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Chapter 7: Music of Indonesia. Terms & Ideas to know. Gamelan Tuning and scales ( P é log and Sl é ndro) Gendhing Loud and Soft Playing styles Differences between Bali and Java. Southeast Asia/South Pacific. Australia (didjeridu) Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc. Indonesia

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Chapter 7 music of indonesia

Chapter 7:Music of Indonesia

Terms ideas to know

Terms & Ideas to know

  • Gamelan

  • Tuning and scales (Pélog and Sléndro)

  • Gendhing

  • Loud and Soft Playing styles

  • Differences between Bali and Java

Southeast asia south pacific

Southeast Asia/South Pacific

  • Australia (didjeridu)

  • Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc.

  • Indonesia

    • Java

    • Bali

General information on indonesia

General Information on Indonesia

  • Old cultural traditions, but much cultural diversity due to migration

  • Boundaries formed during centuries of European colonial domination; many islands

  • A national language adopted in early twentieth century, but more than two hundred separate languages exist.

  • Pan-Indonesian popular culture is developing, but regional diversity continues.

Heavy population centers

Heavy Population Centers

  • Jakarta in Java is the Indonesian capital, about nine million people (New York City is 7,500,000); extreme wealth and poverty

  • Central Java is one of the most densely populated regions in the world

Two major ethnic groups

Two Major Ethnic Groups

  • Javanese is the largest ethnic group on the island (about 2/3); common language and cultural traits

  • Sudanese, Language and arts are distinct from the Javanese

General qualities of the people

General Qualities of the People

  • Mostly a farming society, Wet-rice agriculture

  • Religious practices: most profess to be Muslim, but only a small percentage follow orthodox practice. More adhere to an Islam-Hinduism-Buddhism blend. Layer of belief in benevolent and mischievous spirits and in ancestor veneration

Kraton in yogyakarta

Kraton in Yogyakarta

  • One of Java’s two major royal courts; official home of the tenth sultan

  • A complex of small buildings and open pavilions

  • Earthly symbol of the ordered universe; oriented to the cardinal directions

  • Ruler lives at the very center; imbued with divine powers

  • Kraton still regarded as a cultural center

Gamelon of the kraton in yogyakarta

Gamelon of the Kraton in Yogyakarta


What is a gamelan

What is a Gamelan?

  • Gamelan refers to set of instruments unified by their tuning, and by decorative carvings and paintings

  • Primarily consists of several kinds of metal slab instruments and tuned knobbed gongs

  • Also normally have at least one drum and may have other kinds of instruments; vary in size; some ancient gamelans have small number of instrument

  • Those in central Java usually large with wide range of instruments

Gamelan ensembles

Gamelan ‘Ensembles’

  • Gamelan ensembles are kept in many of these court pavilions

  • Some old and used for rare ritual occasions

  • Some newer and used more frequently

  • Most believed to contain special powers

  • Are shown respect and given offerings

Court gamelans were often quite formal

Court Gamelans Were Often Quite Formal

Chapter 7 music of indonesia

Four Sample InstrumentsRebab (fiddle)Saron and Gender are slabinstruments(xylophones)Bonang uses knobbed gongs

Gamelan video from bali jvcv9 1 sekar jupun

Gamelan video from Bali (JVCv9-1 “Sekar jupun”)

  • Begins with knobbed gong players alternating with players of xylophone-type instrument

  • The main body of the piece begins with double-headed drum

  • Large gong marks dividing point; the small cymbals are almost constant

  • Notice suling (flute) and rebab (fiddle)

Gamelans serve various purposes now

Gamelans Serve Various Purposes Now

  • Used in all-night performances of shadow plays

  • Classical Javanese dance rehearsed regularly and performed for special palace functions

  • More activities outside of the court in contemporary society; sponsored by private individuals, national radio station, public schools and colleges

Some universities in the u s now have gamelans

Some Universities in the U.S. now have Gamelans

Scale comparison

Scale Comparison

Present day gamelans tuned to one of two scale systems

Present-day gamelans tuned to one of two scale systems

  • Sléndro = Five-tone system made up of nearly equidistant intervals; normally notated 1-2-3-5-6 (no 4)

  • Pélog = Seven-tone system made up of large and small intervals; normally notated 1-2-3-4-5-6-7

  • Gamelans may consist entirely of one or the other or may have a full set of instruments for each system (double ensemble)

  • The scale systems are incompatible and rarely played simultaneously

Arrangement of instruments

Arrangement of Instruments

  • No standard arrangement of the instruments in the performance space

  • Almost without exception, they are placed at right angles to one another

  • Reflects Javanese concern with the cardinal directions

  • Larger instruments generally in the back, smaller in the front

Two major groupings of instruments

Two major groupings of instruments

  • “Loud-playing” are associated with festivals, processions, and other noisy outdoor events; strictly instrumental; drums and louder metal instruments used

  • “Soft-playing” are intended for more intimate gatherings, often indoors; involved singing; instruments are played softly

Examples of javanese gamelan

Examples of Javanese Gamelan

  • More formal and sedate than Bali

  • CD: A Javanese Ghendhing (Gamelan composition) in performance

    • III:2: “Bubaran Kembang Pacar”

    • III:4: Ladrang Wilujeng

Gamelan construction

Gamelan construction

  • Bronze is the preferred metal

  • Brass and iron are also used, especially in rural areas; cheaper

  • Bronze gamelan instruments are forged in a long and difficult process; metal worker held in high esteem; forging requires great skill

  • Forging also imbued with mystical significance

Construction cont

Construction (cont.)

  • Process is believed to make one especially vulnerable to dangerous forces in the spirit world; smiths make ritual preparation

  • Largest gongs require a full month of labor; a truckload of coal

  • A month of meditation, prayer, fasting, and preparation by the smith

  • Careful handling; a false hit can crack the gong and ruin the work

Each gamelan is generally a unique set

Each Gamelan is Generally a Unique Set

  • Would look and sound out of place in another ensemble

  • Attempting to copy the tuning and design of palace instruments used to be forbidden

  • Reserved for the ruler and his power

  • Great care is taken to arrive at a pleasing tuning; one that is seen to fit the particular physical condition of the instruments; fits the taste of the individual owner

Javanese music is closely interrelated with other performing arts

Javanese music is closely interrelated with other performing arts

  • “Concerts” of gamelan music rare; more often as social event

  • Might be played to commemorate birth, circumcision, wedding; or sponsored by family as background music for social event; guests socialize and talk freely

  • Most often performed as accompaniment for dance or theater

Gamelan and drama

Gamelan and Drama

  • The ensemble might accompany a drama based on Javanese legendary history

  • Often used in shadow puppet theater—wayang kulit; Performances normally last until dawn

  • Master puppeteer, dhalang, operates all the puppets; story typically puppeteer’s own rendition of a well-known story, or episode from the Ramayana or Mahabharata

  • Musicians do not play constantly, but must be ready to respond to a signal from the puppeteer; a good musician knows many hundreds of pieces

The shadow puppet show wayang kulit

The shadow puppet show (wayang kulit)

  • JVCv10-2.

  • III:5 and 6 – “Playon Lasem” (slendro pathet nam)

Bali a small island just east of java

Bali: A Small Island Just East of Java

  • Spectacular beauty; most people involved in some kind of artistic work

  • Blend of Hindu and Buddhist practices; not as much Islam influence

Balinese gamelan

Balinese Gamelan

  • Music similar to Java, but not the same; more variety of ensembles; music more dynamic and exciting

  • Instruments tuned slightly off to create “shimmering” sound (beating effect)

Beating effect

Beating Effect

John Backus, The Acoustical Foundations of Music

Kosalia arini

“Kosalia Arini”

  • CD example (III:7) older piece but notice more asymmetical, less “stiff” quality than Javanese

  • By Wayan Beratha

  • CD Example III:8 Batak Music from Sumatra--Bamboo Tube Zithers emulate gong.

  • Beating Effect!

Balinese gamelan1

Balinese Gamelan

Indonesian popular music

Indonesian Popular Music

  • Many popular styles

  • Examples:

  • CD III:9 Begadang II

  • CD III:10 Shufflendang-Shufflending

  • CD III:11 Distorsi

Terms ideas to know1

Terms & Ideas to know

  • Gamelan

  • Tuning and scales (Pélog and Sléndro)

  • Gendhing

  • Loud and Soft Playing styles

  • Differences between Bali and Java

  • Beating Effect

East meets west minimalism

East Meets West--Minimalism

  • Steve Reich

  • Terry Riley

  • Philip Glass

    Koyaanisqatsi-Life out of Balance

Assignment 6

Assignment 6

Write an essay of at least one page, double spaced in which you describe five different aspects of this course which fulfill the five course goals found in the syllabus. More than just a list, each paragraph should develop, in detail, how each element fulfills each of the five goals.

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