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Antiphonal Histories
Resonant Pasts in the Toba Batak Musical Present
Julia Byl



Music/Culture

Wesleyan
2014 • 336 pp. 31 illus., 10 musical examples 6 x 9"
Ethnomusicology

$29.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-7479-4
$85.00 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7478-7

$23.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7480-0

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

(Hardcover is un-jacketed.
Cover illustration is for paperback edition only)



“This is not old-style ‘objective’ ethnography but instead an engaging narrative with a constantly changing focus. Byl applies her considerable writing skills to helping readers understand the intricate cultural threads that give Toba music its meaning.”
R. Knight, Choice Magazine

A vivid ethnography and in-depth history of musical performance in North Sumatra

Positioned on a major trade route, the Toba Batak people of Sumatra have long witnessed the ebb and flow of cultural influence from India, the Middle East, and the West. Living as ethnic and religious minorities within modern Indonesia, Tobas have recast this history of difference through interpretations meant to strengthen or efface the identities it has shaped. Antiphonal Histories examines Toba musical performance as a legacy of global history, and a vital expression of local experience. This intriguingly constructed ethnography searches the palm liquor stand and the sanctuary to show how Toba performance manifests its many histories through its “local music”—Lutheran brass band hymns, gong-chime music sacred to Shiva, and Jimmie Rodgers yodeling. Combining vivid narrative, wide-ranging historical research, and personal reflections, Antiphonal Histories traces the musical trajectories of the past to show us how the global is manifest in the performative moment.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“This is not old-style ‘objective’ ethnography but instead an engaging narrative with a constantly changing focus. Byl applies her considerable writing skills to helping readers understand the intricate cultural threads that give Toba music its meaning.”
R. Knight, Choice Magazine

“Well-written, smart, and honest, Antiphonal Histories is an innovative juxtaposition of historiography, ethnography, musical analysis, and reflexive autobiography. There are also moments of poignant insight, brilliant induction, and hilarity.”—Jeremy Wallach, author of Modern Noise, Fluid Genres: Popular Music in Indonesia, 1997–2001

“Julia Byl’s book is a major contribution on the music of Indonesia’s outer islands. Its use of local myths and oral histories provides a powerful context for understanding contemporary musical practices. The vivid ethnographic accounts make this a beautifully written work that is both informative and moving.”—René Lysloff



JULIA BYL is a postdoctoral research associate and member of the European Research Council project “Musical Transitions to European Colonialism in the Eastern Indian Ocean” at King’s College London.



Sat, 15 Apr 2017 16:36:09 -0500