Fusing Musical Worlds in Australia: Musical Milestones on the Road to Cross-Cultural Performance

Dr. Andrew Burton Alter
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Musicians come to performances with various world views that inform their individual performances. When faced with the potential of playing with musicians from very different backgrounds, performers must make themselves understood to each other in ways that reveal differing conceptual approaches to how music is structured. Obvious musical structures that need to be conceptually navigated are things like scale structure, pitch structure and rhythmic structure. In short an Indian musician hears rhythm differently to an Indonesian musican and/or differently to a Western musician. By using my own personal examples from the fusion of Indonesian gamelan and western popular idioms - as well as anecdotal evidence from numerous other musicians who perform at 'global carnivals' in Australia - I will document some of the more interesting aspects of this process.

Keywords: ethnomusicology, fusion, music, Australia, gamelan, India, Indonesia, global carnival
Stream: Festivals
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr. Andrew Burton Alter

Head, School of Music, Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of New England

I am an ethnomusicologist who has worked in South Asian and South East Asian music traditions. I am currently a leading member of the UNE Gamelan, Swara Naga, a group that performs throughout Australia and has performed at festivals in Singapore and New Zealand. We have released two CDs that present musical repertoire in which Sundanese and Western idioms are fused. My research incorporates the investigation of folk traditions from the Himalayas as well as musical elements in the cross-cultural fusion process as observable in music festivals in Australia.

Ref: A06P0233