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Women, the Recited Qur’an, and Islamic Music in Indonesia

Anne Rasmussen

Publication Year: 2010

Women, the Recited Qur'an, and Islamic Music in Contemporary Indonesia takes readers to the heart of religious musical praxis in Indonesia, home to the largest Muslim population in the world. Anne K. Rasmussen explores a rich public soundscape, where women recite the divine texts of the Qur'an, and where an extraordinary diversity of Arab-influenced Islamic musical styles and genres, also performed by women, flourishes. Based on unique and revealing ethnographic research beginning at the end of Suharto's "New Order" and continuing into the era of "Reformation," the book considers the powerful role of music in the expression of religious nationalism. In particular, it focuses on musical style, women's roles, and the ideological and aesthetic issues raised by the Indonesian style of recitation.

Published by: University of California Press


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Note on Transliteration and Translation

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pp. xi-xii

...This text makes frequent reference to terms in both Bahasa Indonesia, the Indonesian national language, and Arabic. Unless otherwise indicated, all translations are my own. Readers should be cautioned that Indonesian words derived from Arabic may not follow Arabic singular, plural, or gendered forms and may be spelled differently than terms transliterated from Arabic...

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xxii

...This is a book about musical religious praxis in Indonesia. Th e work began almost accidentally in the spring of 1996. Before I left for Indonesia to join my husband in Jakarta for the year, I bought a copy of the Holy Qur’an, with the original Arabic and an En glish translation by Zafrulla Khan...

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1. Setting the Scene

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pp. 1-37

...During a visit to Indonesia in October of 2004, I was trying to make the most of my last day in the country. After a week in the relative calm of East and Central Java, where I had toured with the Kiai Kanjeng ensemble, the return to Jakarta assaulted my senses. Although I had lived there for two years (1995– 96 and 1999) and had returned for shorter visits...

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2. Hearing Islam in the Atmosphere

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pp. 38-73

...I came to recognize the engines of motorcycles that delivered bottled gas, drinking water, and the newspaper. Even when cement walls surround the house and garden, typical Indonesian architecture takes advantage of natural crosswind ventilation, and structures are always porous, thereby rendering the outside world ever-present...

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3. Learning Recitation: The Institutionalization of the Recited Qur’an

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pp. 74-124

...To contextualize the interrelated pro cesses of practice, per for mance, experience, and appreciation of the recited Qur’an, I describe five contexts in which these pro cesses characterize the rhythms of daily life. We begin at a ritual event called...

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4. Celebrating Religion and Nation: The Festivalization of the Qur’an

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pp. 125-165

...Religious praxis framed as public spectacle, or the “festivalization of religion,” as I have referred to the phenomenon elsewhere, involves many of the consultants for this project and occurs with predictable regularity on many levels and in many contexts (Rasmussen 2001, 45). Such events are not only open to a general public, but the guidelines...

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5. Performing Piety through Islamic Musical Arts

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pp. 166-210

...identity, whether global or local, traditional or modern, emerge through the performance of Islamic musical arts. This chapter illustrates the ways in which healthy if sometimes heated debate about tradition and modernity as it applies to men and women, religion and nation, and history and identity presents itself through the planning, production, and positioning...

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6. Rethinking Women, Music, and Islam

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pp. 211-244

...The voices of women are one of the distinctive strains in the Islamic soundscape, and as they perform, teach, study together, and practice alone, women contribute to the creation of messages of great beauty, power, and potency. They not only have access to the divine, but they also help to create it both for themselves and for others. Their voices, loud, strident, and authoritative...


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pp. 245-272


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pp. 273-278


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pp. 279-296


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pp. 297-312

Production Notes

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pp. 313-313

E-ISBN-13: 9780520947429
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520255487

Page Count: 336
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 659558286
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Women, the Recited Qur’an, and Islamic Music in Indonesia

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Subject Headings

  • Islamic music -- Indonesia -- History and criticism.
  • Qurʼan -- Recitation.
  • Muslim women -- Indonesia -- Social conditions.
  • Women in Islam -- Indonesia.
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