Guide to the Papers of Margaret Kartomi


MS 9921 et al

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: ©2008.

Collection Summary

Kartomi, Margaret J. (Margaret Joy)
Papers of Margaret Kartomi
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 9921 et al
3.48 metres (16 boxes + 1 folio box + 1 file)
Language of Materials
National Library of Australia


Scope and Content

The papers of Margaret Kartomi document her activities as a composer, musicologist and ethnomusicologist.

Kartomi has published widely on aspects of the musical cultures of Asia, Australia and Europe, contributing new theoretical approaches in the areas of culture contact, music aesthetics, organology and the nature of child-created music. Her main specialisation has been Indonesian music, and since the 1990s she has also conducted extensive research on Jewish music in Southeast Asia.

The papers consist largely of correspondence, research and publications, dating from the 1960s to 2002. There are also musical compositions written in the 1960s.


Access conditions may apply to this collection, please refer to the collection's catalogue record for further information (

Copying and Publishing

Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Preferred Citation

Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of Margaret Kartomi, National Library of Australia [class number, box number and series and file number]'.


The papers were donated by Margaret Kartomi in January 2003.

The Kartomi Collection of Music of 24 of the Provinces of Indonesia is held in the Monash Music Archive and National Library of Indonesia, Jakarta. The Department of Music at Monash University also holds other field recordings made by Kartomi.

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) holds reports and sound recordings by Kartomi relating to her research carried out with the Yalata people in 1969.

A special edition of the Journal of Musicological Research entitled 'Past Resonance, Future Memory, Essays on Music and Language in Honor of Maragaret Kartomi', guest edited by Kay Dreyfus, was dedicated to Kartomi in July 2005 to mark her 65th birthday.


The papers were received by the Library in a semi-ordered state. Some were in labelled folders or bundles, which have been kept intact as named subject files. Other papers, particularly the correspondence series, were not in any discernible order and they have been arranged chronologically by Library staff. Where a file or group of papers was not labelled but appeared to be deliberately grouped, its arrangement has been retained.

There is some overlap between series. Series 1 contains a wide range of material so should be checked for possible additional papers related to the named subject files in the other series. An example is the Gamelan Digul project.

Biographical Note

Margaret Kartomi (nee Hutchesson), born in Adelaide in 1940, is a pianist, composer, musicologist and one of Australia's leading ethnomusicologists.

Kartomi studied at the University of Adelaide, receiving an AUA (Diploma of Associate in Music) with Chief Practical Study in Pianoforte in 1961, a Bachelor of Arts in 1963 and a Bachelor of Music in Composition and Piano, with Honours, in 1964. In 1968 she completed her PhD at Humboldt University, Berlin.

Kartomi returned to Australia and was employed at Monash University as a research fellow. In 1989 she became a professor and was appointed Head of the Music Department. She has held visiting professorships and guest lectured in many other universities internationally.

From a young age Kartomi interacted with people from diverse cultural backgrounds, as her family was active in helping refugees settle into Australian life. She became interested in Indonesian culture, and at the age of 19 visited Indonesia with her family. As a teenager she also met Hidris Kartomi, an Indonesian who had settled in Adelaide, and the two later married.

Since the 1970s Kartomi and her husband have travelled extensively, especially in Southeast Asia. Kartomi has conducted fieldwork and recorded music in many parts of Indonesia and neighbouring countries, including Australia. The Kartomi Collection of Music of 24 of the Provinces of Indonesia is held in the Monash Music Archive and National Library of Indonesia, Jakarta.

Kartomi has written, contributed to and edited many books and articles about a wide range of music-related subjects. Her major publications have included Matjapat songs in central and west Java (1973), Musical Instruments of Indonesia (1985), On concepts and classifications of musical instruments (1990), and The gamelan Digul and the prison camp musician who built it: an Australian link with the Indonesian revolution (2002).

In 1984 Kartomi was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and in 1991 she was inducted as a Member of the Order of Australia for her services to music.

Kartomi continues to hold a number of institutional and society affiliations including membership of the American Musicological Society and the International Council for Traditional Music, and Council membership of the Society for Ethnomusicology. She has twice been President of the Musicological Society of Australia, and remains a member of the Society. She is also Director at Large of the International Musicological Society.

Today, Kartomi continues her long association with Monash University, where she is Coordinator of Research and Ethnomusicology. She also co-founded and co-directs the Australian Archive of Jewish Music at Monash University.

Biographical Reference(s)

Prof. Margaret Kartomi staff listing on Monash University Music Conservatorium website.

Transcript of interview with Margaret Kartomi by Ian Henschke on ABC Radio 7 November 2005.

Item Descriptions

Class MS 9921. Original consignment

Comprises correspondence, research and publications dating from the 1960s to 2002. There are also musical compositions written in the 1960s.

Contained in 10 boxes, 1 folio box.

Series 1. Correspondence, 1968-2002

This series contains personal and professional correspondence relating to Kartomi's research, publications, work at Monash University, and professional interests. The files include personal and professional correspondence, publications by or about Kartomi and her activities, publicity for the School of Music, conference papers, and (in files 12 and 16) photographs. In later years there is considerable correspondence relating to Jewish music.

The arrangement of files that were received labelled or clearly ordered has been preserved. Material received loose has been arranged chronologically by Library staff and interfiled as appropriate.

Correspondence, 1968-1989 (File 1)
Correspondence, 1975-1991 (File 2)
Correspondence, 1978-1983 (File 3)

Includes letter from the Australian Academy of the Humanities 22 May 1982 informing Kartomi she had been elected a Fellow of the Academy.

Correspondence, 1987-1989 (File 4)
Correspondence, 1989-1990 (File 5)
Correspondence, 1990-1991 (File 6)
Correspondence, 1990-1994 (File 7)
Correspondence, 1990-1991 (File 8-9)
Correspondence, 1991 (File 10)
Correspondence, 1992-1994 (File 11)
Correspondence, 1992-1997 (File 12)
Correspondence, 1995 (File 13)
Correspondence, 1996 (File 14)
Correspondence, 1996-1999 (File 15-17)

These files include correspondence relating to the Kartomi Indonesian Field Collection of Indonesian Music Project. Folder 16 contains a photo album of the handover ceremony of the Kartomi Field Collection.

Correspondence, 1997 (File 18)
Correspondence, 1997-1998 (File 19)
Correspondence, 1997-1999 (File 20-21)
Correspondence, 1998 (File 22)
Correspondence, 1997-2001 (File 23)

This file relates mostly to the IMS (International Musicological Society) and the ICTM (International Council for Traditional Music). See also Series 4, file 3.

Correspondence, 1998-2002 (File 24-25)
Correspondence, 1999 (File 26)
Correspondence, 2000 (File 27)
Correspondence, 2000-2001 (File 28-29)
Correspondence, 2001-2002 (File 30-31)
Correspondence, 2001-2002 (File 32)

Series 2. Personal documents, 1961-1998

This series contains curricula vitae, biographical notes, programs for graduation ceremonies, family history information, and information relating to employment and the Music Department. These documents were in existing files.

Similar material may be found in Series 1.

Personal documents, 1961-1963, 1996 (File 1)

Contains programs for University of Adelaide graduation ceremonies in 1961 and 1963, which lists Kartomi's graduation ceremonies for a Diploma in Music and Bachelor of Music respectively. Also includes a genealogical chart Descendants of John Richardson, compiled and sent to Kartomi by Rhys Walkley.

Personal documents, 1989-1997 (File 2-6)

Folder 3, originally labelled "Pat on back file" mostly contains Kartomi's biographical information and lists of publications. Folders 5 and 6 consist largely of correspondence and promotional material relating to biographical reference resources.

Series 3. Monash University, 1985-1999

This series contains subject files as organised and labelled by Kartomi. They contain papers relating to Kartomi's projects and responsibilities at Monash University, including post-graduate student supervision, staffing and re-structuring, study leave, and to the Australian Archive of Jewish Music.

Related material may be found in Series 1.

Papers relating to the Australian Archive of Jewish Music and the Friends of Music, 1993-1996 (File 1)
Papers relating to postgraduate students and the Halls of Residence Committee, 1993-1999 (File 2)
Papers relating to the Gamelan Digul project and Music courses offered via Open Learning Australia, 1994-1999 (File 3)
Papers relating to research reports, the Friends of Music, and the Centre of Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS), 1995-1999 (File 4)
Papers relating to staffing and re-structuring issues at the Music Department, 1997-1998 (File 5)
Travel diaries, leave application and other documents relating to official travel, 1985-1996 (File 6)
Correspondence and other documents relating to overseas trips, 1996-1999 (File 7)

Series 4. Conferences, papers and articles, 1981-2002

This series contains files as organised and labelled by Kartomi relating to her contributions to academic journals and participation in musicological and other committees and organisations.

Publications and related papers, 1981-1998 (File 1)

Includes papers relating Kartomi's contributions to the Andrew McCredie Festschrift and other publications.

Publications and related papers, 1988-2002 (File 2)

Includes a file of articles which reference Kartomi's works, and papers relating to the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM).

Publications and related papers, 1989-1991 (File 3)

Includes papers relating to Balungan (a gamelan-related publication) and the International Musicological Society (IMS).

Publications and related papers, 1994-1997 (File 4)

Contains copies of Indonesia Today and related papers, and a document relating to the IMS Directorium.

Publications and related papers, 1993-1998 (File 5)

Papers relating to the TAASA Review, the Victorian Society of Asian Arts (VSAA), and the Indonesian Arts Society (IAS).

Series 5. Publicity material and press clippings, 1976-1985

This series contains publicity and press clippings collected and filed by Kartomi. They relate to Monash University Music Department activities, and to Kartomi and her family. Also includes Musicological Society of Australia conference programme and newsletter.

Similar material may be found in Series 1.

1 file

Series 6. Trip to China, 1977

This material relates to a group tour Kartomi and her husband went on to China in April 1977. It includes postcards (both blank and written to Kartomi's daughter and parents), travel gazettes, maps and other tourist information.

1 file

Series 7. Music scores, 1960s

Series 8. Interviews, 1991-1999

Cassette tapes of interviews with and speeches by Kartomi.

'MK Radio B'Cast. World Music. 29.1.91,', 29 January 1991 (Item 1)
'RADIO KITA. Interview with M Kartomi. 322. 4.4.96 by Tuti Mitchell', 4 April 1996 (Item 2)
'Prof. M Kartomi interview. Arts Today 26 March 1998', 26 March 1998 (Item 3)

A fax from Michele Watts of Celestial Harmonies, dated 24 March 1998 (contained in Series 1, file 22) provides some detail about this interview. The interview was conducted by Louise Adler, with Eckart (Rahn) to join the discussion by phone from Beijing. In 1998 Kartomi produced volume 15 of Celestial Harmonies' Music of Islam series, entitled Muslim Music of Indonesia: East and West Sumatra.

'8-min talk by M. KARTOMI at concert in Music Auditorium 29.5.99 on presentation of plaques by NMO', 29 May 1999 (Item 4)

A transcript of this speech is contained in Series 1, file 21.

'Interview re Alice Moyle. MK others interviewed. MATTHEW LEONARD. RADIO-EYE. 5/6/99', 5 June 1999 (Item 5)
'"Alice Moyle" Radio National Interview - M KARTOMI, S WILD, J Stubington interviewer, 5.6.99, 1-2pm Radio National', 5 June 1999 (Item 6)
'Asia Pacific. Thursday 26th August, 1999. Presented by Peter Mares. Duration - 25 minutes', 26 August 1999 (Item 7)

Class MS Acc07.134. Consignment added 2007

Comprises correspondence, concert programmes, conference programmes and related ephemera, 1982-2007.

Contained in 2 boxes.

Class MS Acc09.206. Consignment added 2013

Comprises a selection of hardcopy emails to and from Kartomi, 2002-2009, miscellaneous papers including greeting cards, invitations, letters of reference, Monash University School of Music documents, publicity about Kartomi and non-email correspondence.

Contained in 2 boxes.

Class MS Acc13.083. Consignment added 2013

Comprises correspondence, primarily printed emails; biographical information on Margaret Kartomi's career; articles and speeches; 1 audio tape.

Contained in 1 box.

Class MS Acc15.010. Consignment added 2015

Comprises email correspondence, mostly professional; conference materials; greeting cards and personal calendars.

Contained in 1 box.

Class MS Acc15.107. Consignment added 2015

Comprises email correspondence.

Contained in 1 file.

Container List

Series File Box
1 1-6 1
1 7-11 2
1 12-15 3
1 16-20 4
1 21-26 5
1 27-31 6
1 32 7
2 1-6 7
3 1-5 8
3 6-7 9
4 1-3 9
4 4-5 10
5 1 10
6 1 10
7 All Folio
8 All 10