Sustaining Musical Instruments / Food and Instrumental Music


Gisa Jähnichen (Ed.)

ISBN 978-3-8325-5319-7
284 pages, year of publication: 2021
price: 47.00 €
This 7th volume of SIMP is dedicated to two large themes that were discussed in the last Study Group Symposium held online and arranged by the Music Faculty of the University of the Visual and Performing Arts, Colombo, Sri Lanka, in March 2021: ``Re-invention and Sustainability of Musical Instruments'' and ``Instrumental Music and Food''.

Thirteen contributions were compiled in this volume relating to the first theme, while seven contributions were chosen to represent the second.

The first part of the contributions illustrates that musical instruments have a long and regionally intertwined history. Often it is hard to say who invented a specific type first as well as to answer if musical instruments were used symbolically or supported in any way supported regional cultural aspects, or what feature of musical instruments had the strongest impact on local developments.

The last seven contributions deal with various phenomena such as banquet music, ritual music and food offerings, instrumental ambience music, and festivals.

Table of Contents

Musical Instruments in Japanese School Education: Ideas, Policy, and Reality
Fujita, Rinko     pp: 1-20     2021-11-20
Keywords: Japanese schools, Music education, Standards, Musical instruments, Observation
Abstract At the last meeting of the Study Group on Musical Instruments in Lisbon (2019), my discussion focused on teaching and learning musical instruments in Japanese schools. I reported about the musical instruments applied for educational purposes from a historical perspective. Examining the introduction and development of instrument education in music classes revealed that various musical instruments have been used as teaching tools. On the one hand, some of them are a reinvention or an improvement of already existing musical instruments. On the other hand, cultural and socio-economic factors always play a vital role in adopting and mastering musical instruments in formal education. In this paper, as a follow-up study of the topic, I will give due emphasis on the musical instruments recommended in the educational guidelines. Consequently, I will examine their organology and the ideas behind applying specific musical instruments in school education.

Guqin Playing Now: Re-inventing the Past as a Creative Way of Sustaining an Instrumental Practice
Hoh Chung Shih     pp: 21-34    
Keywords: Dapu (打谱), Dahuange qinpu (大环阁琴谱), Shengqi mupu (神奇秘谱), Wuzhizhai qinpu (五知斋琴谱), Diversification

Abstract Guqin (古琴) music, a cultural practice of the Classical Chinese literati which survived and had seen a surge of interest globally in the early 21st century, can be understood as an interactive whole consisting of the instrument and the performer. The musical interface, its music notation focuses heavily on the instrumental spatial-motor relationship with the performer, with sound as product of this psychosomatic interaction. This paper will examine the various layers of this interaction between: a) notation and movement and sound; b) topography of instrument body and physicality of performers’ hand on it; c) physicality and psychology of performance, leading to questions of musicality, authenticity in expression, and intentions or functions of guqin music. By comparing particular works (such as 山居吟 and 潇湘水云) across score collections from different periods (such as 神奇秘谱 1425, 大还阁琴谱 1673, 五知斋琴谱1722), and highlighting certain peculiar fingering position and combinations in earlier music against recent transcriptions of popular music, I will raise questions on possible musical purposes and expressions in relation to the proposed performer-instrument interaction perspective, so as to further understand the evolving nature of this music making over time. This creative interaction in sonic terms as sound and as music, performance practice and musical expression as culture and aesthetics, are some aspects of what I wish to present on an ongoing reinvention of guqin as instrument and music.

Sanlele ‘Jumping’ on the Road of Glocalization: Sounds of Okinawa Tropical Champuru Culture and the World Youth Uchinanchu
Huang Wan     pp: 35-52     2021-11-20
Keywords: Sanlele, Okinawan sanshin, Hawaiian ukulele, Glocalization

Abstract Sanlele, a three-stringed musical instrument emerged in 2004 in Okinawa, is a hybrid musical instrument in-between Hawaiian ukulele and Okinawan sanshin. San, means three, comes from Okinawan sanshin. The term ‘lele’, means jumping, has a direct connection with Hawaiian ukulele. If this is true, the sanlele thus can be understood literally as ‘jumping sanshin’. During the process of hybridizing, the sanlele developed at least four versions, reflecting everchanging aesthetic preferences by musical instrument makers. This paper bases on regular fieldwork made since 2018. It argues that if taking performer into consideration, it is clearly to see that sanlele’s meaning is flexibly constructed and invoked in any performance. Through ‘switched meanings’ in performance, the sanlele switches on or off a connection with Okinawa and Hawaii. There are several backgrounds contributing to its ‘jumping’ on the road of ‘glocalization’ (R. Robertson 1995), including the Okinawan unique tropical champuru cultural spirit, the Worldwide Youth Uchinanchu Festival, and oversea Uchinanchu’s identity rethinking on the road of a ‘transnational homing’(Katie Walsh 2006). To make, to play, and to listen to the sanlele, can be a chance for musical instrument makers, performers, and people who use it to open up in dialogues with histories and cultures of Okinawa, Hawaii, and beyond.

Worlds Falling Apart — The Bowed String Instrument Esraj Amid a Demolition Scene
Karunanayake, Pamalka Manjitha and Manfred Bartmann     pp: 53-66    
Keywords: Musical synthesis, Raga theory, Esraj, Studio music, Interview

Abstract When working with Pamalka Manjitha Karunanayake in 2018, the two of us ended up recording in Cult Studios (Colombo, Sri Lanka). There, I audio-recorded Pamalka's rendering of some marvelous samples all of which showcasing his deep understanding of the raga charukeshi. Charukeshi is a highly ambivalent raga. As a result, the performance of a skilled player will always convey joy as well as grief, and oscillate between emotional qualities. On this December 4th 2018 none of us had any clue about the catastrophes that were in store. Nevertheless, I had field-recorded impressive sounds of some demolition machinery, tearing down an old building that had been used as an arts centre in Fulda, central-Germany. That was meant to gentrify the neighbourhood. I brought these somehow eerie recordings to my longtime colleague Bernie Rothauer in Salzburg to see what could be done with them in his Ôbaxé studio. Bernie loves to work with weird soundscapes. My then working title was "Making a Trance." This contribution comes as a post-workshop interview about how that music came into being.

From Japan to China: Another Interpretation of Taiko
Li Yujie     pp: 67-78    
Keywords: Taiko, Identity, Performance studies, Autoethnography

Abstract Musical instruments change all the time. When an instrument is played in different contexts, it will show different functions. The same is true of taiko. When taiko came to Shanghai, involved people established an emotional connection with taiko in the process of playing taiko for a long time, and give taiko a new cultural function under their personal understanding, bringing taiko to their life, building another connection with the life of other taiko enthusiasts. At the same time, taiko also affects the performers' thoughts. Involved people also look for the value and purpose of their own existence through taiko in the process of performing taiko.

The Man Who Does Not Sell
Meddegoda, Nishadi     pp: 79-90    
Keywords: Sri Lanka, Organology, Biography, Musicianship

Abstract This paper focuses on one of the skilled individuals who invented a number of musical instruments which are not intended to be used or experienced by others. The instrument maker lives in an outskirt of Kandy. He has crafted many new musical instruments in addition to the replicas of musical instruments used for pop music. He articulates that he crafted these instruments not for earning money or to become popular as a good craftsman or musician but for his own personal satisfaction. The extended discussion with him implied that It is not that “he just makes instruments for his own satisfaction” but there are other reasons tied together with his background, crafting skills and musical interests, opinions about the society and his world view. In this research, his views on music, musical instrument playing, crafting and commoditization of musical instruments are explored. previous literature on organology, musical instrument making, and some socio-musicological studies are investigated in this regard as well as personal interviews with the craftsman were conducted in order to gather information that will be finally discussed. This research may provide some insights towards the future of creative arts and an un-industrialization of instrumental music, which can be seen as a contribution to sustaining human societies.

The Annah Rais Pratuokng and the Practical Appearance of Re-invented Musical Instruments
Musib, Ahmad Faudzi     pp: 91-112    
Keywords: Pratuokng, Bidayuh, Annah Rais, Tube zither, Tuning

Abstract The Annah Rais pratuokng is a traditional musical instrument of the Bidayuh. It is also known as a simple idiochord chordophone. It is made of a petung bamboo, and the sound faculty is equivalent to the functions of the Bidayuh community gong set. The sound radiator meaning is made up of tawak, satuk and canang. A similar tube zither made of bamboo, named pretong or sretong, is used by the Bidayuh of Bau. The three-string sound radiators are kromong, canang, gong, plus the tawak and gedabak. Pratuokng sound radiators are like the gongs of the Bidayuh. According to Horsbourgh's observation, "... gongs... are both a musical instrument and a representation of wealth”2. The Annah Rais Bidayuh gong set, privately owned by the villagers, can be typically played every year for ritual practice as well as for entertainment during the Gawai celebration on the first and second June. The audio collection of the Ethnology Section of the Sarawak Museum provides similar recordings from other occasions than played duringGawai Panggah. Also, some groups’ celebrations among the Bidayuh Biata, Bidayuh Selakau, and Lara, Bidayuh Lara were recorded. Few recordings were collected in Annah Rais between 1988 and 1998, which still maintain the same settings as those recorded in Kupuo Saba of Annah Rais to this date. In the context of the use of gongs during celebrations, the representations of gong tones can also be found on a pratuokng. One point of debate in the literature about tube zithers is, whether the voice functions found in the gong collection mimic the string voices found on the pratuokng or the other way round. Does this fact serve as a featured phenomenon to the actual appearance of re-invented musical instruments? Does it contribute to its sustainable appearance today?

Re-inventing and Re-shaping the Symphony Orchestra for Sustainability
Ng Kea Chye, Gerald     pp: 113-124    
Keywords: Symphony orchestras, Cultural crisis, Sustainability, Digitization, Re-shaping approaches

Abstract The performing arts industry has always been an ever-evolving industry due to the creative nature of this industry. Although the symphony orchestra has not seen much physical dramatic changes since perhaps the late 1800’s, current events worldwide such as the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the economic uncertainty as well as technological advancements has seen the operations of many symphony orchestras hitting the pause button, many unsure if the orchestra might resume their operations. Symphony orchestras worldwide are forced to come out with various ideas to re-invent and re-shape itself. This paper aims to examine the possibilities of how a symphony orchestra, an institution that is heavily dependent on audiences filling up their concerts is re-inventing itself in order to sustain their very existence. Ongoing efforts such as digitalising ‘live’ concerts through digital platforms and other arising issues such as choice of technological equipment, cost and revenue as well as the perception of orchestral musicians and audiences of such re-invention and re-shaping of the symphony orchestra will be discussed. The findings from this paper may be used to further develop the ideas of re-invention and re-shaping symphony orchestras based on the demands and needs of each individual orchestra.

Reaching Our Roots: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Promoting Sustainability of the African Blackwood Tree
Palmer, Katherine     pp: 125-136    
Keywords: Sustainability, Environmental education, Music education, Community music

Abstract Prized by instrument makers for its tone and resiliency since the early nineteenth century, the African Blackwood tree (Dalbergia melanoxylon), also known as granadilla or mpingo (Swahili), faces an uncertain future. Often overharvested and inefficiently used, African Blackwood has been on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s “near threatened” red list since 1998 and is categorized by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) in Appendix II, which restricts and controls trade. As instrument manufacturers, makers, and musicians continue to purchase the wood, there is little recognition of the sustainability issues around the tree. Furthermore, many communities that harvest the wood are unaware of the musical nature of the product. The purpose of this presentation is to introduce an interdisciplinary approach to conservation of and education about African Blackwood. Since 2010, Daraja Music Initiative (DMI), a 501(c)3 nonprofit and a Tanzanian NGO, has provided music and conservation education in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania, where mpingo is the national tree. By bridging seemingly divergent disciplines, DMI has raised awareness of sustainability issues both in Tanzania and internationally through the global clarinet community. This presentation will give a brief historical overview of African Blackwood trade, highlight the major conservation issues, and provide information about developing partnerships for increased sustainability in a community setting.

Gäwula: The Invention of a Hybrid Drum in Sri Lanka
Peiris, Eshantha     pp: 137-146    
Keywords: Gäwula, Sri Lanka, Percussion instruments, Cultural innovation

Abstract In the late 1990s, the Sri Lankan drummer Piyasara Shilpadhipathi invented a new drum that he named ‘gäwula’ The gäwula was conceived of as a hybrid between two traditional Sri Lankan drums, namely the double-conical-shaped gäṭa beraya and the barrel-shaped dawula, which are associated with two different regional ritual traditions. A double-headed drum that is tied around the drummer’s waist, the gäwula features the timbres of the gäṭa beraya on one drumhead and those of the dawula on the other drumhead. As prescribed by the drum’s inventor, the gäwula can be played either with two bare heads or with one bare hand and a stick in the other hand, similar to the dawula. Shilpadhipathi also composed a vocabulary of drum-patterns that can be played on the gäwula and created a systematic method for learning to play it. This article discusses the production of the gäwula, the ideologies behind its invention, and the contexts within which it has been practised and performed. Using the history of the gäwula as a case study, this paper explores how cultural discourses and individual agency can influence the invention of new musical instruments.

To Stamp One's Feet: Resurgence of the Artesa as an Identity Reassessment in Afro-Descendant Communities of Costa Chica, Mexico
Rodríguez, Carlos Ruiz     pp: 147-162    
Keywords: Afro-Mexican, Afro-descendant, Fandango, Artesa, Music revival

Abstract An artesa is a large zoomorphic stamping platform in the shape of a cattle related animal (horse, bull or cow) made of one piece of parota tree wood (Enterolobyum Cyclocaroum). Until the midtwentieth century, most collective Afro-descendant celebrations in Costa Chica region (Mexico) implied a fandango de artesa, where stamping dance on an artesa –along with other musical instruments and singing– was the center of the festivity. Nevertheless, since then fandangos began to gradually fall into neglect until practically disappear. In the 1980s, through the intervention of some anthropologists, the fandango underwent into a process of resurgence. Firstly, immersed in the agenda of the institutional programme ‘Our Third Root’ -dedicated to the cultural recognition of Afro-descendants- and later on embraced by a local movement concerned with ‘Afro-Mexican’ political recognition, artesa resurgence went through substantial changes. This process brought new functions, meanings, performative formats, construction and esthetical values to this musical instrument. Based on regional field-work this paper explores artesa’s recent status as a selective cultural process where a re-interpretation and a new narrative have shaped a particular resurgence of this instrument and its contexts of appearance.

Re-invention through Recycling: Tharanga Beraya
W.M.D.A.L.B. Tilakaratna     pp: 163-172    
Keywords: Coconut Shells, Re-invention of instruments, Sustainability, Tharanga beraya, Thammattama

Abstract Sri Lanka is a country where the coconut plant (Cocos nuceifera) is of utmost importance to daily activities. However, while the coconut fruit is used in meals every day, the shell is usually discarded in modern times. This is a case study that aims to investigate the modern application of the usually discarded object, the coconut shell, within a musical instrument and the quality and feasibility of such a musical instrument. First, the importance of the coconut plant in Sri Lankan culture and daily life is to be discussed, through which, the historic application of coconut shells as a raw material to construct musical instruments is to be investigated. Leading on to question the modern use of coconut shells as such, a selected instrument, the tharanga beraya was then investigated. Finally, comparisons of this to the traditional percussion instrument, the thammattama, was considered. While this research is qualitative in nature, discussions and field observations were used as a primary source and the relevant texts and articles on matters were used as secondary sources of information. Audio-video techniques were used to document the relevant data. Conclusions and thoughts on the future for this instrument were brought out in the end.

Sustainability and Re-invention: The Pot Drum in Sri Lanka
Weerakkody, Iranga S     pp: 173-182    
Keywords: Bummadiya, Thunpata beraya, Sri Lanka, Pot drum, Membranaphone, Sustainability

Abstract As indicated by archeological and literary sources, the pot drum has been a membranaphone of popular use since the Anuradhapura kingdom. It has been seen in various forms as Kumbha beraya, kala beraya, bummadiya or bimbisaka. This drum, being made out of clay in the shape of a gourd with an elongated neck or in that of a clay pot had a stretched skin of goat hide, monitor lizard hide or monkey hide. The use of these raw materials and how it brings harmony between the pottery industry and villagers in the processes of making the bummadiya is of importance. Through this research, understanding the Sri Lankan pot drum as a primary musical instrument and studying its historical and cultural aspects served as a foundation. After which, the objectives of identifying the role the pot-drum plays in sustainability were discussed. Finally, an investigation into an evolutionary stage of the pot drum in modern times, the thunpata beraya, was investigated. While this is a qualitative research, literary and archeological sources were used to collect data through discussions and field visits. The cultural texts and articles written throughout the ages on the Sri Lankan pot drum were used as secondary sources. Judgment sampling was the background behind the selection of data sources. Audio-visual methods were also used in collecting data. The human activity of using a material such as clay to express creativity in the form of music is of significance here.

Banquets, Power, and Identity - Mediation of Power and Identity through Royal Feasts and Banquets in Persia
Astaneh, Sahereh     pp: 183-192    
Keywords: Historical archaeology, Ancient Persia, Banquet, Power, Identity

Abstract Feasting and banquets played a significant role in defining and strengthening cultural identity. Archaeological-historical studies demonstrated that feasting and banquets were more than a time for celebration and consuming food and wine, they could be of political importance and they have played a major role in the negotiation of power and identity. Indeed, they have contributed to historical transformations. The richest source of banquets in ancient Persia dates back to ‘Chogha Mish’, the largest pre-Sassanian site in the Susiana area, in the western province of Khuzestan, a state located in today’s Iran. Artifacts from ancient Persia, especially from the Achaemenid (539–330 BC) and its successor the Sassanid Empire, have proven to contain extremely valuable information to shine light on the nature of the royal banquets. This paper examines artefacts and a mural from different Persian eras depicting such royal banquets. It focuses on these remnants of culture which allow a glimpse into the Persian past.

Rituals with Music and Food, Food with Music and Rituals
Jähnichen, Gisa     pp: 193-204    
Keywords: Vietnam, Malaysia, Laos, Ritual music, Food

Abstract There is a number of human rituals that are accompanied by sacrifices of food and drinks. Ritual practices of different people are a huge resource of these habits that are found all over the world. This research paper will focus on the role of instrumental music in guiding these sacrifices among selected communities inhabiting Southeast Asia’s mainland. Through a multi-perspective observation this research aims at showing order principles, musical requirements, and their variability, which will be analysed and discussed. Long term field work and participant observation over a specific period of time are the basic preconditions for this research. In addition, this research is also to question basic principles of conveying research outcomes and the use of well-established research tools in order to categorize and identify types of musical and ritual behaviour. The perspective of food offerings may shift the focus from musicality within rituals to the focus on social digestion in the context of sustaining communities.

Instrumental Ambient Music and Musical Entertainment in Sri Lankan Tourism
Meddegoda, Chinthaka Prageeth     pp: 205-216    
Keywords: Sri Lankan society, Ambient music, Tourism, Musical advertisement, Interviews

Abstract This research explores how instrumental music has been used as ambient music in selected popular tourist places in Sri Lanka. The domain of the study is confined within the coastal areas in Western Province where tourism is active at present. The places of catering, fast food, and various eateries and drinks have facilitated certain ambient music which is mostly chosen purposefully to attract and to entertain the guests. There must be a certain joint feature of opinions among food entertainers on matching food taste with instrumental music. The main purpose of this study is to explore how Sri Lankan food entertainers facilitate instrumental music to attract and to entertain their guests while consuming food and other attractions. Under the given circumstances of fading large scale tourist business, local business is still flourishing. The choice of entertainment might have been changed. Also, many online possibilities were created by using ambient music. All these current changes need to be considered while analysing collected material. This short-term research is seeking answers to the following questions: How are tourist demands assessed? Who is involved in decision-making about the repertoire, presentation, and arrangement? How is quality output controlled? Which kind of feedback from various participants (audience/ musicians/ organizers) may lead to corrections? The main method is interviewing and surveying. The surveys have to be carefully created and they have to include basic elements about formal and informal music education, peer behavior, and expectations of supervising companies or institutions.

Digital Representations of Chinese Teahouse Music
Moore, Corey     pp: 217-228    
Keywords: Representation, Digital media, Guqin, Traditional Chinese music

Abstract Platforms such as YouTube feature materials titled “Teahouse in Ancient China - Historical Ambience XXABSTRACT Music” or “Tea Ceremony Music”. Prima facie, these have parallels with the modern Western concept of the “coffee shop playlist”, which has become quite commonplace as a study or work aid. However, the passive listening habits associated with these kinds of playlists contrast with the varied entertainment culture experienced in the functioning teahouses of modern China, where performative aspects are the focus, for example. In this paper, I explore how Chinese teahouse music is presented on YouTube, drawing comparisons between playlists accompanied by static images and samples of recorded performances found on the platform. Finally, I discuss the potential problems arising from such representations of the Chinese teahouse.

The Meaning of the Deer Representation on Dambus from Bangka Island
Pratama, Onny Nur     pp: 229-238    
Keywords: Indonesia, Bangka Island, Deer symbolics, Settlement history, Food and music

Abstract Dambus is one of the art products (traditional music) found on Bangka Island used by the landbased people. They are obviously related to Malay people. Dambus is a term used for musical instruments, music (ensembles), patterns, techniques, songs and dances. The dambus art in its ensemble consisted of a tawak-tawak, a larger main drum, anak drum that was smaller in size, a tambourine and a gong. The dambus has a unique feature. It is the instrument head shape that resembles a deer head which contrasts with Malay beliefs namely with the teachings of Islam. In Islamic teachings it is strictly prohibited to make something similar to a statue or idol as the form of a dambus. The Bangka community also had the activity of ngelapun or berasuk in the past. Ngelapon or berasuk is a community activity that hunts deer in groups using a type of Lelapun (trap). During the Berume event, tradition of Ngetep Nasik Baru, Rusa's animal meat was one of the side dishes presented during the process of preparing food from the first crop, called ‘new rice’. This research will explain how all these things are interconnected to get a common thread about the meaning of the deer head representation on the musical instrument dambus of Bangka.

Sinhala New Year: The Banku Rabana and its Relationship to Food Culture
G.A.C. Sri Palitha     pp: 239-250    
Keywords: Banku rabana, Communication, Food culture, Percussion, Sinhala New Year

Abstract The main livelihood of Sri Lankan village life is the agricultural industry centered on the rice plant. This culture has incorporated a sub-culture surrounding food sprouting from this as well. Throughout history, the harvest brought home has been consumed in a festive setting. This is most clearly seen in the month of April, with the dawn of the New Year. The banku rabana is a traditional percussion instrument that is 3-4 feet in diameter and is made to represent the sun. Played by four individuals sitting around the rabana this is a custom spread island wide with variations indigenous to regions. This is a qualitative study through which the following aims are discussed. First, a rough outline of the traditional New Year festival and the significance of the banku rabana. Then, the communication methods involving the banku rabana, the different playing styles and related vocal verses as well as their hidden meanings were investigated. Finally, the aspects of food culture brought out through the banku rabana are discussed. Discussions and field observations were carried out as primary sources. Furthermore, experience in the field of Ayurveda medicine and food culture was used as a primary source here. The secondary sources used were studying the relevant texts on the topics relevant to the research. This culture is an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Sri Lanka.

Exploring Ethiopian Instrumental Music and Musicians
Teffera, Timkehet     pp: 251-272    
Keywords: Ethiopia, Instrumental music, Ambience music, Light music, Hotels and restaurants as venues

Abstract In many Ethiopian traditional cultures, vocal music dominates the musical repertoire. It is only in a handful of traditional contexts, where solely instrumental music becomes part of the repertoire. Contrary to this, however, the modern music domain in Ethiopia offers a wide range of instrumental music. The root of instrumental music in Ethiopia is, most probably, connected with the emergence of independent/private bands in the early 1960s. These modern bands with highly trained Ethiopian musicians, among others, offered ‘light-music’ in hotels and restaurants. In the initial periods, their repertoire mainly entailed re-arranged international melodies. The advancement of the modern music paved a way to increasing musical creativity over the decades to follow. My presentation will attempt to look at instrumentals performed with western music instruments, of which the large part derives from already existing traditional and modern songs. Representative musical pieces will be given special focus in terms of their instrumentation, rearrangement, melodic and metro-rhythmic structures, form and style along with their function, meaning and understanding.

  • musical instruments
  • instrumental music
  • anthropology
  • ethnology
  • food


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