Meghan Hynson

  • Lecturer
  • Instructor of University Gamelan

Fields

Southeast Asia; music of Bali and West Java; Balinese shadow puppet theater; West Javanese angklung and gamelan degung; religious politics in Indonesia; multicultural music education; arts and cultural diplomacy; music and religion; music and gender; American kirtan

Profile

While studying for my undergraduate degrees in music education and oboe performance at Boston University, I became interested in the ways in which a multicultural approach to music education could teach my students about not only music, but also the world, its people, and larger socio-cultural and socio-political trends. I became inspired to travel the globe and learn more about the world through music, and thus developed a deep passion for ethnomusicology. After finishing my Western music focused undergraduate degrees, I moved to Bali, Indonesia, where I immersed myself in Balinese music and culture under the support of an Esther B. and Albert S. Khan Career entry award. During my two years living abroad, I lived with a Balinese family, learned Indonesian and Balinese, became a yoga teacher, and helped organize the international Bali Spirit Festival. My research on ritual Balinese shadow theater and shadow theater development bloomed into larger interests in Indonesian religion, politics, gender dynamics, and social development, which would later inform my PhD dissertation at the University of California, Los Angeles.

I received my PhD from UCLA in 2015 after submitting my dissertation titled “From Tradisi to Inovasi: Authority, Music and Change in Balinese Shadow Theater.” My research and studies at UCLA were supported by a number of generous granting institutions, including: the UCLA Dissertation Year Fellowship, two U.S. Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships (FLAS), two Lemelson Fellowships, a Fulbright/COTI Fellowship for Indonesian language, a UCLA Graduate Summer Research Mentorship, the UCLA Elaine Krown Klein Arts Achievement Scholarship, and the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music Graduate Studies Fellowship. While at UCLA, I also developed a world music outreach program in Los Angeles public schools and was awarded the Society for Ethnomusicology Elizabeth May Slater Prize for most outstanding graduate student paper in the Society for Ethnomusicology Education Section.

In my current research, I continue to specialize in the music of Southeast Asia, in particular Bali and West Java. I am working on a book manuscript titled, “Chased by Kala: Time and Tune in Balinese Shadow Theater,” which addresses the Balinese shadow theater performance complex, conceptions of time, and the socio-cultural shifts that have taken place over history. I begin by addressing Balinese spiritual conceptions and the deification of time through the wayang sapuh leger ritual, an exorcistic form of shadow puppet theater that is intricately connected to the Balinese calendar. By examining shadow theater over time, modernization and developments within Balinese shadow theater parallel a diachronic account of socio-cultural events. Specifically, I explore the gender wayang music in the development of the Balinese call to prayer (Tri Sandhya) and religious politics in post-independence Indonesia, economic considerations in the development of mass rituals, gender dynamics and the female role in Balinese shadow theater music, and the development of shadow theater cassette culture and recording industries.

In addition to my work in Bali, I have published and presented on bamboo angklung from West Java, commenting on globalization, nationalism, and cultural diplomacy centered in the development of the angklung musical instrument and its use in music education. Beyond my primary focus of Indonesia, I have also conducted extensive research on kirtan music (Hindu devotional singing) (subject of my M.A. paper) and recently submitted a chapter on “The Kirtan Rabbi and Modern Musical Expressions of Bhakti in the American Kirtan Culture Imagination” for the edited volume Yogic Traditions and Sacred Sound Practices in America edited by Brita Heimarck.

Before coming to the University of Pittsburgh I was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at Duquesne University (2015-2018), where I taught in-class and online courses on: Musical Cultures of the World, Global Popular Music, Music and Religion, Music and Gender, Enjoyment of Music, and Western Music History (1750-present). At Duquesne, I also co-produced and performed in the annual Founder’s Week world music concert and advised two students in winning scholarships to travel and study music in Iceland and Africa. I have led the University of Pittsburgh Gamelan as an instructor since the fall of 2016 and have actively produced concerts, workshops, and lecture-demonstrations throughout the greater Pittsburgh area. I also enjoy playing Chinese guzheng, sitar, harmonium, and other various forms of gamelan.

In my spare time, I am a yoga practitioner and instructor and enjoy hiking and the outdoors to balance my body and mind with the rigors of the academic world. My most recent passion investigates how ethnomusicology and analysis of culture can be utilized in entrepreneurship.  I try to lead by example and encourage my students to work across disciplinary boundaries, expand upon canonical thinking, and use their academic training in real-world applications, as I believe this will show the importance of the field of ethnomusicology and sustain it for generations to come.

Current Courses

Introduction to World Music

University Gamelan

Global and Popular Music

Selected Honors and Awards

2014-15     UCLA Dissertation Year Fellowship

2013     U.S. Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Academic Year Fellowship

2013, 2010     Lemelson Fellowship for pre-dissertation research in Bali, Indonesia

2012     FLAS Academic Year Fellowship to study intermediate Filipino

2012, 2010     FLAS Summer Fellowship to study Filipino at SEASSI, University of Wisconsin

2012     Lemelson Fellowship to study Indonesian angklung music in Bandung, Java

2011-12     Indonesian government Darmasiswa Fellowship to study at ISI Denpasar, Bali

2011     Society for Ethnomusicology Elizabeth May Slater Prize for most outstanding graduate student paper in the Society for Ethnomusicology Education Section

2011     Fulbright/COTI Fellowship to study advanced Indonesian in Salatiga, Java 

2010-12     UCIRA (University of California Institute for Research in the Arts) grant to develop a UCLA course world music outreach program

2010     UCLA Graduate Summer Research Mentorship for pre-dissertation research

2010     UCLA Elaine Krown Klein Arts Achievement Scholarship

2009     UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music Graduate Studies Fellowship

2007     Esther B. and Albert S. Kahn Endowment to study music in Bali, Indonesia

2006     BU Presser Scholarship to attend an ethnomusicology field school in Lima, Peru

Selected Publications

2017     “The Tri Sandhya: Politics and Sound in a Balinese Display of Religiosity.” In Proceedings of the 4th Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on Performing Arts of Southeast Asia, edited by Patricia Matusky and Wayland Quintero, 207-210. Penang: Universiti Sains Malaysia. Meghan Hynson

2016     “Indonesian Angklung: Intersections of Music Education and Cultural Diplomacy.” In Performing Indonesia, edited by Andy McGraw and Sumarsam. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.

2016     “Review of CD set Longing for the Past: The 78rpm Era in Southeast Asia” (Atlanta: Dust to Digital, 2013). In Bring the Noise (Ethnomusicology Review’s “Sounding Board”). http://ethnomusicologyreview.ucla.edu/content/review-longing-past-78-rpm-era-southeast-asia

2015     “From Tradisi to Inovasi: Music, Power, and Change in Balinese Shadow Puppet Theater.” In Proceedings of the International Council for Traditional Music 3rd Symposium for the Performing Arts of Southeast Asia, Bali, Indonesia, 202-208. edited by Mohd. Anis Md. Nor. Denpasar, Bali: ISI Denpasar.

2015     “Modern Expressions of Taksu: Music, Innovation and Charismatic Authority in the Balinese Wayang Cenk Blonk.” In Music and Cultural Studies Conference, 2015, Istanbul Turkey, 295-303. Istanbul: Istanbul Technical University

Selected Papers

2018      “The Gendering of Gender: Exploring Femininity and the Female Role in Balinese Gender Wayang Music.” Presented at the 6th Symposium for the Performing Arts of Southeast Asia, Sabah Museum, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, July 22

2017     “Gending Tri Sandhya: Politics and Gender Wayang Music in a Balinese ‘Call to Prayer’” Presented at the 62nd annual meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology National Conference, Denver, Colorado, October 26

2016     “Repurposing Angklung in the 21st Century: Education, Tourism, and Cultural Diplomacy at Saung Angklung Udjo.” Presented at the 61st annual meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology National Conference, Washington, D.C., November 11

2016      “A Balinese ‘Call to Prayer’: Music, Religiosity, and the Tri Sandhya.” Presented at the 5th Symposium for the Performing Arts of Southeast Asia, Penang, Malaysia, August 5

2015     “Modern Expressions of Taksu: Music, Innovation and Charismatic Authority in the Balinese Wayang Cenk Blonk.” Presented at the 60th annual meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology National Conference, Austin, Texas, December 4 and at the MUSICULT’15 Conference, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey, May 7

2014     “From Tradisi to Inovasi: Music, Power, and Change in Balinese Shadow Puppet Theater.” Presented at the International Council for Traditional Music 3rd Symposium for the Performing Arts of Southeast Asia, Bali, Indonesia, June 14

2013      “Indonesian Angklung: Intersections of Music Education and Cultural Diplomacy.” Presented at the Indonesian Festival of Music and Dance, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.. November 3

2012     “Indonesian Angklung and its Application in World Music Education.” Presented at the 57th annual meeting for the Society for Ethnomusicology, New Orleans, November 1

2011     “Angklung Sebagai Alat di Dalam Bidang Musik Etnis Terapan” (Angklung as a Tool in the Field of Applied Ethnomusicology). Paper presented at the final conference of the Consortium for the Teaching of Indonesian /COTI summer program. Universitas Kristen Satya Wacana, Salatiga, Java, Indonesia, August 11

2011     “The Spirit of Change in the Kirtan Culture of Los Angeles.” Presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology Southern California and Hawai’i Chapter, Azusa Pacific University, February 20

2010     “Integrating Outreach into the University World Music Education Classroom.” Presented at the 55th annual meeting for the Society for Ethnomusicology, Los Angeles, November 11

2010     “Music in Translation: Balinese Worldview and the Teaching of Balinese Music in America.” Presented at the Art in Translation Conference in Reykjavik, Iceland, May 29

Education & Training

  • PhD in Ethnomusicology, University of California, Los Angeles, 2015
  • BM, in Music Education and Oboe Performance, Boston University, 2007

Faculty Groupings

Core Faculty
Ensemble Faculty

Main Department Affliliation

Lecturer

Other Department Positions

Instructor University Gamelan

Ensembles

Subdisciplines