Balinese music compared to the composer bela bartok
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Balinese Music Compared to the Composer: Bela Bartok. By: Samantha Tagle . Population: 3,151,000 Highest Elevation in Bali is Mount Agung which is 3,000 meters above sea level. Bali is a very fertile for agricultural crop region because of its rainfall . . Geographical Influences .

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Balinese Music Compared to the Composer: Bela Bartok

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Balinese Music Compared to the Composer: Bela Bartok

By: Samantha Tagle

  • Population: 3,151,000

  • Highest Elevation in Bali is Mount Agung which is 3,000 meters above sea level.

  • Bali is a very fertile for agricultural crop region because of its rainfall.

Geographical Influences

  • Landmass: 5, 532 km(2)

  • Natural Resources: Rice, Coffee, Wood


  • Balinese: 89%

  • Javanese: 7%

  • Baliaga:1%

  • Madurese: 1%

    Balinese and Indonesian are the main languages that are spoken in Bali, while English is a common third language.


  • Balinese Hinduism 93. 18%

  • Islam 4.79%

  • Christianity 1.38%

  • Buddhism 0.64%


  • Bali is famous for their different forms of art which include paintings, sculptures, woodcarvings, handcrafts, and performing arts.

  • A series of ceremonies and rituals called Manusayadnya is performed for each stage of life.

  • Death and cremation is usually the biggest ceremony. The cremation ceremonies are colorful, exciting and loud. They require a lot of preparation which can take years after the death. In the mean time the body is temporarily burried.

Traditional Balinese Music

  • Gamelan: Name of a Balinese orchestra and a type of instrument.

  • Completely percussion

  • Idiom: Folk/ Dance

  • Music used for religious rituals

Gamelan Orchestra

  • 15-20 players- no conductor

  • Heterophony- layers of main melody played at the same time

  • Complicated web of sound

  • Four groups called Keteg

  • Gongs of different sizes mark cycles of music-Gongan

  • Lower pitch- longer note values

  • Melodic line called Balungan

  • Solo instruments played very fast


  • Gamelan

  • Gongs

  • Wood xylophones

  • Cymbals

  • Flutes

  • Drums

  • Bamboo Flutes


  • Gong Wadon: The largest Balinese Gong (Bass)

  • Gong Lanang: Slight higher pitch than the Wadon

  • Kempur: Mid points in the metric cycle

  • Klintong: High pitched played with a hard mallet for a piercing song

Bamboo Xylophones

  • Gambang: a pair of two xylophones played with double mallets

  • Gamelan JogedBumbang: 10 bar xylophone with bars suspended in a wooden frame- played with rubber headed mallets


  • Suling Bali: End Blown bamboo flute which plays the scales

  • Played with a circular breathing technique

Bela Bartok

  • March 25, 1881- September 26,1945

  • Greatest Hungarian composer

  • Grew up in the Greater Hungary of the Austro-Hungarian Empire

  • Spent early years of childhood away from other children because he had smallpox. This is when he spent most of his time listening to his mom play

Bela Bartok Continued

  • Lived in poverty

  • Became sick with leukemia

  • The ASCAP (American Society for Composer, Authors, and Publishers) helped Bartok get better treatment

  • Died on September 26, 1945 in a New york hospital with his wife and son holding each hand


  • Taught himself composition by reading scores 

  • Interested in other folk tradition music

  • Went to PozsonyAcadamy and after he graduated he started his career as a concert pianist.

  • Studied folk music of many different coutries

  • Wanted to analyze major portions of the world's folk music


  • As a teenager, Bartok wrote chamber music in the style of Brahms under the influence of composer ErnoDohnanyi.

  • Influenced by Richard Strauss's perfomance of Also SprachZarathrustra

  • Bartok then combined his passion for Strauss with his Hungarian nationalism and produced Kossuth, his first major work.

  • Influenced by folk music from around the world

Prominent Works

  • Became a music instructor at the Budapest Academy in 1907

  • Did this for over 25 years

  • Performed in 630 concerts in 22 countries

  • Composed Concerto for Orchestra which Bartok's most popular piece

Music Style

  • motoristic rhythms- irregular meters and off beat accents

  • -textures- homophonic

  • harmony is result of contrapuntal movement- out of character of the melodies

  • polymodality

  • The music if Bali inspired Bela Bartok's No. 109 piece "From the Island of Bali"

  • Octatonic- combining 2 four note units

  • chromatic

  • polymodality- combining if different modes using same tonic

  • C# -ding/ dIng D - dong/dOng
E - deng/dEng 
G#- dung/dUng 
A - dang/dAng


  • Binary Form

  • Begins soft then progresses to faster tempo

  • 6/8 time then transitions to 4/4

  • Both hands move up octave then back down with sforzando

  • Sustained base with contrapunal movements

  • Octatonic Scales

  • Diminished fifth- atonal sound of Balinese music

  • Alternating hands- complex nature

Works Cited










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