Gamelan

E-89-1-GAMELANITS–Gamelan is a traditional Indonesian orchestra popular in Java, Kalimantan, Bali and Lombok. The music has been influenced by India, Arabia, and Persia. In Indonesia, it was initially played in Javanese palaces before it evolved to become folk music. The existence of centuries-old gamelan instruments in Jogyakarta and Solo palaces indicate that the music is well-established in their culture.

A gamelan orchestra consists of between ten and 20 woodwind and percussion instruments, and produces pentatonic music.

Even though the kinds of instruments played cross the country are similar, they are played differently depending on the area.  In Java, gamelan is played in balance between singers and instruments. In West Java, singers dominate over the instruments. While in Bali, it is the instruments dominate.

The orchestra is usually staged along with wayang shows as well as other traditional vaudevilles.

Today, gamelan has attracted many people abroad. A lot of artists from America and Australia come to study it and even play it in their own countries.

Diense, a Catholic priest, has brought innovations to the music when in the 1960’s he began to play the instrustments the diatonic scale. As a result, the orchestra can now play along with popular music.

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