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Chapter 7 Indonesian Gamelan Music: Interlocking Rhythms, Interlocking Worlds

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Chapter 7 Indonesian Gamelan Music: Interlocking Rhythms, Interlocking Worlds. Bali is a small island in the Southeast Asian nation of Indonesia Hinduism and Buddhism were brought to Bali from Java, blending together with earlier Balinese beliefs to form new religious ideas - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of Chapter 7 Indonesian Gamelan Music: Interlocking Rhythms, Interlocking Worlds

  • Chapter 7Indonesian Gamelan Music:Interlocking Rhythms, Interlocking Worlds

  • Bali is a small island in the Southeast Asian nation of IndonesiaHinduism and Buddhism were brought to Bali from Java, blending together with earlier Balinese beliefs to form new religious ideasBali was colonized by the Dutch in 1906-1908 The Republic of Indonesia gained full independence in 1949

  • Introduction

  • The term gamelan essentially means ensemble or orchestra, and refers to a wide variety of percussion-dominated musical ensembles in IndonesiaEach gamelan contains large numbers of individual instruments, but the gamelan is also considered in its entirety as a single musical instrumentGamelan beleganjur is a processional ensemble traditionally used in warfare, but now associated with many rituals and ceremonies.

  • Balinese Gamelan Music in Context

  • Bali and the Republic of IndonesiaBali is one of 17,000+ islands in Indonesia3 million people live hereHome to an enormous tourist industryThe capital of Indonesia is Jakarta, which holds 14 millionIndonesia became independent in 1945, gaining full national sovereignty in 1949The national slogan translates to Unity in Diversity

  • Religion in Bali and IndonesiaIndonesia is the largest Islamic nation in the world, both geographically and in terms of populationBali is the only province in which Hinduism is the major religionBalinese Hinduism is a unique mix of Hindusim, Buddhism, and earlier ideas from indigenous Balinese beliefsGamelan music is central to Balinese Hinduism and is performed at most religious ceremonies

  • Hindu-Balinese cosmology conceives of the universe as having three worldsThe Upper world contains the gods and ancestorsThe Middle World is Bali itself, the earthly realm of the BalineseThe Lower World begins where land meets sea and contains evil spirits who pose threats to humankind

  • Insights and PerspectivesBali Aga: The Original Balinese and Their Gamelan Music

  • In some villages, people follow indigenous religious faiths that havent been largely influenced by Hindusim or BuddhismThey are the Bali Aga, or Original Balinese.Although Islam is not as influential in Bali as the rest of Indonesia, there are several Balinese villages that are mostly Muslim

  • Gamelan in Bali and BeyondWhen comparing Central Javanese court gamelan and Balinese gamelan gong kebyar, note that they both generally have:Related instruments (bronze gongs, metallophones, drums, bamboo flutes, bowed chordophones)A basis in cyclic musical formsRelated tuning systemsMultipart textures in which higher-pitched instruments play at faster rhythmic rates than lower-pitched instruments

  • Melodic organization in which a main, slow melody is embellished by faster-moving parts on other instrumentsClose associations with forms of dance, dance-drama, and arts like shadow puppetryA common historical foundation in Hindu religious cultures

  • CD ex. #1-7 is a Central Javanese court gamelan pieceEvokes the royal pageantry and splendor of the courtCD ex. #2-12 is a Balinese exampleThis is an example of kebyar, meaning to flare up.Fiery and explosive, it is from the early 20th c. when Balinese society was experiences tremendous social upheaval

  • There are over two dozen distinct types of gamelan found on the tiny island of BaliSome use instruments of iron, hardwood, bamboo, or other substancesSome use only voicesThere are thousands of functioning gamelan clubs on the island

  • Insights and PerspectivesThe Paired Tuning of Female and Male Instruments

  • Gamelan ensembles feature metallophone instruments called ganga, which come in either one or two pairs in each octave range.Each pair has a female and a male, in which the female instrument is tuned slightly lower than its male counterpartThe instruments may sound out-of-tune, but the difference of pitch is intentional.The blending of the paired instruments creates an acoustical beating effect known as ombak, or wave.The Balinese say that the presence of ombak breathes life into the gamelan sound.

  • The Gamelan Beleganjur: An Introduction

  • Listen to Musical Guided Tour One to learn more about the instruments, gong cycle, melodic relationships, interlocking parts, and structure of the music.The foundation is the gong cycle, which repeats throughout the piece.The melodic layer has two components: a core melody and rapid-paced elaborations played upon higher-pitched instrumentsThe final layer is provided by drums and cymbals, which play in complex interlocking patterns.

  • Musical Guided TourThe Gamelan BeleganjurFollow along with the transcript on pages 96-97 of the text as you listen to the Tour for this chapter. Audio Musical Guided Tour

  • Kilitan Telu Interlocking Rhythms: A Musical Symbol of Communal Interdependence

  • The interlocking texture of the percussion instruments, known as kilitan telu, is symbolic of broader Balinese cultural values like communal interdependence.The individual rhythms employed in kilitan telu are seen as incomplete without the others: each one needs the other two rhythms.When played together, the whole kilitan telu is greater than the sum of its individual parts.

  • Balinese Kecak and the Kilitan TeluKecak is a Balinese dance-drama with music provided by a gamelan of voicesThe musical texture includes a rhythmic chorus and gamelan gong cycles, melodies, and textures imitated vocally.Onomatopoeic syllables represent gamelan instruments (sirr, pur, mong)

  • Reenacts episodes from the Ramayana, a grand Hindu epic.Results from a collaboration with Balinese musicians and a German painter in connection with a 1933 film, and is now largely marketed for touristic purposesListen to CD ex. #2-13 for an excerpt of a Kecak performance

  • Experiencing Balinese Interlocking, Kecak-Style

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  • The Gamelan Beleganjur in Battles of Good versus Evil

  • Balinese individuals and communities have concern for perceived threats from malevolent spirit beingsBalinese lore claims that the gamelan beleganjur was created by the evil spirits of the Lower World, but was later transformed as a force for good by the Middle World Balinese.The gamelan beleganjur is used as a source of mediation between the three worlds of the Balinese cosmosIn rituals like cremation processions, beleganjur music is used to intimidate malevolent spirits who travel the Middle World to do harm to humans.

  • Beleganjur Music in Hindu-Balinese Cremation ProcessionsCremation is seen as an essential step for freeing the soul from the earthly realm.The body or exhumed remains are ritually prepared and transported in an enormous cremation tower to the Temple of the Dead.The procession is seen as perilous, and the beleganjur music is used to frighten away evil spirits who attempt to abduct the uncremated souls

  • There is a general feeling of crowdedness that is common to virtually every Balinese ritual or social occasion.Contributing factors are singing, music, and other soundsThe towers contain multiple tiers, and the largest towers are researched for wealthy and high-caste individuals.It may take from six, 20, or even more men to carry the towerListen to CD ex. #2-14 for an excerpt of a 1995 field recording from a Balinese cremation process, which is discussed and summarized on pages 101-03 of the text.

  • Insights and PerspectivesCaste and Class in Bali

  • Hindu societies like India and Bali traditionally base social organization upon a caste system, or a hereditary social caste.Caste might determine ones educational and professional opportunities, and one is born into a caste.The Balinese caste system contains four castes: the priestly caste, the warrior caste, the merchant caste, and the commoner caste.About 90% belong to the commoner caste, and there are no Untouchables.Caste also determines ones religious life and obligations.

  • Walking Warriors:Worldly Battlegrounds of Beleganjur Music

  • Bali has been ravaged by wars throughout its history, and the great Balinese warrior is seen as a heroic figure.Warfare was traditionally accompanied by music from the gamelan beleganjur, the gamelan of walking warriors.

  • Lomba Beleganjur: The Modern Beleganjur ContestThe traditional role of beleganjur as music of warfare is now obsolete, but the heroic imagery of the Balinese warrior lives on.The modern beleganjur contest features numerous beleganjur groups from different districts, competing formally.Traditionally featuring only male groups, womens and childrens groups have emerged since the 1990s. The contest style is still identified with concepts of manhood and masculinity, however.

  • Kreasi Beleganjur: The Contest Musical StyleKreasi beleganjur, or new creation beleganjur, is a dramatic, neo-traditional beleganjur style.Rather than being functional In purpose, it is flashy, fast, complex, and inventive.Contests audiences may consist of thousands, and a good contest is full of excitement and energy.CD ex. #2-15 is an example of a kreasi beleganjur contest performance.

  • Tradition and Innovation in Kreasi Beleganjur: An Elusive BalanceValue is placed on the following:Compositional originalityEnsemble virtuosityEmphasis on showmanshipVaried textures

  • Insights and PerspectivesGerak: The Choreographic Element in Kreasi Beleganjur

  • Gerak are the choreographed movements in kreasi beleganjur performances.A highlight feature of this contest style, these movements of the musicians feature classic poses of battle and martial arts maneuvers.Movements range from light

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