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Bali Gamelan Performance Essay

1262 words - 5 pages

INTRODUCTIONGamelan is a form of unique and exotic music originating in the islands of Indonesia in South East Asia. Gamelan music is played on an orchestra consisting primarily of metal-keyed percussion instruments ("metallophones") and gongs, but also including hand or stick drums, flutes, and occasionally also bowed instruments and bamboo rattles.Gamelan is the music of Indonesia, Gamelan orchestras are usually percussion oriented, but some varieties may feature flutes, bowed and plucked strings, or vocalists in a prominent role. Many different islands, or regions within islands, have their own unique Gamelan instruments and traditions. The word Gamelan comes from the ancient roots "gambel" (Bali). Most Indonesian languages define gambel as to make a sound by striking or playing a musical instrument, such as a gong or a drum.FunctionThe use and purpose of gamelan music. Originally, to played in outdoor temples for religious rites, to inspire trance and to invite ancestral spirits. But, in Java religious worship was redirected to the royal courts and the old Hindu and Buddhist temples were left to decay. This change of environment gave rise to many of the aesthetic differences between Balinese and Javanese musical styles. Music in Java moved from open-air temples to large roofed platforms within the royal court. Mallets were softened to allow the instruments to reverberate within the space in a more pleasing manner. Forms were also slowed down and elongated to take advantage of the new acoustics and lend austerity to the court. Music became largely a cerebral pursuit of the aristocracy and musicians became servants of the courts.Gamelan BaliBalinese gamelan music has many different forms. The most common that a visitor to Bali might encounter are the marching gamelans - often seen in street processions including cremation processions.KOTEKANBali has a great diversity of Gamelan Instruments and Musical Styles. Ceremonial pieces are meditative and serene while dance and theater music percolates and flutters. Instrumentation takes many forms, from heavy bronze or playful bamboo, to iron slabs and tinkling cymbals. Melodic instruments include bar percussion, rows of small gongs, and flutes. Larger gongs and bar instruments outline the melodic structure.Each Gamelan has a special Purpose. Processionals of gongs, drums, and cymbals create hypnotic patterns ushering idols to the sea. High pitched "sweet" bronze Gamelan enhance the king's slumber chamber as meter long bamboo flutes accompany a classic dance in the temple. The twang of palm bark might be used to court a young lady. Honking reeds create a whimsical atmosphere for the frog dance. Giant bamboos thrill equally large audiences, and a rhythmic chorus acts out stories from the Ramayana.The most prominent musical characteristic in Bali is known as Kotek (Koh-Tek), the sharing of a musical line by trading pitches between players. A musical pattern may be divided into two or more parts that...

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