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Owen Wright, Christian Poché and Amnon Shiloah

Music traditions in the Arabic-speaking world. For discussions of the music of specific areas, see also individual country articles.

The art music/folk (or popular) music opposition is a blunt instrument at best, and at various times and places in the Arab world it would be unrealistic or unhelpful to seek to draw a clear dividing line. In Arabic the terminological distinction is a modern importation, and while the earlier textual tradition may recognize regional differences it is more frequently concerned with an ultimately ethical evaluation of the various purposes for which music may be used. However, these imply distinctions of function and social context, and as one major constant in Arab and Middle Eastern Islamic culture generally we may identify a form of entertainment music for which, in fact, the label ‘art music’ is quite apt. Nurtured at courts, patronized by urban élites, performed by professionals (and aristocratic amateurs) and described in explicitly theoretical terms, art music constituted an integral element of sophisticated high culture and, consequently, could be regarded as a suitable subject for scientific and philosophical enquiry....

Article

Beḍug  

Margaret J. Kartomi

Large double-headed barrel drum in the Central Javanese Gamelan. It is about 74 cm long and 40 cm wide and is suspended in a decorative wooden frame. The heads are tacked to the shell and one head is beaten with a heavy mallet. It emphasizes dramatic effects in some gamelan works, especially in the theatre and plays the role of the ...

Article

Paul Yoon

(b Los Angeles, CA, April 2, 1953). American taiko artist. Of Japanese American descent, he studied drumming, especially jazz and rock, from an early age. He first experienced taiko in the early 1970s and joined Kinnara Taiko in 1975. His interest in taiko was fueled by an emergent sense of his ethnic identity. He went on to study with the San Francisco Taiko Dojo in 1976. Endo felt that it was important to emphasize the Asian aspects of his heritage, and to this end he traveled to Japan in 1980. For the next decade he studied kumi daiko (ensemble drumming), hogaku hayashi (classical drumming), and matsuri bayashi (festival drumming), and he became the first non-native to receive a natori (stage name), Mochizuki Tajiro, in hogaku hayashi. While in Japan, he studied with and was a performing member of Oedo Sukeroku Taiko and Osuwa Daiko. He moved to Honolulu in ...

Article

Klawng  

David Morton

In Thailand, the generic name for drum. Several major types are used in modern Thai classical and folk music. The klawng khaek is a long double-headed cylindrical drum made of hardwood. The two goatskin or calfskin heads are laced together with leather thongs. The drum is played with the hands and used in pairs, the two drums in a pair differing in pitch. The klawng khaek is played in percussion and string ensembles for informal occasions, the taphon (barrel drum) being substituted for specific formal functions. It is also played with pi chawa (oboe) to accompany Thai fencing and boxing. The klawng khaek ensemble formerly consisted of two klawng khaek drums, the pi chawa and a khawng meng (gong); it was probably used for sombre ceremonies, such as funerals. The klawng khaek is sometimes known as klawng chawa (‘Javanese drum’).

The klawng malayu (‘Malaysian drum’) is a cylindrical drum similar to the ...

Article

Nancy Yunwha Rao

Instrumental ensemble founded in 1984 by Susan Cheng in New York’s Chinatown. It features Chinese instruments including erhu, yangqin, zheng, pipa, daruan, sanxian, sheng, and dizi. Its members have included Wu man , Tang Liang Xing, and Min Xiao Fen, among others. Performing at museums, schools, and other venues, it has specialized in silk and bamboo music of southern China but has also performed contemporary music. Its concerts from 1990 to 2002 included excerpts or full-staged performances of Cantonese opera. At its height the ensemble performed 100 concerts a year; in the early 2010s it was averaging 50–60.

Music from China has commissioned and performed many new works. By 2011 it had premiered 132 new works by 81 composers, including the winners of its annual international composition competition. In 1987 Chen yi and Zhou long joined Music from China as music directors and composed many significant works for the group. From ...

Article

Megan E. Hill

[Seisho ]

(b O’ahu, Territory of Hawai’i, Feb 12, 1912; d Honolulu, HI, March 19, 2011). American sanshin player. Born in Hawai’i to Japanese immigrant parents, he was taken by his mother to her native Okinawa to be raised by his grandparents. There at the age of nine he began playing the Okinawan sanshin. The sanshin is a three-stringed instrument with a skin-covered soundbox, which predates the similar Japanese shamisen. He was given a sanshin by his uncle—also an accomplished player of the instrument—when he returned to Hawai’i in 1925 and began formal instruction in 1933, taking lessons from a number of sanshin grand masters and visiting Okinawa whenever possible. For the next six decades Nakasone performed sanshin at gatherings for the Okinawan community in Hawai’i, playing for festivals and various celebrations. He also taught sanshin in college classes and gave private lessons, led the Okinawan classical music ensemble Seifu Kai, and became the first non-Japanese citizen to receive a teaching certificate from the nationally recognized Nomura Music Academy in Okinawa. Nakasone was on the ethnomusicology faculty at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, from ...

Article

Terry E. Miller

[bin bādy]

In Cambodia, the primary classical ensemble played at court ceremonies, some Buddhist festivals, to accompany the large shadow theatre, masked drama, and dance drama. Both the ensemble and its name are closely related to similar ensembles in Thailand (piphat) and Laos (sep nyai/piphat). Ensembles vary in size from minimal (five instruments) to large. A basic ensemble consists of ...

Article

Alastair Dick

Drone chordophone of north Indian classical music. This 19th-century instrument, whose name means literally ‘musical club’, lacks the neck and resonator of the South Asian tambūrā (of which it was designed as an easily transportable form), but has a swelling, hollow, club shape; it is about 37 cm long.

M. Taylor...