Drumming and Power

in Erotic Triangles

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780226769585
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226769608 | DOI:
Drumming and Power

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This chapter investigates the interaction between dancing and drumming. It argues that drum sounds have come to represent simultaneously and paradoxically both a cause and an effect of movement. The ambiguity about whether movement makes sounds or sounds animate dancers allows both explanations to be “true.” In large part because of this ambiguity, drumming emerges as a potent metaphor for power in Sundanese performance. Drumming, like Javanese power, is “an invisible presence,” with considerable influence on the actions of others. Since the control of invisible power is part and parcel of the creation and maintenance of gender identities, and because masculinity is measured by assessing how individuals accumulate, maintain, and display power, an awareness of how drumming models power is a key to understanding this element of erotic triangles in Sundanese dance.

Keywords: drums; dancing; Sundanese dance; movement; gender identities; masculinity; drumming; power

Chapter.  11477 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ethnomusicology

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