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Musical Journeys in Sumatra$
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Margaret Kartomi

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036712

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036712.001.0001

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The Mandailing Raja Tradition in Pakantan

The Mandailing Raja Tradition in Pakantan

(p.251) 11 The Mandailing Raja Tradition in Pakantan
Musical Journeys in Sumatra

Margaret Kartomi

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the music culture of the village complex of Pakantan in south Tapanuli, North Sumatra, with particular emphasis on the Mandailing raja tradition. It aims to reconstruct the historical and aesthetic context of Pakantan's pre-Muslim ritual orchestral music in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when the village was ruled by a chieftain (raja) of the original Lubis clan. The three ritual orchestras, which are differentiated by their respective sets of either five or nine tuned gordang drums or two untuned gordang drums, possess indigenous religious and aesthetic meaning. After providing an overview of the Mandailing people's cultural history, the chapter discusses the social role, aesthetic thought, and ritual practice of their ceremonial music. More specifically, it considers the gordang sambilan performed at major ceremonies, funerals, weddings, and clairvoyant rituals. It shows that each musical item on ceremonial occasions, whether played on a gondang or a gordang ensemble, is named after its totop, or fixed drum rhythm, and serves as an invocation.

Keywords:   music culture, Pakantan, Mandailing raja tradition, orchestral music, gordang drums, Mandailing people, ceremonial music, gordang sambilan, ceremonies

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