Listening to an Earlier Java: Aesthetics, Gender, and the Music of Wayang in Central Java. In "old-style" Central Javanese wayang, still known to many shadow-puppet performers and musicians in Java today, the male dhalang and his primary accompanist, usually a female gender player, are gendered embodiments of a Javanese aesthetic that has its origins in early Java. Analysis of the musical tradition known as "female style" grimingan - melodies played on the gender as the puppeteer sings, narrates or describes a scene - makes it possible to "listen back" to and reconstruct aesthetics for Javanese performance that can be felt in literary sources as early as the 12th century and that has endured into the present through cultural and political upheaval and globalised change during the colonial and postcolonial periods. In this book, ethnomusicologist Sarah Weiss, herself a gamelan musician who has directed ensembles in Australia and the United States over many years, examines for the first time the musical practices, concepts, stories, changing historical circumstances, and myths that have shaped "female-style" gender playing into a uniquely significant mode of artistic practice. This study is the first large-scale treatment of gender issues in Indonesian music. Integrating the analysis of gender and music with that of aesthetics, this study of the musical synergy between the puppeteer and his female accompanist describes the ways in which shifting gender constructions have helped to shape and change Central Javanese music and theatre performance practice while throwing new light on the history of Javanese gender relations and culture, as well as on the aesthetics of Central Javanese shadow-puppet theatre. A Mac and PC compatible CD-Rom featuring musical examples and transcriptions of grimingan in each pathet is included. With glossary, bibliography and index.
Listening to an Earlier Java