Friday, January 9, 7001

Hinduism and Buddhism in Indonesia - (c. AD 1)

Indonesia is a nation in Southeast Asia. Comprising 17,508 islands, it is the world's largest archipelagic state. With a population of 222 million people in 2006, it is the world's fourth most populous country and today the most populous Muslim-majority nation, although officially it is not an Islamic state.

The name Indonesia derives from the Latin Indus, meaning "India", and the Greek nesos, meaning "island."

The name dates to the 18th century, far predating the formation of independent Indonesia.

In 1850, George Earl, an English ethnologist, proposed the terms Indunesians — and, his preference, Malayunesians — for the inhabitants of the "Indian Archipelago or Malayan Archipelago."

In the same publication, a student of Earl's, James Richardson Logan, used Indonesia as a synonym for Indian Archipelago.

However, Dutch academics writing in East Indies publications were reluctant to use Indonesia. Instead, they used the terms Malay Archipelago (Maleische Archipel); the Netherlands East Indies (Nederlandsch Oost Indië), popularly Indië; the East (de Oost); and even Insulinde.

From 1900, the name Indonesia became more common in academic circles outside the Netherlands, and Indonesian nationalist groups adopted it for political expression.

Bastian, of the University of Berlin, popularized the name through his book Indonesien oder die Inseln des Malayichen Archipels, 1884–1894. The first Indonesian scholar to use the name was Suwardi Suryaningrat (Ki Hajar Dewantara), when he established a press bureau in the Netherlands with the name Indonesisch Pers-bureau in 1913.

During the early centuries A.D., elements of Indian civilization, especially Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism, were brought to Sumatra and Java and stimulated the emergence of centralized states and highly organized societies. Scholars disagree on how this cultural transfer took place and who was involved. Apparently, traders and shippers, not just Indian but Indonesian as well, were primarily responsible. Small indigenous states existed in the coastal regions of western Indonesia at a time when Indian Ocean trade was flourishing.

Bali is an Indonesian island located at 8°25′23″S, 115°14′55″ECoordinates: 8°25′23″S, 115°14′55″E, the western most of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east. It is one of the country's 33 provinces with the provincial capital at Denpasar towards the south of the island.

With a population recorded as 3,151,000 in 2005, the island is home to the vast majority of Indonesia's small Hindu minority. 93.18% of Bali's population adheres to Balinese Hinduism, while most of the remainder follow Islam. It is also the largest tourist destination in the country and is renowned for its highly developed arts, including dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking and music.

Balinese culture was strongly influenced by Indian, and particularly Hindu culture, in a process beginning around the 1st century AD.

Indonesia is culturally diverse, and every one of the 18,000 islands has its own cultural and artistic history and character. This results hundreds of different forms of music, which often accompanies dance and theater. The musics of Java, Sumatra, Bali, Flores and other islands have been documented and recorded, and research by Indonesian and international scholars is ongoing.

[Balinese Gamelan Gong Gede]

The most popular and famous form of Indonesian music is gamelan, an ensemble of tuned percussion instruments that include metallophones, drums, gongs and spike fiddles along with bamboo flutes. Similar ensembles are prevalent throughout Indonesia and Malaysia, but gamelan is from Java, Bali and Lombok. There are rivalries between different regions' variations of gamelan, especially Java and Bali.

Bali is home to several unique kinds of gamelan, including the gamelan jegog, gamelan gong gede, gamelan gambang, gamelan selunding and gamelan semar pegulingan, the cremation music angklung and the processional music bebonangan. Modern popular styles include gamelan gong kebyar, dance music which developed during the Dutch occupation and 1950s era joged bumbung, another popular dance style. In Balinese music you can also hear metallophones, gongs and xylaphones.

Balinese music can be compared to Javanese music, especially that of the pre-Islamic period. During that time, Javanese tonal systems were imported to Bali.

[Balinese Gamelan Gong Kebyar]

Indonesia - Bali - Gamelan Gong Kebyar: Baris; Gambang Betjak (Pelog)

[A passage of music utilizing the Pelog Scale]

Balinese gamelan, a form of Indonesian classical music, is louder, swifter and more aggressive than Javanese music. Balinese gamelan also features more archaic instrumentation than modern Javanese gamelans. Balinese instruments include bronze and bamboo xylophones. Gongs and a number of gong chimes, are used, such as the solo instrument trompong, and a variety of percussion instruments like cymbals, bells, drums and the anklung (a bamboo rattle).

There are two sizes of bamboo flutes, both used in theatrical music,

and a rebab (two-stringed spike fiddle).

Sekehe Gambuh: Sekar Leret (Pelog)

A gamelan as a set of instruments is a distinct entity, built and tuned to stay together -- instruments from different gamelan are not interchangeable.

The word "gamelan" comes from the Javanese word "gamel," meaning to strike or hammer, and the suffix "an," which makes the root a collective noun.

The gamelan has an old and mysterious origin. Apparently it predates the Hindu-Buddhist culture that dominated Indonesia in its earliest records, and instead represents a native art form.

In Javanese mythology, the gamelan was created by Sang Hyang Guru in Saka era 167 (c. AD 230), the god who ruled as king of all Java from a palace on the Maendra mountains in Medangkamulan (now Mount Lawu). He needed a signal to summon the gods, and thus invented the gong. For more complex messages, he invented two other Gongs, thus forming the original gamelan set.

There are a wide variety of gamelan ensembles, distinguished by their collection of instruments and use of voice, tunings, repertoire, style, and cultural context. In general, no two gamelan ensembles are the same, and those that arose in prestigious courts are often considered to have their own style. Certain styles may also be shared by nearby ensembles, leading to a regional style.

The varieties are generally grouped geographically, with the principal division between the styles favored by the Balinese, Javanese, and Sundanese peoples.

In Indonesia, gamelan usually accompanies dance, wayang puppet performances, or rituals or ceremonies. Typically players in the gamelan will be familiar with dance moves and poetry, while dancers are able to play in the ensemble. In wayang, the dalang (puppeteer) must have a thorough knowledge of gamelan, as he gives the cues for the music. Gamelan can be performed by itself - in "klenengan" style, or for radio broadcasts.

In Bali, the Gamelan instruments are all kept together in the balai banjar, a community meeting hall which has a large open space with a roof over top of it with several open sides. The instruments are all kept here together because they believe that all of the instruments belong to the community as a whole and no one person has ownership over an instrument. Not only is this where the instruments are stored, but this is also the practice space for the sekaha (Gamelan orchestra). The open walls allow for the music to flow out into the community where the rest of the people can enjoy it.

The sekaha is led by a single instructor whose job it is in the community to lead this group and to come up with new songs. When they are working on a new song, the instructor will lead the group in practice and help the group form the new piece of music as they are practicing. When the instructor creates a new song, he leaves enough open for interpretation that the group can improvise and as a group they will be writing the music as they are practicing it.

The Balinese Gamelan groups are constantly changing their music by taking older pieces they know and mixing them together as well as trying new variations on their music. Their music is always constantly changing because they believe that music should grow and change; the only exception to this is with their most sacred songs which they will not change. A single new piece of music can take several months before it is completed.

Men and women usually perform in separate groups, with the exception of the pesindhen, the female singer who performs with male groups.

In the West, gamelan is often performed in a concert context, but may also incorporate dance or wayang.

The tuning and construction of a gamelan orchestra is a complex process. Javanese gamelans use two tuning systems: pelog and slendro.

In gamelan, pélog has seven notes to the octave, with uneven intervals, usually played in five note subsets of the seven-tone collection (typically corresponding to the Western [Do] Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do), while sléndro is a system with five notes to the octave, fairly evenly spaced, but roughly corresponding to the Chinese major pentatonic (Do Re Mi Sol La Do). This results in sound quite different from music played in a western tuning system. Many gamelan orchestras will include instruments in each tuning, but each individual instrument will only be able to play notes in one. The precise tuning used differs from ensemble to ensemble, and give each ensemble its own particular flavour. The intervals between notes in a scale are very close to identical for different instruments within each gamelan, but the intervals vary from one gamelan to the next.

Pelog is one of the two essential scales of gamelan music native to Bali and Java, in Indonesia.

Since the tuning varies so widely from island to island, village to village, and even gamelan to gamelan, it is difficult to characterize in terms of intervals. One rough approximation expresses the seven pitches of Central Javanese pelog as a subset of 9-tone equal temperament. An analysis of 27 Central Javanese gamelans by Surjodiningrat (1972) revealed a statistical preference for this system of tuning.

As in slendro, although the intervals vary from one gamelan to the next, the intervals between notes in a scale are very close to identical for different instruments within the same Javanese gamelan. This is not the case in Bali, where instruments are played in pairs which are tuned slightly apart so as to produce interference beating. The beating is ideally at a consistent speed for all pairs of notes in all registers. This contributes to the very "agitated" and "shimmering" sound of gamelan ensembles. In the religious ceremonies that contain Gamelan, these interference beats are meant to give the listener a feeling of a god's presence or a stepping stone to a meditative state.

In Bali, all seven tones are used in gamelan semar pegulingan and gamelan gambuh. All seven tones are rarely heard in a single traditional composition. Like in Java, five-tone modes are used. There are three modes, selisir, tembung and sunaren. Gamelan gong kebyar instruments have five keys in the pelog selisir mode. Unlike Java, there are only five names for the notes, and the same five names are used in all three modes. The modes all start on the note named ding, and then continue going up the scale to dong, deng, dung and dang. This means that the same pitch will have a different name in a different mode.

Colin McPhee remarked, "Deviations in what is considered the same scale are so large that one might with reason state that there are as many scales as there are gamelans." However, this view is contested by some teachers of gamelan, and there have been efforts to combine multiple ensembles and tuning structures into one gamelan to ease transportation at festival time. One such ensemble is gamelan Manikasanti, which can play the repertoire of many different ensembles.

Balinese gamelan instruments are commonly played in pairs which are tuned slightly apart to produce interference beats, ideally at a consistent speed for all pairs of notes in all registers. It is thought that this contributes to the very "busy" and "shimmering" sound of gamelan ensembles. In the religious ceremonies that contain gamelan, these interference beats are meant to give the listener a feeling of a god's presence or a stepping stone to a meditative state.

The gamelan has been appreciated by several western composers of classical music, most famously Claude Debussy who heard a Javanese gamelan play at the Paris Exposition of 1889 (World's Fair). (The gamelan Debussy heard was in the slendro scale and was played by Central Javanese musicians.

Despite his enthusiasm, direct citations of gamelan scales, melodies, rhythms, or ensemble textures have not been located in any of Debussy's own compositions. However, the equal-tempered whole tone scale appears in his music of this time and afterward, and a Javanese gamelan-like heterophonic texture is emulated on occasion, particularly in Pagodes, from Estampes (solo piano, 1903), in which the great gong's cyclic punctuation is symbolized by a prominent perfect fifth.

Direct homages to gamelan music are to be found in works for western instruments by Béla Bartók, Francis Poulenc, Olivier Messiaen, Colin McPhee, Benjamin Britten, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Lou Harrison, and Peter Sculthorpe.

György Ligeti wrote a piano étude called Galamb Borong influenced by gamelan.

King Crimson, while not using gamelan instruments, used interlocking rhythmic paired guitars that were influenced by gamelan.

Gamelan gong kebyar is a modern style or genre of Balinese gamelan music. Kebyar means "the process of flowering," and refers to the explosive changes in tempo and dynamics characteristic of the style. It is the most popular form of gamelan in Bali, and its best known musical export.

The main instrumental forces of the gong kebyar orchestra are metallophones. There are typically four pemades and four kantillan - collectively known as the gangsa - which play the most complex parts. There are either one or two ugal, which play an ornamented version of the main melody - the pokok - of the piece. Lower pitched metallophones - jublag, jegogan, and sometimes penyacah - play increasingly abstracted versions of that melody. All of these instruments metallophones are played in pairs, with each pair tuned slightly apart. This produces a beating effect (ombak) and creates an overall shimmering, pulsating quality.

Other instruments in the orchestra include the reong - a set of twelve bossed bronze "pots"; the ketuk - another "pot" similar in appearance but larger than an individual reong; the gongs, which mark the essential structural points in the music; kendang - the drums, which control the tempo of ensemble and reinforce the meter; ceng-ceng - small, mounted hand cymbals which play fast, intricate parts, usually along with the reong; suling - flutes, which play somewhat improvised ornaments on the pokok; and, occasionally, the rebab - a spike fiddle, which plays along with the suling.

Gong kebyar music is based on a five-tone scale called pelog selisir (tones 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 of the 7-tone pelog scale), and is characterized by brilliant sounds, syncopations, sudden and gradual changes in sound colour, dynamics, tempo and articulation, and complex, complementary interlocking melodic and rhythmic patterns called kotekan.

The music is divided into 4 beat groups called Keteg, this whole rhythmic cycle is called the gongan. The gongs divide gongan into sections, gong ageng, the largest gong, marks the end of gongen, the smaller gongs mark the 4th or 8th keteg and the smallest gongs outline the pulse.

Balungan instruments (1-octave metallophones) decorate and embellish the theme. Panususan instruments (larger metallophones) decorate and embellish theme.

The kebyar style developed out of older ensembles and first emerged in the early 20th century.

[Jaw Harp (Genggong)]

Sekehe Genggong: Frog Song: Flute Solo

[Gender Wayang]

Gender Wayang (Shadow Puppets) (Slendro)

Shadow play ( shadow puppetry is an ancient form of storytelling and entertainment using opaque, often articulated figures in front of an illuminated backdrop to create the illusion of moving images. It is popular in various cultures. At present, more than 20 countries are known to have shadow show troupes.

Shadow puppetry originated during the Han Dynasty when one of Emperor Wu of Han's concubines died. The emperor was devastated, and he summoned his court officers to bring his beloved back to life. The officers made a shape of the concubine using donkey leather. Her joints were animated using 11 separate pieces of the leather, and adorned with painted clothes. Using an oil lamp they made her shadow move, bringing her back to life. Shadow theatre became quite popular as early as the Song Dynasty when holidays were marked by the presentation of many shadow plays. During the Ming Dynasty there were 40 to 50 shadow show troupes in the city of Beijing alone. In the 13th century, the shadow show became a regular recreation in the barracks of the Mongolian troops. It was spread by the conquering Mongols to distant countries like Persia, Arabia, and Turkey. Later, it was introduced to other Southeastern Asian countries. The earliest shadow theatre screens were made of mulberry paper. The storytellers generally used the art to tell events between various war kingdoms or stories of Buddhist sources. Today, puppets made of leather and moved on sticks are used to tell dramatic versions of traditional fairy tales and myths. In Gansu province, it is accompanied by Daoqing music, while in Jilin, accompanying Huanglong music forms some of the basis of modern opera.

In Indonesia (notably Java and Bali), shadow puppet plays are known as wayang kulit. In Javanese, Wayang means shadow or imagination, while Kulit means skin and refers to the leather that puppets are made from. Stories presented are usually mythical and morality tales. There is an educational moral to the plays which usually portray a battle between good and evil, with good always winning and evil running away (but eventually to return). The Indonesian shadow plays are sometimes considered one of the earliest examples of animation.
The puppets are made primarily of leather and manipulated with sticks or buffalo horn handles. Shadows are cast using an oil lamp or, in modern times, a halogen light, onto a cotton cloth background. They are often associated with gamelan drum music (or Pinpeat orchestral in Cambodia). Shadow plays are very popular even today. They are performed during sacred temple ceremonies, at private functions, and for the public in the villages. A performance can last all night long, sometimes up to six hours or until dawn.

UNESCO designated Wayang Kulit as a Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on November 7, 2003.

Slendro is a pentatonic scale, one of the two most common scales (laras) used in Indonesian gamelan music, the other being pélog. Its five pitches are roughly equally spaced within the octave, nevertheless approximately corresponding to the visual above.

From one region of Indonesia to another the slendro scale often varies widely. The amount of variation also varies from region to region. For example, Slendro in Central Java varies much less from gamelan to gamelan than it does in Bali, where ensembles from the same village may be tuned very differently.

As in pelog, although the intervals vary from one gamelan to the next, the intervals between notes in a scale are very close to identical for different instruments within the same gamelan. It is common in Balinese gamelan that instruments are played in pairs which are tuned slightly apart so as to produce interference beating which are ideally at a consistent speed for all pairs of notes in all registers. It is thought that this contributes to the very "busy" and "shimmering" sound of gamelan ensembles. In the religious ceremonies that contain Gamelan, these interference beats are meant to give the listener a feeling of a god's presence or a stepping stone to a meditative state.

For the instruments that do not need fixed pitches (such as suling and rebab) and the voice, other pitches are sometimes inserted into the scale. The Sundanese musicologist/teacher R. Machjar Angga Kusumadinata identified 17 vocal pitches used in slendro.[ These microtonal adjustments bear some similarity to Indian śruti.

Number Major scale Example frequency

1 C# +10 cents 280Hz
2 D# +40 cents 318Hz
3 F# -20 cents 366Hz
5 G# +15 cents 412Hz
6 A# -40 cents 483Hz

For experienced participants in gamelan music, the pelog and slendro scales each have a particular feeling, related to the rituals and circumstances in which the scale is used. For example, in Bali, slendro is felt to have a sad sound because it is used as the tuning of gamelan angklung, the traditional ensemble for cremation ceremonies.

The connotation also depends on the pathet (roughly, the mode) used. There are three slendro pathet used in Javanese gamelan, nem, sanga, and manyura. That is the order in which they appear in a wayang performance, which historically used only slendro pathet. Consequently, they have the implications of where they appear in the evening.

The origin of the slendro scale is unknown. It is similar to scales used in Indian and Chinese music as well as other areas of Asia and they all may have a common origin. This is very difficult if not impossible to determine.

Even within Indonesia it is difficult to determine the evolution of scales. For example, scales used in Banyuwangi, at the eastern tip of Java, are very similar to scales used in Jembrana, a short distance away on Bali. There is probably no way to document which region influenced the other, or if they both evolved together.

Dance Drama

In Hinduism, dance is an accompaniment to the perpetual dissolving and reforming of the world. The creative and reproductive balance is often personified as Shiva's wife, Durga, sometimes called Uma, Parvati, or Kali. This has significance in Balinese Hinduism, since the common figure of Rangda is similar in many ways to Durga.

In Bali there are various categories of dance (i.e. barong, legong, kecak) including epic performances such as the omnipresent Mahabharata and Ramayana. Bali dancers learn the craft as children from their mothers as young as age 4.

In Balinese dance the movement is closely associated with the rhythms produced by the gamelan. Multiple levels of articulations in the face, eyes, hands, arms, hips, and feet are coordinated to reflect layers of percussive sounds. The number of codified hand positions and gestures, the mudras, is higher in India than in Java or Bali. It has been speculated that they have been forgotten as the dance was transmitted from India to Java. Hand positions and gestures are nonetheless as important in Javanese and Balinese dance as in India. Whether in India, Indonesia or Cambodia, hands have a typically ornamental role and emphasize the dance's delicate intricacy.

Sumatra (also spelled Sumatera) is the sixth largest island in the world (approximately 470,000 km²) and is the largest island entirely in Indonesia (two larger islands, Borneo and New Guinea, are partially in Indonesia).

Sumatra was known in ancient times by the Sanskrit names of Swarnadwīpa ("Island of Gold") and Swarnabhūmi ("Land of Gold"), due likely to the gold deposits of island's highlands.[1] Arab geographers referred to the island as Lamri (Lamuri, Lambri or Ramni) in the 10-13th centuries, in reference to a kingdom near modern day Banda Aceh which was the first landfall for traders. Late in the 14th century the name Sumatra became popular, in reference to the kingdom of Samudra which was a rising power. European writers in the 19th century found that the indigenous inhabitants did not have a name for the island

Sumatra - Gending Keteng Keteng

[7001 Indonesia]