Gamolan and its significance

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Akademisi Monash University Melbourne, Australia, Prof Margaret J Kartomi

Akademisi Monash University Melbourne, Australia, Prof Margaret J Kartomi

Professor Margaret Kartomi of the University’s School of Music – Conservatorium, recently presented the keynote address at the International Seminar on the Traditional Lampung Musical Instrument, the gamolan.

The event, which was organised so that young Lampung people can learn more about their indigenous art and culture, was attended by more than a hundred elders in traditional costume.

The gamolan is an eight keyed bamboo instrument, beaten by two musicians, each with a pair of wooden hammers. Professor Kartomi believes this instrument is of great ethnomusicological interest.

“I was attracted by the gamolan because of its incredibly sweet sound when played by experts, the fact that it is found in the isolated mountainous areas near 3000-year old megalithic sites, and its interesting name, which suggests that the instrument may date from the 8th century or earlier, though it later became the name of a whole orchestra – the gamelan – rather than a single instrument”

Invited to the conference to speak on the origins of the gamolan by the Governor of Lampung Indonesia, Drs Sjachroeddin ZP, Professor Kartomi has been researching the instrument since visiting Lampung in 1983.

“I hope that through this seminar, the gamolan and other Lampung arts will receive the national recognition it deserves. The music of this area is one where very little ethnomusicological data has been collected,” said Professor Kartomi.

The Governor of Lampung has invited Professor Karatomi to return in December to receive a formal title traditionally reserved for royalty and honoured guests as part of his efforts to promote the culture of the Lampung people.

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