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The pedagogy of Balinese vocal technique : developing total perception through embodied practice Edwardson, Chelsea Dawn

Abstract

This study examines elements of Balinese vocal pedagogy in order to understand the process of teaching and learning in my lessons with several master singers on the island, focusing on the teachings of Ni Nyoman Candri. Through ethnographic fieldwork, interviews, lessons, and analysis of their content, I will investigate the core concepts that were emphasized throughout my vocal practice. After reviewing the body of literature that has influenced this work, the study will begin by outlining some basic context for how the knowledge is approached: informal methods of mimicking and repetition as well as kinesthetic embodiment of expression. This will serve as the basis for discussing the initial processes of learning vocal technique: the practice of opening the voice (mengeluarkan suara) through improvised sound and movement, as well as how that technique expands into a layered approach to learning melodies. The Balinese concept of ngunda bayu (the process of distributing energy through the body) will also add to the discussion, setting a visual representation for the vertical axis in the body that outlines the physiological process of the breath cycle. By simplifying the process into three elements: energy, breath, and gesture, this study will evolve into a discussion of context, showing how the three work in alignment to manifest a single intention: a confluence of embodied vocal expression and total perception. The work concludes with a discussion of the larger, theoretical context of my previous western classical vocal training, posing some questions about the process and relating it to western scholar Christopher Small’s term musicking. By reviewing and reflecting on the identified elements in Balinese pedagogy, I will give consideration to how this study may be expanded and integrated into other pedagogies and discourses of vocal learning.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada

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