Author Archives: MekarBhuana

How do Balinese know which gamelan orchestra to use for which ceremony?

A couple of treatises called Aji Gurnita and Pra Kempa which date to the 1800s detail a number of the main types of ceremonial gamelan orchestras, explaining their instrumentation and their function.

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At what Age do Children in Bali start learning Gamelan? Part II

As I stated in my last article, many kids in Bali these days learn traditional music simply because their parents want them to.

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At what age do children in Bali start learning gamelan?

Outside of Bali, a child who starts playing music at a kindergarten age is often considered naturally gifted, sometimes labeled a genius, a prodigy or similar. In Bali, however, this is not always so; and in fact it’s expected that … Continue reading

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Gender Wayang – Bali’s Most Intimate Gamelan Ensemble

If you’ve ever been to a tooth filing ceremony in Bali, you would have heard the music of gamelan gender wayang. Instruments played by either by two or four musicians in pairs, a gender wayang ensemble is Bali’s most intimate gamelan ensemble.

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How many Different Types of Balinese Gamelan are there in Bali?

In short, many! Gamelan experts the world over normally claim that there are anything between 25 and 40 types; however, so far I’ve counted 70 with the number increasing all the time as people create more different varieties.

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Is any Balinese Gamelan Music Extinct?

Bali is world famous for its gamelan music, which, to the outsider who may have been fortunate enough to have witnessed a temple ceremony, seems alive and well even in the face of globalization. At least on the surface.

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What is Angklung used for?

Across Bali, there are thousands of bronze angklung groups, perhaps as many as the ubiquitous and incredibly popular gong kebyar that originate in North Bali in the early 20th century.

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What is Angklung?

Found on a number of islands in Indonesia, notably Java, Bali and Lombok, angklung is a type of gamelan with very ancient roots. There are many theories about the origins of both the instruments and the scale, but, after nearly … Continue reading

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What are Gender Wayang?

One of the most intimate gamelan ensembles on the island, a gender wayang (gender for short) group consists of either two or four musicians. In the complete group of four, there are two medium-range instruments and two high-range. The ensemble … Continue reading

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What are Wayang Kulit?

Wayang kulit are two dimensional stick puppets made from leather with movable arms and sometimes jaws and legs. Wayang on its own simply means puppet and kulit means leather, which is what they’re made of.

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