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 Study Group on (Folk) Musical Instruments



20th Symposium: Luang Prabang (Laos) 10-13 June, 2015

The 20th Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on (Folk) Musical Instruments took place in the world heritage city Luang Prabang. It was attended by 48 participants of whom 31 were actively contributing with papers and presentations in 12 sessions dedicated to the two main topics of the symposium:
1) Dance Instruments - Song Instruments
2) Emotional Implications of Instrumental Sound.
The first topic was chosen by 12 presenters taking up a wide spectrum of specific themes such as Instrumental Training for Dance Accompaniment in Laos (Suksavan Sengaphay & Chanphakason Suramasing),  Instrumental Ghazal (Chinthaka Prageeth Meddegoda), Social Interaction between Dancers, Musicians, and Peripheral Actors at Social Dance Events (Ingrid Hamberg), Musical Instruments Used in Singaporean Kuda Kepang during Malay Weddings (Low Kok Wai & Low Kok Leon), Ballroom Dance Music: History of Establishment in Thai Society and Songs of Own Thai Compositions (Kamontam Kuabutr), Multi-functionality of Masinqo Playing in Song and Dance (Timkehet Teffera),'We Have no Instrument!' and the Concept behind: The Music in the Society of the Tao (Wei-Ya Lin),: Discourse Patterns on Lusheng in China –Cases from Guangxi (Chu Zhuo & Chen Kun Peng), Fond of Gaiety: The Soul of the Music and Dance in Luang Prabang's Past and Present (Nithakhong Tiaoksomsanith), and: Violin in Ensembles for Dance: Improvisatory Styles in the 'Adopted' Malay Dances of Zapin and Joget (Gerald Ng), and Multi-perspective Categories in Collections of Instrumental Music (Gisa Jähnichen).
The second topic comprises 13 contributions on Phleng Thai Doem and the Myth of 7-tet: The Questionable Origins of the Theory of Thai Tuning (John Garzoli), The Gamolan of Lampung, Sumatra: survival of a widespread bamboo keyed instrument of Indonesia's Hindu-Buddhist past and emotional symbol of the province's identity (Margaret Kartomi), : Instrumental Sounds in Therav?da Buddhism and Their Meaning in the Buddhist Philosophy (Chow Ow Wei & Thongbang Homsombat: Instrumental Sound in Music Therapy  (Ruwin Rangeeth Dias & Kongdeuane Nettavong), Multi-Distance Listening to Tube Zithers of the Bidayuh (Ahmad Faudzi Musib); Video documents on funeral music in Luang Prabang (short presentation by Gisa Jähnichen dedicated to the family owning the venue of the symposium), The Sounds of Nostalgia: The Chindon-ensembles in Modern Japanese Society (Rinko Fujita), Thai instrumental music for the patients in Thai Red Cross Rehabilitation Center (Rewadee Ungpho),  Listening to Nose Flute Playing (Loke Xaioyun), The Life of a Drum: The T'boli T'nonggong as Biographical Object (Earl C. L. Jimenez), Doing it by not Doing it. Notes on the Africanness of Ginger Baker, allegedly the "World's Greatest Drummer" (Manfred Bartmann),: Brass and Bamboo – A Survey on Musical Cultures of Chinese Minorities (Schu-chi Lee), and : Folk Instruments: Their Multidisciplinary Roles as Windows and Mirrors (James Makubuya).
New research was presented in papers on Rare archaeological musical artifacts from ancient tombs in Mongolia (Otgonbayar Chuluunbaatar), Virtuoso biola (violin) playing in the Riau Islands, Sumatra (Brigitta Scarfe)
Additional contrubtions were made by Manfred Bartmann on The Scientific Legacy of Marianne Bröcker RIP, by  Phonsay Inthichan on The Collection of Musical Instruments in Luang Prabang's Royal Palace, and by Duangchampy Vouthisouk on Lao Traditional Music and the Protection and Promotion of Folk Performing Arts: Strategies and Implementations. These additional contributions framed the entire symposium. On the first evening, the welcome dinner was preceded by a special Basi ritual and a dance performance with a live dance ensemble that was introduced by Nithakhong Tiaoksomsanith. The third day of the symposium offered a early morning city walk observing the very quiet time of almsgiving and the subsequent climbing of Phu Si, the city's small but steep mountain in the city centre, from where the rising daylight and the awakening of life can be witnessed. The afternoon was spent in the National Museum situated in the Royal Palace which consists of a rich collection of Dong Son Bronze Drums and the royal Phipat. After the museum, the participants were invited to visit Nithakhong Tiaoksomsanith's house with a extraordinary collection of his art works and designs, place for music practice and library. In the evening, the Royal Ballet performed in the Dance Theatre parts of the traditional Lao Ramayana Phalak Phalam. Some participants used the day off for extensive day trips into the beautiful nature and to culturally diverse people living in the surrounding of Luang Prabang.
One important feature of the symposium was the co-operation between Study Group members and local scholars planned in long term prior to the symposium that led to joint presentations and the focus on the region in which the symposium was held in terms of pioneering papers prepared on study subjects that were not yet documented.

On the morning of the last day, June 13th, the business meeting of the study group took place.
Chairs of this business meeting were chair and co-chair of the Study Group.
Chair: Gisa Jähnichen & Rinko Fujita
1. Report of the Chair and Vice Chair on recent activities
The main task was the preparation of the 20th Symposium of the Study Group in Luang Prabang in co-operation with the National Library of Laos and the Ministry of Information, Culture and Toursim of Laos; Edition of Volume III of SIMP
2. Report of the Program Committee for the 20th Symposium on the Outcome and Impact of the Symposium
The program committee confirms a strong impact on musicians, cultural workers and young researchers in Laos who could experience for the first time an international conference on music and other performing arts and the way of leading an academic discussion on urgent issues without compromising a solid scientific foundation of statements. The friendly and open atmosphere contributed to a well-received discussion culture that values all participants in the same way.
3. Report of the Organizing Committee for the 20th Symposium on the Outcome and Impact of the Symposium
The organizing committee is convinced that the good experience with this conference will lead to further efforts in attracting conferences within a low budget environment besides those usually held on high government level with full sponsorship. The support of the ministry was dedicated to the participation of Lao colleagues. Other sponsors were of private nature for single elements of the program.
4. Proposals of place, time, and themes for the next symposium in 2017.
It was decided that the next symposium will be held in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegowina, in spring 2017 (possibly the week before Easter). The Study Group follows an invitation sent by Jasmina Talam. All participants promised to help with any type of preparation.
5. Update on the ICTM Memorandum on Study Groups.
The participants could study online the latest version of the memorandum on Study Groups in the ICTM, especially the part on election options.
6. Update on recent survey regarding 1) change of Study Group name and 2) setting up of an election committee. The survey was answered by revealed that more than 90% agreed upon a change of the Study Group name, one proposed "Study Group on Instrumental Music". Also, more than 80 % did not see the necessity to arrange elections at the moment.
7. Discussion to 1)
Connected to the survey in preparation of the business meeting, it was decided to rename the Study Group into ICTM Study Group on Musical Instruments
8. Discussion to 2)
Connected to the survey in preparation of the business meeting, it was widely discussed and finally confirmed that an election committee should care about the next election of chair and co-chair of the Study Group. The election committee was selected on the spot per hand sign and consists of Manfred Bartmann and Ahmad Faudzi Musib who were nominated by the participants. The election committee will decide independently about how the election has to be organised in detail (electronically). The outcome will be further communicated during the next Study Group Symposium. It was also decided that all members in the current member list who were active (contributing through papers, presentations or organising positions) in the last 6 years (the last 3 symposia) are 'active members' of the Study Group and invited to take part in the election since the fluctuation in the Study Group is quite high due to the specific research area.
9. Others: Submission of papers
It was decided to submit the final paper latest by August 15th, 2015. Other papers fitting the main topics mentioned above are welcome. Papers which were submitted for an earlier issue of SIMP and could not be considered because of missing the deadline can be re-submitted. The time schedule for editing is necessary to follow with the review process and the corrections in time. The publication should be out by January/February 2016.
The Business meeting finished after 72 Minutes and the Symposium sessions resumed.

The 20th Symposium encouraged a number of participants to become ICTM members and/or to continue their membership.

The Study Group thanks all participants and organisers of the 20th Symposium, namely the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of Laos, the National Library of Laos, the Cultural Office of the City Luang Prabang, the Royal Dance Theatre, the artist Nithakhong Tiaoksomsanith and his performance group, the team of Villa Ban Lao, the many voluntary helpers and all participants who travelled from far away and who experienced the warmly welcoming hospitality of the people in Laos.  

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