The significance of the Gamolan, a bamboo xylophone, in the Culture of Lampung Province, Sumatra

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Date(s) - 27/06/2013
9:30 am - 11:00 am

Arts Seminar Room, G.04, Building 55, Clayton


Mr Hasyimkan MA of the University of Lampung and Professor Margaret Kartomi AM FAHA of Monash University, with a dance performance by Indija Mahjoeddin and a gamolan ensemble performance by Monash staff and students led by Mr Hasyimkan (organized by Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, in conjunction with MAI and the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies)

Illustrated by a live gamolan performance accompanying a traditional Lampung dance, this paper presents the argument that the bamboo-key xylophone called gamolan of the Sekala Brak area of north-west mountainous Lampung is of ancient origins, indeed it probably dates back to the Hindu-Buddhist period which was dominant in Southeast Asia from around the third century CE and left many archaeological remains and legends. Its 7 or 8 keys are the basis of pieces traditionally played by two players with an ensemble at life event ceremonies such as at birth, circumcision, adolescence, marriage, receiving titles and death. The seminar describes the mystical way in which the gamolan is made, recent exposure of the instrument in schools, and its recent recognition as an identity marker for Lampung Province.

Mr Hasyimkan MA Ssn is a graduate in ethnomusicology of Gajah Mada University who wrote his Masters thesis on the gamolan of Lampung. As Lecturer in charge of Music Studies at the University of Lampung he is responsible for developing the Music curriculum to match the well-established Dance curriculum. He is a Cultural Advisor to HE the Governor of Lampung, Sjachroedin ZP SH.

Ms Indija Mahjoeddin MA is a Junior Adjunct Research Fellow in the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music

 Dr Margaret Kartomi is Professor of Music at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, a widely published ethnomusicologist and Director of the Monash University Music Archives, now located on the 4th Floor of the Menzies Building. Her latest book is Musical Journeys in Sumatra, University of Illinois Press, 2012.