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.

Gamelan Jawa

Javanese Gamelan

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.

Gamelan Bali

Balinese 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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wayang workshop

Wayang is ancient Javanese form of storytelling that refers to the performace and the puppet itself. For centuries wayang flourished at the royal courts and rural areas of Java and Bali before it eventually found its way to other islands in the archipelago, each developing its unique performance style and musical accompaniment.

Although puppet come in many sizes, shapes and styles, the two primary types are the flat, perforated leather shadow puppet (wayang kulit, kulit means leather) and the three-dimensional wooden puppet (wayang golek). Different wayang characters are distinguished by facial features, costumes, mannerism and assigned voice.  In the shadow-puppet theater, the master puppeteer (dalang) manipulates the puppet’s arms by means of slender sticks attached to the puppets, in front of a screen lit from behind.

The dalang are well-versed in a large repertoire of characters and lore, able to recite ancient narrative passages and poetic songs in a witty and creative manner. Besides directing the story, the dalang also leads a gamelan ensemble. In the past, dalangs conveyed moral and aesthetic values through popular stories with characters borrowed from indigenous legends, folk stories and the Hindu epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata epic.

Other forms of wayang include wayang wong, performed live by actors, and wayang beber, illustrated ballads inscribed on paper or lontar leaf scrolls.

Source                  : “The Ultimate Destination of INDONESIA”
Copyright            : Indonesia Culture and Tourism Ministry (2011)
Disclaimer click here         

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