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Gamelan Gong Kebyar

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Gamelan is thought to come form a Javenese word gamel, which means ‘ to handle’ (Sumarasam 1995 :319-320). It also refers to a type of hammer particularly appropriate for metal percussion instrument that dominate gamelan ensemble because of the way the instruments are made and played. The instruments originated probably from northern Vietnam, where visitors brought bronze object and technology in about 300 B. C and possibly rice cultivation technology as well. (Hood 1980: 122) Balinese history can be viewed as four different eras.

The earliest postprehistoric stage, so called Indigenous Bali is considered to have begun during the third millennium B.

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C. , with vast amount of migrants from mainland Southeast Asia. (Goris, 1960) Followed by the second period of Balinese Hindu Culture immigrants from India. The third phase of Balinese History started at the end of fifteenth century after the collapse East Javanese Majapahit dynasty where the leaders flee into Bali and cultural development took place over the next four hundred years under Majapahit descendants.

The Dutch colony in the twentieth century marks the last period in Balinese History.

According to Michael Tenzer in his book Gamelan Gong Kebyar, the gamelan music plays an important role in traditional life of people in Bali is based on the concept of “Collectivity”. It was said that prior to modern era, interwining of collective behaviour and social stratification was reflected in the may intersecting dimensions of cultural production such as religious believe and practice, craftmanships and plastic arts, performance and literature and others. Tenzer 2000, 76). And each of there was a collective undertaking with broad social and religious benefits, with the aim to reinforce, or to serve to legitimize, the divine of power of noble and priest(*rephrase this*).

The Dutch colonial enterprise supplanted the organizing structure of the kingdoms gradually during the start of mid-nineteenth century. In this situation where political and social influences was much affected in Bali, the gap between rich and poor divided by the caste system was greater and Sekaha was the institution that linked etween them. Sekaha, are nonhierarchic groups or clubs that undertake cooperative work of all kinds, ranging from ritual preparation, irrigation, artistic and production and local governance and extending to contemporary enterprises like import-export collectives, car-rental agencies, and computer workshops. (Tenzer 2000: 77) As mentioned earlier, music plays an important role in traditional life. Next we will examine how all these relate to the concept of ‘Collectivity’. Pura, are temples and differs in terms of sizes and its function.

In a state temple, gamelan is required during odalan, anniversary festivals that take place in each 210-day cycle according to the ritual calendar. Some other temple includes village temples and family temples. Most ceremony held in the temples requires gamelan music for either accompaniment or as offerings for the rituals. Desa Adat, the “village customary law”, understood as a community shares devotional obligation to organize and arrange gamelan from different area to serve services for any particular event or when ritual need arise.

A Banjar, is a social institution associated with collective action and reciprocal equality among members, and it has been the primary and original context for cultivating kebyar. (Tenzer,2000 : 80) The banjar steered by a council, consisting of each male head of household are responsible for issue that are related to customary law. Sekaha as mentioned earlier, are subgroups affiliated with a banjar, which has elected leaders such as treasury and secretary. (wat they do)(sekaha gong page 82)

Kebyar is a new music genre itself in the context of gamelan music in the early 20th century when Balinese society was in the midst of tremendous social upheaval, moving toward modernity under Dutch colonial rule after some five centuries of Hindu-Balinese monarchies. (Tenzer, 2000: ) Kebyar was said to be discovered by composers from North Bali and when the remote banjar heard about it, the innovation was then spread throughout the island. Kebyar literally means ‘to burst up’ like a flower or ‘to flare up’ like a match.

In the book Music in Bali, McPhee say that Kebyar can be said to be refer to cymbals and their metallic crash and the explosive unison attack in gamelan music. (McPhee, 1966:328) A general structure of Kebyar music is in the form of KPP. KPP is an abbreviation of Kawitan(introduction), Pengawak(the main body) and Pengecek(conclusion). This concept are said to be derived from culturally valued dimensions of “threeness” such as the concept of tri-angga (an anthropomorphism referring to the head, torso and legs), three courtyards of the Balinese temple, the tri-loka(upper, middle and lower worlds of existence) and others.

Like sonata allegro, KPP is mainly associated with a restricted “classical” repertoire. (Tenzer,2000:354). McPhee describes that pengawak is essentially static in form and mood, the Pengecet is dynamically progressive, passing through successive phases of rising rhythmic tension. (McPhee,1966:83) Instrumentation in a Balinese Gong Kebyar is divided into 3 categories defined by its construction and materials which are the Metallaphones, Gongs, and miscellaneous. (Tenzer,2000 :40) When all of these instruments combines, it can range up to 5 octave.

Gangsa are Metallaphones with bronze keys that are suspended on chords strung through holes bored at both ends of each key. The keys are hang over the bamboo resonators that fit in a wooden case. The keys are struck with a wooden mallet held on the right hand, and it is damped by grasping the key using the left hand. Damping techniques differs depending on situation that will be explained further in kotekan section. One special characteristic of these metallaphones are that they are all paired tuned. It is differentiate by its pitch, one lower pitched and one higher pitched.

The lower pitched instrument is known as ‘ngumbang’ (kumbang is a bee) and ‘ngisep’(means to absorb) for the higher pitched. When both of these are struck simultaneously, it creates a sound quality-ombak, which means wave. All gender parts for a piece are based on a common melody, called pokok. The lowest octave in the Gender family is the Jegogan. It is struck using a soft-wooden mallet which produces a deep and sustained sound. The Jegogan part is very abstract and plays only the most important notes of the pokok melody which occurs mostly once in a bar. (Spiller, 2008: 98) The second owest sounding in the Gender family is the Jublag, also struck with a soft wooden mallet. Jegogan provide the most elemental version of the pokok melody and the amount of notes are twice as much of the Jegogan. For example, there is an extra one note that the Jublag plays in between every note in the Jegogan. The remaining instruments in the gender family have more keys as compared to Jegogan and Jublag, are collectively known as gangsa. The gangsa instruments are struck using a hard wooden mallet which produce a much and brighter, metallic timbre and shimmering sound. (Spiller,2008: 98).

The Ugal is in a higher octave range after the Jublag. However, the Ugal’s range of pitches overlaps Jublag, but their parts sound quite distinct because of the different mallet which are used and the Ugal part a more elaborate and decorated version of the pokok melody. (Spiller,2008: 98). The setting of Ugal is much higher as compared to all gender instruments because the player is the leader to the entire ensemble, which makes it more outstanding so that the other player could see him. The second highest octave in the gender family is the pemade followed by kantilan, the highest sounding instrument.

The parts played by pemade and kantilan , are often sophisticated interlocking parts called kotekan. The kotekan is also a distinctive characteristic of kebyar music in a Balinese gamelan. Kotekan are interlocking parts between 2 players within a paired tuned instrument. Two players are divided to play the kotekan, and the two parts are known as ‘polos’ and ‘sangsih’. This two parts are said to be complementary to each other as one plays during the silence of another so that the ear and brain are compelled to hear them as a single music melodic line. Spiller,2008: 98) When both of these part combines, it sounds faster than any single human could possibly play. Ethnomusicologist Hardja Susila once said about Balinese music that “half the group plays as fast as they can, and the other half plays as fast as they can, in between” (quoted in Vitale 1990:14 fn. 10). Polos is the lower part of the kotekan. Polos part plays the more straight forward and direct part of the kotekan and it is often on beat of the kotekan. Sangsih, the upper part of kotekan differs and usually following off beat after the polos.

Each player in a kotekan part is limited to play either one or two notes, because they maybe require to play in a very fast speed as they may not handle too many notes at a time. When both of the parts combines, the entire kotekan comprises of either three notes or four notes. Kotek Telu, ‘telu’ means three is a type of kotekan which consist of three pitches added in two parts of kotekan. The means that each part plays two pitches but there is a sharing note between them. The other type of kotekan is Kotek Pat.

Pat is the short form of “empat”, which means four, that describes that they are four pitches in total in the kotekan, with each player plays the different pitches in their own part. Damping technique for all instruments in a melody are the same, where each note are damped when the next note is played. The damping technique differs in kotekan section where every note is damped immediately after each note is played, as the melody should be continuity of a sound instead of discontinuity. The second group of instrumentation is the Gong.

Gong serves colotomic, melodic and agogic function in a music. (Tenzer 2000:45). The Gong punctuates at the beginning or end of an important section. A gong played after another gong is said to be a complete gong cycle also known as gongan. Gong can be also divided into two types, which is the male and female. A male is meant that the timbre of the sound is higher, known as Gong Lanang. Gong Wadon, the female gong has a higher pitch and is used in alternation with Gong Lanang. A Kempur,is a mid size gong, marks smaller phrases in a gongan cycle and alternate between gongs.

In a music where all three mentioned above is required, a complete gongan cycle will be first played by Gong Lanang, Gong Wadon, followed by a Kempur, Gong Wadon and lastly back to Gong Lanang. The third group of instrumentation- miscellaneous, consist all of other instruments that can be found in a gamelan gong kebyar, such as the drum- Kendang, Suling- a flute, Rebab- a bow lute, cengceng and others. Like other instrument, the Kendang also comes in pair, the female and male. Kendang player sitted cross legged in front of the ensemble, and Wadon(female drum) is the ensemble director.

The drum can be played either by hands or sticks that can produce different sounds by doing open or mute strokes. The drum also plays an interlocking parts- kotekan between them. Cengceng are cymbals Cengceng, reinforcing the composite rhythm of the parts. Analysis of Jagul The piece that I will be analyzing will be Jagul, is a 20th century Gong Kebyar music. The score of a Balinese music can either be notated using Javenese notation or western notation. I have chose western notation over Javanese notation to notate Jagul and it is attached in Appendix 1.

As noted earlier, the common form of a kebyar music is in KPP form. However in Jagul, it differs slightly as compared to the usual KPP form. The piece begins with the cengceng followed by drum cue that lead the entire ensemble into the pokok melody. At bar 2 when all gangsa are playing the same note on pitch 1, the Jublag plays pitch 2 which creates a dissonance sound to the music. After several internal repetition of transition and kotekan 1, the drum player gives a drum cue known as ‘angsel’, which means a cadence, as a sign of proceeding to the following section.

The melody of the transition for the cadence differs slightly from the previous one as the last two beats have a small section of interlocking between the gangsa. With an overall look at the kotekan section, we can see that combination of both the interlocking parts creates continuity of a single melody line. In kotekan 3, there are three types of playing it, which depends on the signal given by the drum player. The first one is to play through the whole kotekan.

The another way is with one ‘angsel’ where the second line of the kotekan increase in dynamics with a cadence at the third line and back to soft in the following line. The third type is with a double ‘angsel’ which means it’s the final repetition of kotekan 3 preparing to proceed to the following sectionwhich is the ‘byar’ section. A double ‘angsel’ differs than a single ‘angsel’ that the last line of the kotekan is loud rather than soft. After looking at the transition from one section to another, In conclusion, I would say that everything come in pairs, for example not an individual activity, collectivity.

While giving a fuller orchestra effect because of the more elaborate instrumentation in gong kebyar, it now only requires only 25 players to fill up a gamelan ensemble. (McPhee,1966: 329) Ngempyung, interval of 4ths, appears in ourely melodic passages,where it may be use d in simple parallel motion abpve the unison line,may be heard in interlocking textures, where they alternate with unisons u npredictably, emerging from the motoric continuity of the line as prominent corss rhtyms.

Cite this Gamelan Gong Kebyar

Gamelan Gong Kebyar. (2017, Mar 16). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/gamelan-gong-kebyar/

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