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The Voice As A Mode Of Cultural Expression In Bali

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The Voice As A Mode Of Cultural Expression In Bali
Original language
    PhD Dissertation, University of Michigan
    Publication date
    January 1980
    • music
    • poetry
    • sloka
    • kakawin
    • kidung
    • vocal
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                    The central premise of this study is the interdependence of text, musical features, and cultural context in vocal practices of the Balinese people. Research conclusions suggest that uses of the voice in Bali carry meanings and values which are more than merely textual or musical. In fact, important cultural concepts may be expressed through the carefully prescribed systems for singing Balinese poetry. These concepts, in turn, tell us much about the way people structure their perceptions of experience. Beginning the study are chapters on the cultural, linguistic, and literary history of Bali and on the subject of music (vocal contrasted with instrumental) in the isl and 's culture. Analysis of vocal genres then is restricted to three types of poetry, in current use, that reflect both Indian and Javanese influences in Bali's history: sloka, kakawin, and kidung. Based on data collected and recorded in the field, these analyses account for textual, musical, and functional/contextual features of the singing of poetry. Concluding the dissertation is a proposed model for the study of Balinese vocal practices. This is a model which compares and contrasts the following elements observable in any culturally prescribed use of the voice: literary genre, language, musical features, performance context, and conceptual values. It is suggested that this type of theoretical model can aid in our underst and ing not only other genres of Balinese vocal music but also such cultural systems as dance, drama, and religion. In such ways, the underlying patterns of this culture may be understood from an investigation of certain modes of expressive behavior.