Traditional Se Asian Bamboo Flutes: Dissertation

Excerpt from Dissertation :

Some Chinese researchers assert that Chinese flutes may have evolved from of Indian provenance.

In fact, the kind of side-blown, or transverse, flutes musicians play in Southeast Asia have also been discovered in Africa, India, Saudi Arabia, and Central Asia, as well as throughout the Europe of the Roman Empire. This suggests that rather than originating in China or even in India, the transverse flute might have been adopted through the trade route of the Silk Road to Asia. In addition to these transverse flutes, Southeast Asians possessed the kind of long vertical flutes; similar to those found in Central Asia and Middle East.

A considerable amount of similarities exist between the vertical flutes of Southeast Asia and flutes from Muslim countries. This type of flute possibly came from Persians during the ninth century; during the religious migration to SEA. Likewise, the nose-blown flute culture, common to a number of traditional African tribes, may also be found in certain ethnic groups found in Taiwan, the Northern Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The diversity of playing styles noted in the various locations; those being transverse, vertical and nasal, reveals that the various performing behaviors of Southeast Asia may have not experienced a direct lineal descent from China. Instead, the various performing behaviors of Southeast Asia may have been adapted from the musical histories of a number of cultures throughout the centuries.

This thesis specifically contributes to significant research in this century; challenging commonly-held beliefs in the process, as it explores the multiple origins of three different styles of traditional bamboo flutes found in Southeast Asia. The data in this thesis draws on a diverse array of materials relating to flutes from a number of countries and regions, including China, India, Java and Bali of Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Borneo, Turkistan (Central Asia), Middle East, the Philippines, Australia, South Pacific and Oceania, Africa and Europe. Implementing this broad scope allows for a synthesis that enables the researcher and the reader to envision the eclectic cultural background informing the development of these instruments.

1.1. Design of the Study

The study investigates the bamboo flutes found in Southeast Asia, as well as their history and origin. The organization of the five chapters in the study includes:

Chapter I: Chapter I includes the design of the study, the study's research problem and three research questions, study objectives, the scope and limitations of the study, significance of the study of DNA, research methodology and philosophy of the studies from different related literature.

Chapter II: During Chapter II, the researcher presents information to address the first research question; presented in the introduction for the thesis: What evidence points to the origin of flutes in SEA? During Chapter II, the researcher relates the kinds of flute in SEA that have been passed on from one generation to the next and their physical structure which attributes scale, sound, expressions, melody, and rhythm. In Chapter II, the researcher also discusses the studies on ethnic groups of SEA and their flutes, and additionally notes studies on history of geology and aboriginals' migration map to provide information regarding the origin of these particular individuals and the kinds of flute they played. This chapter also includes relevant information regarding SEA.

Chapter III: In Chapter III, the researcher addresses the second research question of the study: What kinds of flutes and characteristics depict those flutes that may be found in SEA? During this chapter, the researcher also notes the physical comparisons of three kinds of flutes found in different cultures: 1) Side-blown flute; 2) vertically blown flute; 3) nose blown flute. In addition, this chapter includes information relating to the musical aspects and origins of these three flutes, as well as traces...
...In addition, the researcher presents information relating to the history of trading and invasions of outsiders on SEA which influenced the culture and life styles; consequently determining various functions of flutes.

Chapter V: During Chapter V, the study's conclusion chapter, the researcher summarizes findings of the research and poses recommendations for further and future studies on the topic of bamboo flutes.

The study focuses on the flutes from three main areas: Mainland SEA, Maritime SEA, and Pacific region of SEA. During the researcher's examination of the origins of three kinds of flutes, the researcher compares traditional flutes from other cultures such as Chinese, Indian, Central Asian, Australian, Hawaiian, Saudi Arabian, Native Indians and African. The cultural mapping of these flutes serves as guide in following the routes of the flutes from one location to the other.

Even though flutes included in this research have been the focus of earlier studies, only a few of these studies, however, currently exist. To establish relationships, the researcher compares the musical traditions of bamboo flutes of Southeast Asian countries to each other, as well as how these flutes vary from one country to another vis-a-vis society and ethnomusicology. In the study, the researcher notes that society, the context and the historical influences are considered as factors affecting the instrumental development of the flute.

1.2 Research Problem

The study illustrates whether Southeast Asian flutes comprise engendered instruments of indigenous people or adopted cultural outcomes. During the research process, the antiquity of bamboo flutes, which encompasses vast areas of cultures and ethnic groups, posed particular problems for gathering data. As a result, this thesis covers the studies about SEA bamboo flutes and cultures. Specifically, the literature reviewed for this thesis addresses the following questions:

1. What evidence points to the origin of flutes in SEA?

2. What kinds of flutes and characteristics depict those flutes that may be found in SEA?

3. How may the tradition of flute playing in SEA be enmeshed with practices of a number of cultures?

1.3 Objectives

The objectives of the study include the following:

1. To recognize the kinds of bamboo flutes found in Southeast Asia;

2. To identify the characteristics of bamboo flutes in SEA to uncover the origins of the flutes;

3. To show the musicality and instrumentality of the bamboo flute in the of SEA;

4. To investigate the possible influences from different cultures through socio-economical interactions, invasions and religious movements;

5. To explore the possible origins related to the indigenous people's migration through centuries.

1.4 Scope and Limitations

1.4.1 Type of Flutes:

Those who crafted the flutes often constructed them out of the materials readily found in the immediate surroundings. The tradition of making flutes, however, may be transported from one country to another. The study includes details regarding a variety of aspects relating the following three types of flutes; including their construction: Side-blown, vertically blown and nose blown.

The side-blown flute has a blown hole on the side. The blowing hole for this flute may be located either on center or near the end. The vertical flute, also called end-blown flutes, has a hole on the end. Both ends of flutes are opened and one of end is manipulated to create different sound in vertical flutes or end-blown flutes. The ends may all be opened, closed or opened on one side. The musician may play the nose blown flute vertically or sideways, but he uses his nose instead of his mouth to produce the sound. The nose flute may be transverse or vertical flutes, nevertheless the individual must blow this type flute by nose.

The Southeast Asian countries included in this thesis include the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar. The researcher considers bamboo flutes found in Central Asia, Saudi Arabia, India, China, Europe and South America, similarly structured or blown, as part of the influences that brought about the flute's existence in the SEA countries.

1.4.2 Historical Limitations

The researcher sets up chronological markers to compare the development of bamboo flutes in Southeast Asia. The first periodical…

Sources Used in Documents:

works cited:

Purple highlight means reference from his thesis, chapters 1-5

Blue highlight means reference from his raw research that was sent (17 files)

Yellow highlight means that writer could not find reference; one of the 17 files received

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Cite This Dissertation:

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