Sundanese music

Karawitan, Ketuk Tilu, Jaipongan, Gamelan Degung, Death Metal and similar

November 12, 2014 — July 13, 2018

South East Asia

Brief notes towards taxonomy and pointers to real ethnomusicological references on Sundanese music. For music from my own residency in Bandung specifically, see hiteklotek, or the lotekno blog.

1 Genres you need to know

1.1 Karawitan

Ancient religious instrumental trance music. Check out this neat hybrid: Indian vocals meet Tarawangsa and Jentreng at Padjadjaran University

More traditional…

1.2 Gamelan Degung

What you (for almost any value of you) think of when you hear about Indonesian music is gamelan. Gamelan Degung is a particularly Sundanese variant.

Todo: write down scale.

1.3 Jaipong and ketuk tilu

Jaipongan: 1970s hybrid between Brazilian pop music and traditional ketuk tilu styles. Queerly subterranean. Sounds like music from ancient outer space, but claimed to be the child of a government vehicle bureaucrat.

I really want to remix Tati Saleh.

1.4 Jipeng

Western instruments twisted into playing descendant of traditional trance music.

This one is by Yoyo Yogasmana, the spokesperson of Cipta Gelar

1.5 Pop Sunda/Popdut

Wikipedia, cover for me won’t you?.

Detty Kurnia. Darso.

1.6 Angklung dogdog lojor

See Palmer Keen on Ciptagelar’s Anglung.

1.7 (Death/Black/other) metal

Ujung Berung and the black metal-versus-traditional-religious music deserves a whole book of its own; indeed, there are whole books on this, and also journal articles, and I will post links here soon.

1.8 Reak

Trance and weirdness in Ujung Berung; See Palmer Keen on Reak

1.9 Hardcore

Punks and zines and vegan tempeh-based diets.

1.10 Kacapi Suling/Tembang Sunda

19th century Cianjur courtly music, e.g..

1.11 Ronggeng

I don’t even know, but people seem to be excitedly making documentaries about it.

Or to get the full flavour, check out an hour of ronggeng and ketuk tilu.

Various friends assure me that the traditional version is much more salacious than I will see on Youtube, but I cannot speak to that assertion from personal experience.

2 Instruments

2.1 Tarawangsa

2.2 Jentreng

Alat Musik Jentreng di situs Dinas pariwisata dan kebudayaan Jawa Barat.

2.3 Karinding

Bamboo mouth harp.

2.4 Celeumpung

Tuned bamboo percussion.

2.5 Gendong

a.k.a. Kendang.

Drums you play with your hands and feet.

2.6 Kacapi

Local zither-equivalent.

2.7 Rebab

The fancy Tarawangsa is the Arabian-influenced rebab.

2.8 Gamelan

Gamelan is obsessively studied elsewhere, so I won’t discuss it here.

3 Karinding Attack

Live on Gunung Karimbi

3.1 Kimung 666 / ᮊᮤᮙᮥᮀ |᮶᮶᮶|

3.2 Okid / ᮇᮊᮤᮓ᮪### Jimbot / ᮏᮤᮙ᮪ᮘᮧᮒ᮪

3.3 Jimbot / ᮏᮤᮙ᮪ᮘᮧᮒ᮪### Man Jasad / ᮙᮔ᮪ ᮏᮞᮓ᮪

3.4 Man Jasad / ᮙᮔ᮪ ᮏᮞᮓ᮪## Cipta Gelar Gang

4 Cipta Gelar Gang

4.1 Ciung Wulung / ᮎᮤᮅᮀ ᮝᮥᮜᮥᮀ

4.2 Abah Ugi / ᮃᮘᮂ ᮅᮌᮤ

4.3 Satia Kulun / ᮞᮒᮤᮃ ᮊᮥᮜᮥᮔ᮪

Lingkung Seni Jipeng Pong Dut Kombinasi Satia Kulun Kasepuhan Cipta Gelar, or Satia Kulun, is a project of Bapak Am Soebali Ba and the village of Cipta Gelar.

4.4 Kang Yoyo & Ibu Umi / ᮚᮧᮚᮧ ᮓᮔ᮪ ᮅᮙᮤ

5 Bulé brigade

5.1 Kieran Ruffles/ᮊᮤᮈᮛᮔ᮪ ᮛᮥᮖᮨᮜ᮪ᮞ

5.2 Miriam Lyons/ᮙᮤᮛᮤᮃᮙ᮪ ᮜᮡᮧᮔ᮪ᮞ᮪

6 Common Room Gang

…and other friends of the Common Room.

6.1 Gustaff H Iskandar

7 Interesting locals I haven’t had time to work with

8 Tunings

Pelog, degung, slendro, madenda…

9 Interesting regions

10 Things to read/listen to

10.1 Websites and such

  • Palmer Keen auralarchipelago documents Sundanese music from some weird angles.

  • Pusaka Sunda is a source of contemporary gamelan Degung recordings and info by expat Sundanese. (if the main site is down, see Pusaka Sunda archived)

    In Indonesia, the word “pusaka” means “heirloom”; a pusaka object serves its owner as a concrete symbol of authority, legitimacy, lineage, and succession. “Sunda” is the historical placename for the highlands of the western part of the island of Java in Indonesia, the homeland of the Sundanese people. The Sundanese are patriotic Indonesians, but also look back to the medieval kingdom of Sunda and the Pajajaran Empire to define their identity.

  • Data Sunda’s tuning resource lists some tunings. I should just sonify them one rainy afternoon.

Figure 1: DU68 in the mix

11 Incoming