Gamelan is the traditional musical ensembles of Indonesia, typically from the islands of Bali or Java. The ensembles features a variety of instruments such as sets of tuned bronze gongs, gong-chimes, metallophones, drums, bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked string instruments. A gamelan orchestra can sometimes include singers. Gamelan music, weather played live or the recorded version, usually accompanies important events such as weddings, rituals and ceremonies, traditional dance and wayang performances.
Gamelan comprises two scales; the slendro (minor) and pelog (major). Each instrument has its functions. Gongs maintain the basic structure of the music; the metallophones carry the theme, while the kendang leads the orchestra by controlling the tempo of the musical piece.
There are generally three distinct types of gamelan, the Javanese, Balinese and Sundanese styles, each with its own distinctive musical scale, dynamics and mood. In Central Java, the gamelan is an essential element in many kraton (palace) ceremonies. In Bali, almost all religious rituals are accompanied by the gamelan.
Certain pieces of the ensemble are believed to possess supernatural powers and would be played to ward off evil spirits or even manipulate the weather. Such special pieces are given titles and treated with utmost respect.
Source : “The Ultimate Destination of INDONESIA”
Copyright : Indonesia Culture and Tourism Ministry (2011)
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