Musical Traditions


Read on to find out about just some of the musical or cultural traditions I learned about while living in Singapore!

What tradition did I learn about?:

While in Singapore, I learned a great deal about Chinese classical music, Indian classical music, and Indonesian gamelan – specifically Balinese and Sundanese. Gamelan is a type of traditional music that uses instruments like the xylophone, with pots and gongs that give it a very shiny, wealthy feeling. It used to be played in courts in Indonesia, so the sound really does reflect its status in the culture. It was an educational experience as I learned how to read Chinese and Sundanese music scores and delved deeper into the classical Indian scale, which is so flexible and moveable that there are more than 70 different scales if you count each variation. I was told that the Western major scale was variation number 27!

One thing I did not learn much about was the Lion Dance for the Chinese New Year, but I saw a lot of the dacners, nonetheless, practicing around the malls and open spaces. Lion dancing is a part of Chinese New Year celebrations, and it entails dancers wearing a big costume that contains at least two or three people.  The "lion" moves in sync to create the illusion of one large creature moving.