Dr. Andy McGraw

Keeping Time

July 7, 2023

Research & Innovation

Associate Professor of Music Andy McGraw has received a 2024 Fulbright Teacher Grant to assist Indonesian college students and faculty studying rhythm in the music of Java, one of the largest islands in Indonesia.

McGraw is an expert in Southeast Asia traditional and experimental music, intercultural performance, and rhythm analysis. In the past, he has traveled to Indonesia to record traditional music performances.

Now, with his Fulbright support, he will use the audio recordings to teach two courses at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts, Surakarta in Central Java. Through the courses, he will teach students and faculty how to analyze the musical recordings and local Indonesian music scenes using digital humanities tools.

“Javanese music is as worthy of analysis as is the music of Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart, but thus far comparatively little analysis has been devoted to this repertoire,” McGraw said. “I have several recordings from musicians who have since passed away, and so these recordings help to become a cultural archive for young musicians to refer to.”

Indonesian music is renowned for its distinctive sound, particularly involving the use of percussion instruments. In a traditional gamelan orchestra, for instance, musicians play instruments such as gongs, two-headed kendang drums, and the suling, a type of bamboo flute.

“My background is in percussion,” he said. “Within the context of Javanese music, most musicians study and perform percussion, strings, and wind.”

McGraw hopes to grow Southeast Asian opportunities within UR’s international education programming and encourage more faculty to pursue collaborative research opportunities with Indonesian and other Southeast Asian scholars.

“This program deepens both my and the University of Richmond’s long-standing collaborations with artists and institutions in Indonesia,” McGraw said. “UR’s Office of International Education recently established a summer internship in Indonesia, and I hope to visit that program while I am in residence in Java in 2024.”

McGraw previously received a Fulbright-Hays grant in 2002 to support his doctoral research in Indonesia, and he has hosted numerous Indonesian artist-scholars and language instructors at UR, most recently composer and vocalist Peni Candra Rini, a Fulbright visiting scholar.