From agricultural tool to identity symbol: Musical and socio-political change in the pestle-and-mortar music of the Natuna Archipelago, Indonesia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


For centuries the Islanders in remote Bunguran played pestle-andmortar
music with cosmological associations to lighten the chore of stamping
husks off rice grain. Different villages developed their own musical syntax,
terminology, and repertoire to play at domestic celebrations. Discovery of
natural gas in the 1960s led to weakened communal life, while the subsequent
stamping of corn and seeds instead of rice required less group energy for
music-making and new secular associations. In 2004 Natuna Regency chose the
pestle-and-mortar music as a Malay identity emblem which will help it survive,
with domestic participatory performances continuing alongside presentational
performances for government, corporate and tourist audiences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-114
Number of pages28
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Cite this