Thus, religion and traditions dominate the society in all walks of life and form the bases for various practices. As is the case with many other cultures, here also arts especially music seem to be a bridge that links the ‘material’ with the ‘spiritual’, the ‘body’ with the ‘soul’, and ‘reality’ with ‘beliefs’. Music, dance and theatrical genres are also used to render solemnity to religious occasions, and to serve as entertainment for the human worshippers. Thus it appears that art forms receive encouragement of the community because of the manner in which its roots are entrenched within the society.Gamelan is the traditional Indonesian music which comprises various types of orchestra. Though different from one another they all share a common organization. Gamelan is “a form of unique and exotic music originating in the islands of Indonesia in South East Asia. Gamelan music is played on an orchestra consisting primarily of metal-keyed percussion instruments ("metallophones") and gongs, but also including hand or stick drums, flutes, and occasionally also bowed instruments and bamboo rattles.” (Gamelan Swarasanti). Gamelan is characterized by percussion, with several musical instruments like gong, xylophone, metallophone, flute, stringed instruments, cymbals, drums etc to create rhythmic patterns that entwine in the form of well-knit sound flow. The literary meaning of the word ‘gamelan’ is roughly an equivalent of ‘to strike’ in English. Because of the intricate pattern of cadence it is known as gong-chime musical ensemble. Another notable component of gamelan is a double headed drum known as kendang, which the players rest horizontally across their lap while sitting cross-legged. The drummers play a dominant role in the concert as they are the key to direct other players, punctuating special cues of sound that function to harness the pace of the music with the change in speed, tune or for ending a particular section.Though gamelan is part of the entire Indonesian music culture, Javanese and Balinese gamelans are the most popular. Perhaps this is because gamelan owes its origin to the neighboring islands of Java and Bali. “Performances are drawn from the great Hindu epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.” (Javanese Gamelan). Java is the most densely populated island in Indonesia, and the Javanese gamelan mainly comprises
Home Page, Gamelan Swarasanti <http://music.ucsc.edu/swarasanti/gamelan.html> Accessed on 20 November 2006.
Home Page, Gamelan Pacifica: What is Gamelan? : <http://www.gamelanpacifica.org/gamelan/what%20is%20gamelan.html> Accessed on 22 November 2006.
Home Page, Sumarsam: Introduction to Javanese Gamelan: Notes for Music 451 (Javanese Gamelan – Beginners) <http://sumarsam.web.wesleyan.edu/Intro.gamelan.pdf> Accessed on 23 November 2006.
Home Page, Infinit Net: <http://pages.infinit.net/musis/matsu_take_eng/3_AMG_Java_Bali.html> Accessed on 23 November 2006.
Home Page, Oberlin: Javanese Gamelan <http://www.oberlin.edu/faculty/rknight/Gamelan.html> Accessed on 24 November 2006.
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