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Transcript of Gamelan music
featuring instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums, gongs, flutes and string instruments.
Unlike the western orchestra, which features predominantly winds and strings, the gamelan is dominated by percussion instruments, although plucked and bowed stings, flutes, and singing are also important. Gamelan music has existed since Indonesia's earliest records, and even has a place in religion. In Javanese mythology, the Gamelan was created by Sang Hyang Guru, the god who ruled as king of all Java from a palace on the Maendra mountain. He needed a signal to summon the gods and thus invented the gong. For more complex messages, he invented two other gongs, thus forming the original gamelan set. Here is what a Gamelan would look like: You may have noticed that the people were hitting the
metalaphones with hammers. This is traditional Gamelan
style, and the reason for the name as well. The word gamelan, referring only to the instruments, comes from the Javanese word gamel, referring to a type of hammer like a blacksmith's hammer. This is where they get the name, because they are using hammers as instruments! The style of Gamelan music is very unique, with its gongs and metallic sounds. The tuning and construction of a gamelan orchestra is a complex process. Javanese Gamelans use two tuning systems: sléndro and pélog. Sléndro is a system with five notes to the octave, fairly evenly spaced, while pélog has seven notes to the octave, with uneven intervals. This results in sound quite different from music played in a western tuning system. Many Gamelan orchestras will include instruments in each tuning. The precise tuning used differs from ensemble to ensemble, and gives each ensemble its own particular style. Gamelan ensembles also sometimes include a sort of cello-like instrument, as you saw in that clip. So you see, the Gamelan style of music is very unique and
special, with its differentiating tuning and metallic flow, its interference beats and its religious importance. All in all, its just an amazing style of music. Balinese gamelan instruments are commonly played in pairs which are tuned slightly apart to produce interferance beats. It is thought that this contributes to the very "busy" and "shimmering" sound of gamelan ensembles.
In the religious ceremonies that contain gamelan, these interference beats are meant to give the listener a feeling of a god's presence or a stepping stone to a meditative state. Thanks for watching! Information sourced from: