The Rhythm of Birds: A Programmatic Musical Composition about Living in Tanjung Malim

Junita Batubara


The Rhythm of Birds is a programmatic musical composition inspired by the composer's interaction with the environment at Tanjung Malim. The cultural life of urban communities around Tanjung Malim is an important source of influence for this work, as is the composer’s background and his experience while living in Tanjung Malim. The musical idea is taken from the singing of the tual bird and the hill-bird from the aboriginal people’s musical tradition. This musical composition narrates about urban culture, which is interpreted by the music in a programmatic way. The main purpose of this research is to create further new musical compositions. Another one of its goals is the fixation of a programmatic musical form inspired from the surroundings of Tanjung Malim which may be used by other composers.
The article about this musical composition was written with the use of qualitative, practice-based, practice-led and ethnographic methods. The process of composing musical works with the aid of performing analysis of data applying to traditional music taken from the results of folk music expedition fieldwork, combined with notated data is subsequently processed into a laboratory. This results in the creation of a programmatic musical composition in three movements inspired by Tanjung Malim cultural environment expressed by an urban society, the composer’s background and life experience. These three movements express the respective times of day – morning, day and night – at the same time, expressing the activities of Tanjung Malim’s society.
This musical composition is created with the application of cross-cultural elements combining Western music and the music of the indigenous people of the region. The musical instruments incorporated are a mixture of Western music and the areal traditions, where the aboriginal musical instruments are blended into the musical work, producing harmonies intrinsic to Western music. The ability to link ideas to a musical concept generates a new type research which can be studied and applied by musicians, practitioners, and educators around the world.

Keywords: cross-culture, program music, indigenous people, inspiration from nature, practice-led.

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