Music and media in the Dutch East Indies: Gramophone records and radio in the late colonial era, 1903-1942
Yampolsky, Philip Bradford
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This dissertation is intended as an ethnomusicological contribution to the history of music and media in Indonesia. It deals with topics and resources that have never been systematically examined for this region: gramophone records and radio broadcasting from the years before World War II, the last years of Dutch colonial control. The gramophone records are our only documentation of the sound of Indonesian music in the years before World War II. This dissertation tries to identify (and to some extent provide) the information one needs in order to understand the records and, by extension, stylistic trends during the pre-war period. Ultimately it is meant as an argument for the importance of making use of historical recordings and discography in ethnomusicology. The use of gramophone records from before World War II ("78s") in musicology and ethnomusicology is growing. Robert Philip has done a careful study (1992) of changes in performance practice in European art music, based on comparisons of early gramophone records with later practice; Ali Jihad Racy's dissertation (1977) is an extensive examination of the changes in Egyptian music documented in recordings; Sean Williams has a section in her 2001 book on what recordings tell about early practice of <italic>tembang Sunda</italic>; and Philip Schuyler (1984), Anne Sheeran (1997), Regula Qureshi (1999), Steven Hughes (2002), and Amanda Weidman (2006) have all looked at what Qureshi calls "gramophone culture" in reference to specific genres or categories of music in, respectively, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and, for both Hughes and Weidman, South India. The chapters here on <italic>kroncong</italic? and on the trajectories of popular music genres (chapters 5 and 6) are studies in this vein. The other chapters, however, seek to put these genre studies into the larger context of all the music recorded for the DEI and the music broadcast on DEI radio. This is perhaps the most unusual feature of the dissertation: it draws on the results of tabulations summarizing the entire range of record production and radio broadcasting in the DEI, and it combines those results with musicological understandings of genre and idiom to study the nature, processes, and aftermath of mediatization.
- Music