Gamelan

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  • Gamelan
    • From Java and Bali, islands in Indonesia
    • Played at religious events and entertainments
      • Most villages have a special area, like a bandstand, for playing gamelan
      • It is considered an honour to be chosen to play the gamelan
    • Sets
      • 4-40 instruments in Balinese gamelan
      • 15-20 instruments in Java gamelan
      • It is seen as one single instrument so the parts are equally important and should merge to make one sound
      • Made in a set and tuned together
    • Scales
      • Slendro- 5 notes spread evenly through an octave
      • Pelog- 7 notes
    • Instruments
      • Other instruments are used to embellish the main tune
        • Gender has narrow bronze keys with bamboo pipes below that resonate with the sound
        • Bongang family- instruments with two rows of gongs resting on cords across a wooden frame
        • Gambang- xylophone with wooden bars
        • Stringed instruments
          • Celembung- like a mini harp, plucked
          • Rebab- two-stringed fiddle
        • Suling- bamboo wind instrument, like a flute but blown through the end
      • Gong
        • Mark the time so performers and audience know where in the gongan the music is
          • Gong ageng, the biggest hanging gong, plays the last beat of the cycle
            • The gongs accent the last beat of each keteg (bar). In gamelan, there are four beats in a bar
              • Smaller sections within the gongang are marked by the kempul, medium sized hanging gongs, and the kenong and ketuk, gongs that rest horizontally on cords stretched across a wooden box
          • Smaller sections within the gongang are marked by the kempul, medium sized hanging gongs, and the kenong and ketuk, gongs that rest horizontally on cords stretched across a wooden box
      • Drums keep the tempo and cue performers
        • Drummers sometimes accent the rhythm to follow the movement of puppets or dancers
          • Kendang gending is the larger drum and  ketipung is the smaller drum. They are both conical with two skins, one larger than the other. They rest sideways so the drummer can play one skin with each hand
            • Other percussion includes wood blocks, metal plates and small cymbals
              • Drummers sometimes accent the rhythm to follow the movement of puppets or dancers
                • Kendang gending is the larger drum and  ketipung is the smaller drum. They are both conical with two skins, one larger than the other. They rest sideways so the drummer can play one skin with each hand
                  • Other percussion includes wood blocks, metal plates and small cymbals
      • Heterophonic texture
    • Most sets are only tuned to one scale. Those tuned to both are called double gamelan
      • Pelog- 7 notes
      • Slendro- 5 notes spread evenly through an octave
    • Metallophone
      • Instruments
        • Other instruments are used to embellish the main tune
          • Gender has narrow bronze keys with bamboo pipes below that resonate with the sound
          • Bongang family- instruments with two rows of gongs resting on cords across a wooden frame
          • Gambang- xylophone with wooden bars
          • Stringed instruments
            • Celembung- like a mini harp, plucked
            • Rebab- two-stringed fiddle
          • Suling- bamboo wind instrument, like a flute but blown through the end
        • Gong
          • Mark the time so performers and audience know where in the gongan the music is
            • Gong ageng, the biggest hanging gong, plays the last beat of the cycle
              • The gongs accent the last beat of each keteg (bar). In gamelan, there are four beats in a bar
          • Drums keep the tempo and cue performers
          • A saron is a type of metallophone. It has a metal bar for each note of an octave, the bars rest on hollowed out wooden cradles, and the bars are hit with a wooden mallet
            • Middle pitched saron plays the main tune
            • Low pitched instruments play parts of the tune and often miss out the last beat of each bar

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