An Analytical Interpretation of Ananda Sukarlan’s Rapsodia Nusantara No. 4


Ananda Sukarlan became the first Indonesian performer-composer to be listed in the

publication "The 2000 Outstanding Musicians of the 20th Century", appearing in this

biography as someone who has had a significant influence on music education. He is

recognized as a well-known pianist and composer, both in Indonesia and internationally.

Among the most important works written for the pianoforte are his set of Rapsodia Nusantara.

Sukarlan’s compositional style could best be defined as being at once virtuosic and brilliant,

and this is especially evident in Rapsodia Nusantara for the piano. The researcher will present

his own interpretation of Rapsodia Nusantara no 4 by Ananda Sukarlan, set against the

history of its conception. The composer’s approach to composition unashamedly takes

influence from traditional Indonesian musical styles, and this influences his musical identity,

to a lesser or greater extent. Sukarlan adapts elements of Indonesian music and fuses them

with their Western classical counterparts. In the case of the Rapsodia Nusantara No. 4,

Sukarlan also tries to remain original and authentic to his own compositional style, creating a

unique musical aesthetic. This present thesis aims to provide a better understanding of the rich

Indonesian classical music repertoire, whilst simultaneously making specific reference to

Sukarlan’s musical ideas in his fourth Rapsodia Nusantara. The thesis will closely follow

Sukarlan’s compositional process and proposes to place this journey within my own personal

interpretive framework as pianist. It is hoped, therefore, that exploring Sukarlan’s music in

this way, the author will be able to provide a comprehensive interpretation of this very

valuable work, and that it can be of some use for pianists, composers, and educators alike.


Key Words: Rapsodia Nusantara no 4 by Ananda Sukarlan, Interpretation, Historical