Thursday, January 9, 8200

Islam in Indonesia (c. 1200) - Java - Court Music

Java (Indonesian: Jawa) is an island of Indonesia and the site of its capital city, Jakarta. Once the centre of powerful Hindu kingdoms and the core of the colonial Dutch East Indies, Java now plays a dominant role in the economic and political life of Indonesia. Housing a population of 130 million in 2006 it is the most populous island in the world, ahead of the nation of Japan. Java is also one of the most densely populated regions on Earth.

Formed mostly as the result of volcanic events, Java is the 13th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in Indonesia. A chain of volcanic mountains forms an east-west spine along the island. It has three main languages, and most residents are bilingual, with Indonesian as their second language. While the majority of Javanese are Muslim, Java has a diverse mixture of religious beliefs and cultures.

The origins of the name 'Java' are not clear. One possibility is early travellers from India named the island after the jáwa-wut plant, which was said to be common in the island during the time, and that prior to Indianization the island had different names. There are other possible sources: the word jaú and its variations mean "beyond" or "distant." And, in Sanskrit yava means barley, a plant for which the island was famous. Other source states that the "java" word is derived from a Proto-Austronesian root word, meaning "home."

Outsiders often referred to Java and the neighboring islands by the same name, or use names inconsistently for different islands. For example, Marco Polo refers to neighbouring Sumatra as "little Java" and Ptolemy refers to Sumatra as Jaba-diu.

Islam spread into the Indonesian archipelago, including Java, in the thirteenth century. At the time, the Wali Songo (the "nine ambassadors") were the most prominent Muslim evangelists in the region. The spread of Islam (1200–1600) took place first in coastal cities, which developed into Muslim states, such as Sultanate of Demak (1475–1518) and Mataram Sultanate (1500s–1700s).

The music of Java embraces a wide variety of styles, both traditional and contemporary, reflecting the diversity of the island and its lengthy history. Apart from "traditional" forms which maintain connections to musical styles many centuries old, there are also many unique styles and conventions which combine elements from many other regional influences, including those of neighbouring Asian cultures and European colonial forms.

The gamelan orchestra, based on metallic percussion with winds and drums, is perhaps the form which is most readily identified as being distinctly "Javanese" by outsiders. In various forms, it is ubiquitous to Southeast Asia. In Java, the full gamelan also adds a bowed string instrument (the rebab, a name illustrative of Islamic influence) and voices. The rebab is one of the main melodic instruments of the ensemble (together with the xylophone "gendér") and is often played by the senior musician. Voices consist of male and female choruses, together with soloists; however, the voices are not usually featured in court gamelan (as opposed to wayang kulit, shadow puppet theatre) and are supposed to be heard discreetly in the middle of the orchestral sound. In these abstract pieces, the words are largely secondary to the music itself.

The Special Region of Yogyakarta is the smallest province of Indonesia (excluding Jakarta). It is located on the island of Java. It is the only province in Indonesia that is still formally governed by a precolonial Sultanate, the Sultanate of Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat.

The city of Yogyakarta is the capital of the province.

Yogyakarta is located in south-central Java. It is surrounded by the province of Central Java (Jawa Tengah) and the Indian Ocean in the south. The city is located at 7°47′S, 110°22′E.
The population ub 2003 was approximately 3,000,000. The province of Yogyakarta has a total area of 3,185.80 km². Yogyakarta has the second-smallest area of the provinces in Indonesia, after the Jakarta Capital Region. However it has, along with adjacent areas in Central Java, some of the highest population densities of Java.

Located within the Yogyakarta province, Yogyakarta city is known as a center of classical Javanese fine art and culture such as batik, ballet, drama, music, poetry and puppet shows. It is also famous as a center for Indonesian higher education. At Yogyakarta's center is the kraton, or Sultan's palace. While the city sprawls in all directions from the kraton, the core of the modern city is to the north.

Indonesia - Java - Court Music

[8201 Thibaut of Navarre / 8200 Java Dance / 8200 Ghana Polyrhythms]