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14 August 2008


Gamelon (gam*meh*lon is how they said it in college) music is kind of cool. I first met it in college. This month I'm asking my piano students to listen to the gamelon in the video for our "listening music." It hails from Java, and apparently from Bali too & other parts of Indonesia too. They're tuned differently from western instruments: the scales sound significantly different. And the rhythms used tend to be polyrhythms. We didn't learn much more than that in my music appreciation class. At least, not that I remember. But there's some interesting information out there about them.

From Wikipedia:

They include a collection of instruments. Lots of percussion: xylophone-like instruments, some tuned drums that look like pots, sometimes flutes, sometimes singers. They're used in Weddings. It's a Gamelon: the instruments are a set and you can't just swap them out between different ensembles.

This site has pictures of several different gamelon instruments and a bit of explination about what they are called & how they're used.

Here's a short clip on how they make a gamelon.

This is another pair of movies about making gamelon. It's longer and more involved. If Monkey was bigger I'd be seriously tempted to make some labbooks or something similar about this. It's pretty interesting. We could look at Indonesia on the map, learn a bit about the rest of the culture, that sort of thing. But in the mean time, he enjoys listening with me!

More gamelon music, this time with singers and a dancer.

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