ALAM, OTAK DAN KEBUDAYAAN: NEUROANTROPOLOGI DENGAN PENARI MINANGKABAU (BRAIN, CULTURE AND ENVIRONMENT: THE NEUROANTHROPOLOGIST AND THE SELF-ACCOMPANIED MINANGKABAU DANCER)

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Paul Mason

Abstract

South-east Asia is filled with many unique forms of music and dance accompanied by a rich history of ethnographic documentation. The author takes Tari Piring, an iconic dance of the Minangkabau people from West Sumatera, as an example to demonstrate how these diverse art forms can provide doorways into how the
processes of the embodied brain are intertwined with society, culture and the environment.1 Such research, as the author suggests, demands greater interdisciplinary collaboration with the potential to more deeply understand the reiterative causality between brain and culture. The author discusses theory and methods from ethnomusicology, dance anthropology and choreomusicology. These research fields can complement contemporary neuroscience a great deal in the elucidation of socially-embedded, culturally-orchestrated and environmentally situated neurological processes. The choreomusical relationships found in selfaccompanied
and musician-accompanied Tari Piring are evidence to how perceptual processes are influenced by cultural and social practices. Such cultural practices offer brain scientists a rare opportunity to perform context-driven
experiments that elucidate key operations of the human brain. While much brain research targets brain processes in isolation of socio-cultural activity, the potential of the proposed research is to understand the brain in context as well as the context of that brain. What better context for this research than the fascinating array of cultural art forms found in South-east Asia?


Keywords: Ethnomusicology, Tari Piring, choreomusicology, brain, and culture

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MASON, Paul. ALAM, OTAK DAN KEBUDAYAAN: NEUROANTROPOLOGI DENGAN PENARI MINANGKABAU (BRAIN, CULTURE AND ENVIRONMENT: THE NEUROANTHROPOLOGIST AND THE SELF-ACCOMPANIED MINANGKABAU DANCER). JATI - JOURNAL OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES, [S.l.], v. 13, p. 191-204, dec. 2008. ISSN 2600-8653. Available at: <https://jati.um.edu.my/article/view/6210>. Date accessed: 24 aug. 2019.
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