Example 6.1 - Bangsawan Syair, Performance 1

Opening musical item from the bangsawan performance 'Sultan Mahmud Riayat Syah' at the Festival of Malay Civilisation (Tamadun Festival Melayu) held in September 2013 in Tanjungpinang, the capital of Riau Islands Province (known as Kepri). The bangsawan troupe, Sanggar Seni Diram Perkase, call this musical item a syair. Each scene is preceded by the syair (4-line verse form), which uses the same melody but different lyrics that describe the action about to take place on stage. During the rendition of the syair, the theatre hall is in darkness until the final strains of the lagu dua or faster closing section cues the opening of the curtain and lighting up of the stage.

For more information about the performance and the music, see Chapter 6, 'Bangsawan in Lingga: the vanished era of the Lingga-Riau sultanate' by Bronia Kornhauser, in Margaret Kartomi (ed), Performing the Arts of Indonesia: Malay Identity and Politics in the Music, Dance and Theatre of the Riau Islands, Copenhagen: Nias Press, 2019.

The original audiovisual recording is held in the Music Archive of Monash University