Announcement of the Winner The KUG Institute 13 Prize for Best MA Thesis in Ethnomusicology June 2021
The KUG Institute 13 MA Prize recognizes the most distinguished MA thesis in ethnomusicology and related disciplines submitted in the previous academic year.
In 2021, the inaugural year of the award, the prize committee is delighted to announce that Kurt Schatz has won the prize for his MA thesis entitled: “Relations of music and dance in Balinese Jauk keras” (submitted in May 2020 and advised by Assistant Professor Dr. Kendra Stepputat).
This well-written thesis provides ethnographic description, historical contexts, and an integrated analysis of the relationship between dance and music in the well-known, but little-researched, Balinese dance genre known as Jauk keras. Woven together from ethnographic interviews with practitioners and the research of other scholars, in his first section, Schatz provides a detailed description of the cultural and performance contexts of the genre and draws together available information about its historical development from the documentation and descriptions of scholars from the 19th and 20th centuries studying related Balinese dance and music cultures. In his second section Schatz engages in a detailed choreomusicological analysis of the music and dance, examining the ways in which certain movements by the dancer influence and shape the flow of the performance. With a focus on the improvisatory relationship between the drummer and the dancer, Schatz explores the ways in which musicians categorize and describe angsel – dance movements which interrupt the regular flow of the performance, simultaneously calling for a response and further initiative from the drummer. Having described the fluid, semi-improvisatory nature of the relationship between the drumming and the dancing, in his final section Schatz provides a structural and formal analysis of a ‘typical’ Jauk Keras performance.
Bursting with ethnographic description based on a year in Bali during which he actively studied both the dance and the drumming for Jauk Keras, Schatz weaves his own experiential learning into the detailed musical and choreomusicological analyses that fill his pages. The committee finds that the mix of personal experience, ethnographic detail, and performance analysis presented in Schatz’s thesis is both enlightening and intellectually satisfying, rendering the work worthy of receiving the Institute’s inaugural MA Prize. Congratulations Kurt Schatz.
2021 MA Prize Committee Members: Univ. Prof. Dr. Gerd Grupe Dr. Babak Nikzat Mattia Scassellati, MA Priv.-Doz. Dr. Sarah Weiss