Indonesian Lecture Demonstration

On Monday, October 12, 2015, Duquesne University's Visiting Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, Dr. Meghan Hynson, hosted a lecture demonstration on West Javanese (Indonesian) music and dance with several esteemed guests from Institut Seni Budaya Indonesia (ISBI) (Institute of Indonesian Cultural Arts), a reputable university of fine arts in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. The demonstration was conducted as part of the MUSC 415/GMLI 515 course on World Music, but was also open to all faculty and students of the Mary Pappert School of Music.

Amongst the esteemed guests was Dr. Hj. Een Herdiani, a dance performer, scholar, and current Director (Rektor) of the Indonesian College of Arts and Culture (ISBI). For more information, please visit her website: Dr. Indra Ridwan, who recently completed his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2014, led a majority of the lecture demonstration, For a video profile about Indra Ridwan, see: Also performing and helping with the lecture demonstration was Masyuning, one of Indonesia's most sought-after sinden (singers). She performs regularly (7-8 times per month) in a popular wayang golek (puppetry) troupe and has made many recordings of contemporary Sundanese music. Asep Nugraha, who is a kecapi (zither) and suling (flute) teacher at ISBI performed several traditional Sundanese musical pieces and Wawa Saptarini, a dance student at ISBI, performed a modern rendition of the Sundanese jaipongan dance.

Throughout the lecture demonstration, Duquesne students were introduced to Indonesia's diverse musical traditions, scales, and performing traditions before focusing specifically on the area of West Java, just one of the 16,000 plus islands existing in the Indonesian archipelago. Dr. Ridwan engaged students in singing interlocking patterns called senggak and later invited students to come up on stage where they were able to try out Sundanese salendro gamelan (an orchestra of bronze, metal-keyed knobbed pots and gongs) hands-on. Within minutes, students were playing a typical musical cycle while others sang the interlocking patterns or moved to a simple dance. Later in the demonstration, Asep Nugraha demonstrated several forms of kecapi (stringed zither) and suling (bamboo flute) while Masyuning sang traditional Sundanese folk songs in an iconic West Javanese style. To conclude the demonstration, Wawa Saptarini gave an energetic performance of the jaipongan dance while wearing a vibrant costume inspired by traditional Indonesian dress and hair ornaments.

It was a privilege to have such esteemed performing artists come and share their musical culture and expertise with Duquesne students. The students and faculty in attendance had a unique opportunity to engage with Sundanese music and it is hoped that many more cross cultural collaborations and hands-on demonstrations like this will take place in the future.

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