Javanese Gamelan Music

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Gamelan is a percussion-dominated musical ensemble.  It is also known as a Gong-chime musical ensemble.  This musical ensemble consists of bronze gongs and metallophones.  Besides Indonesia, gamelan is played in Malaysia too.

Gamelan music is in polyphonic stratification structure.   It means the music are composed by layers of simple melody lines or rhythm patterns.  There are five categories in this polyphonic stratification:
1. Nuclear Theme
2. Elaboration
3. Punctuation
4. Counter-Melody
5. Rhythm
You can find out the instruments in these different categories at Function of Instruments.

Gamelan music is in cycle, or in musical term, ostinato.   Usually the music will repeat over and over, until the drummer give a signer to end the performance.  Also the music often performed in interlocking style.

There are two tuning system for Javanese Gamelan:
1. Pelog - This is a seven tones scales, involving half steps.
2. Slendro - This is a pentatonic (five-tones) scales, without half-steps.
These two sets of tuning system are played by two different sets of gamelan metallophones.

Udan Mas (Golden Rain) - one of the most famous of traditional Javanese gamelan pieces.

NIU Gamelan Ensemble directed by Dr. Han Kuo-Huang, has often performed Central Javanese Gamelan and Balinese Gamelan music.  You can listen to several gamelan pieces on if you click on the link above.

You need RealPlayer Audio System to play all   music clips in this web page.  Download free RealPlayer form RealNetworks.

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Gamelan Main Page   |  Javanese Gamelan  |
Functions of Instruments  |  Instruments and Sounds  |  List  |   Javanese Gamelan Music  |
Metallophones   |  Gongs   |  Drums   |  Counter-Melody   |
Balinese Gamelan  |   Interlocking style  |  Balinese Gamelan Music   |
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