Martopangrawit, R.L., significant Indonesian composer, teacher, performer, and music theorist; b. Surakarta, Central Java, April 4, 1914; d. there, April 17, 1986. He was a descendant of many generations of royal musicians and became a member of the royal gamelan at the Kraton (palace) Surakarta at 13. In 1948 he joined the offices of the Central Javanese Ministry of Education and Culture; also taught in Surakarta at the Konservatori Karawitan (K.O.K.A.R., 1951–64) and Akademi Seni Karawiten Indonesia (A.S.K.I., from 1964; later Sekolah Tinggi Seni Indonesia [S.T.S.I.]). Considered among the finest of traditional musicians, Martopangrawit garnered fame for his inventive and stylistically diverse compositions, which numbered over 100; his earliest dated work was Ladrang Biwadhapraja (1939), and his last was Ra Ngandel (1986); others included Ladrang Cikar Bobrok (1943), Ketawang ASKI, Ladrang Asri (1946), Ladrang Gandasuli (1946), Ladrang Lo Kowe Nang (1954), Lancaran Kebat (1961), Lancaran Uyal-uyel (1962), Ketawang Pamegatsih (1966), Nglara Ati (1970), Mijil Anglir Medung (1981), and Gending Parisuka (1982). He was also active in the preservation and development of many classical music and dance forms, particularly those associated with the Kraton Surakarta, where he was promoted to “Bupati Anon-anon” and given the honorary title Raden Tumenggung Martodipura (1984). He also publ, many books on the Central Javanese gamelan; some of these comprise collections of music notation, including those of his own pieces:Gending-gending Martopangrawit (1968) and Lagu Dolanan Anggitan Martopangrawit (children’s songs). Among his theoretical works is his landmark treatise Pengetahuan Karawitan (The Theory of Classical Javanese Music; Surakarta, 1972; Eng. tr. by M. Hatch, in J. Becker and A. Feinstein, eds., Karawitan: Source Readings in Javanese Gamelan and Vocal Music, vol. I, Ann Arbor, 1984). Other publications include a book of drumming notation, Titilaras Kendangan; a compendium of melodic patterns used by the gender (an important instrument in the Javanese gamelan), Titilaras Cengkok-cengkok Genderan Dengan Wiledannya (2 vols.); and a collection of children’s songs, Lagu Dolanan Lare-lare.
—Niciolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire