultural patterns and metallurgy when you are studying music?

31 Waves of Cultural Influence

32 Precontact Musical Sources Southeast Asia is distinctive for the uniqueness of each culture’s response to outside influences, especially from India, China, and the West

33 Precontact Musical Sources Musical instruments  lithophones  xylophones  bronze instruments  free-reed pipes/mouth organs  Jew’s harps  tube zithers  locally unique instruments

34 Animistic rites  mixing of practices with outside influences  differences in upland traditions

35 Indian Culture in Southeast Asia Indian kingdoms were the foundations of Burmese, Cambodian, Javanese, and Thai civilizations

36 Indian Culture in Southeast Asia (cont.) Southeast Asian peoples received and adapted to their own needs many aspects of Indian civilization, including:  Religion  Architecture  Sculpture  Decoration  Literature  Language  Scripts  farming practices  Rituals  Concepts  Music

37 Chinese Music in Southeast Asia and its Legacy First Chinese arrive in the 1600s  Most arrive from Southern China in the 19 th and 20 th centuries  Chinese tend to dominate local economies  Chinese musical influence manifests in two ways the maintenance of genuinely Chinese musical genres the influence of these original genres in style and organology

38 Chinese Music in Southeast Asia and its Legacy (cont.) Vietnam shows the most Chinese includes, modified to local tastes  many musical instruments originated in China  most Chinese music is played in private situations, clubs, funerals, festivals, and theatrical performances

39 Chinese Music in Southeast Asia and its Legacy (cont.) other Southeast Asian countries show lesser degrees of musical influence  many have strong Chinese-run business districts  political issues have an impact on freedom of musical expression

40 Islam in Southeast Asia most Muslims in Southeast Asia live in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Brunei fastest growing religion in the world because of Southeast Asia’s population growth; most are Sunni Muslims

41 Islam in Southeast Asia (cont.) Islam and Music  Adapts to local customs concerning the performance of music  vocalists are often of a higher status than instrumentalists instrumentalists are sometimes regarded by religious authorities to be just short of respectability

42 Islam in Southeast Asia (cont.) Instruments associated with Islam  frame drums  barrel drums  plucked lutes  oboes Increasing popularity of Islamic-influenced music, especially pop

43 The West All of Southeast Asia has been influenced by the West to varying degrees Burma and Singapore try to curb Western influences, while the Philippines and Thailand are much more open

44 The West (cont.) Vietnam  colonized by the French  marked preferences for French culture by Vietnamese elite  symphony orchestra and music conservatory

45 The West (cont.) Laos  poverty, isolation and political conservatism have limited Western influences outside of popular music

46 Cambodia  Prior to 1970, strong French influence and nightclub scene  current Western influences restricted to pop music

47 The West (cont.) Thailand  no history of colonization, so Thais could pick and choose what they liked  blossoming of Western culture and music, including social dance  appearance of brass bands, symphony orchestras, popular music

48 The West (cont.) Burma  colonized by the English  very little Western influence outside the capital of Rangoon (Yangon)

49 The West (cont.) Malaysia  former British colony looks very Western (orderly traffic, advanced  educational system, relaxed importation laws)  strong presence of popular music from abroad

50 The West (cont.) Indonesia  former Dutch colony (economic colonization based on spice trade)  strongest influence from popular music abroad  every popular style in the west is also done locally (rap, country, etc.)

51 The West (cont.) Philippines  former colony of Spain (via Mexico)  strong missionizing efforts by Roman Catholic friars resulted in almost complete conversion of the population and the disappearance of pre-Christian music  classical music scene, religious performances, locally-produced pop music

52 Questions for Discussion How has your country’s colonial history influenced its music? What cultures besides England have had an impact on music here? What influence have religious traditions (Jewish, Christian) had on music? How and what have immigrant cultures contributed to the development of music here?

53 Culture, Politics, and War

54 When Politics Meet the Arts Art both reflects and is reflected by political events Official controls over the arts are present everywhere, but especially since the start of the twentieth century Controls include manipulation of messages, support or lack thereof, censorship

55 Mainland Southeast Asia Vietnam  music as tool for propaganda and patriotism  traveling troupes broadcast secretly  creation of modernized, neotraditional music

56 Mainland Southeast Asia (cont.) Laos  US-supported teams of singers doing anti- communist themes  performers fled after 1975; others were “reeducated”

57 Mainland Southeast Asia (cont.) Burma  government keeps Western influence to a minimum  newly composed music, imported music and publications must pass censorship committees  non-Burman state arts have been manipulated for political purposes

58 Mainland Southeast Asia (cont.) Cambodia  Khmer Rouge tried to reinvent Cambodian civilization on a simple agrarian model  destruction of all sophisticated aspects of the culture, including most forms of music, theater, and dance  slow redevelopment efforts, artist tours abroad

59 Mainland Southeast Asia (cont.) Thailand  no war in Thailand since 1767  Thai classical music suppressed after 1932 coup d’état in favor of policy of Westernization  growing number of music departments and exposure to classical and regional musics

60 Mainland Southeast Asia (cont.) Malaysia  highlighting and support of Malay-based art forms at the expense of Chinese and Indian art forms

61 Island Southeast Asia Indonesia  strong role of the government in the music industry  support of local traditions follows national motto: Unity in Diversity  government expresses disapproval or bans particular arts or individual songs if they are perceived to be contrary to national goals

62 Island Southeast Asia (cont.) The Philippines  Muslim insurgency in the South has led to suspicion of Muslim musicians  politically outspoken Filipino artists thrive in rap, rock, and singer-songwriter genres

63 Questions for Discussion What changes have occurred in American music (rap, country, pop) since the Iraq war began? How does music get manipulated by the government or other people in power? Are certain musical genres here privileged at the expense of others? How do politics meet the arts in your own experience?

64 The Impact of Modernization on Traditional Musics

65 Loss of Traditional Contexts changes in agricultural practices urbanization revival movements changes in patronage wars loss of regionality

66 Compositional Innovations compositions using traditional instruments and procedures compositions based on non-indigenous instruments and using Western forms many composers are anonymous composition vs. improvisation

67 Tourism exotic images of happy, smiling natives in colorful dress searching for authenticity marketing to visitors the importance of flexibility

68 Questions for Discussion How is music in the United States influenced by changing contexts for performance? What would you want foreign tourists to experience in American music? Why? What are the differences between composition in contemporary classical, folk, and popular musics? What is your image of a composer in each genre? What does improvisation mean to you?


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