2019 "In recent years, girls' and mixed-gender ensembles have challenged the tradition of male-dominated gamelan performance. The change heralds a fundamental shift in how Balinese think about gender roles and the gender behavior taught in children's music education. It also makes visible a national reorganization of the arts taking place within debates over issues like women's rights and cultural preservation. Sonja Lynn Downing draws on over a decade of immersive ethnographic work to analyze the ways Balinese musical practices have influenced the processes behind these dramatic changes. As Downing shows, girls and young women assert their agency within the gamelan learning process to challenge entrenched notions of performance and gender. One dramatic result is the creation of new combinations of femininity, musicality, and Balinese identity that resist messages about gendered behavior from the Indonesian nation-state and beyond. Such experimentation expands the accepted gender aesthetics of gamelan performance but also sparks new understanding of the role children can and do play in ongoing debates about identity and power."
Making It up Together : the art of collective improvisation in Balinese music and beyond by Leslie A. Tilley
2019 "Most studies of musical improvisation focus on individual musicians. But that is not the whole story. From jazz to flamenco, Shona mbira to Javanese gamelan, improvised practices thrive on group creativity, relying on the close interaction of multiple simultaneously improvising performers. In Making It Up Together, Leslie A. Tilley explores the practice of collective musical improvisation cross-culturally, making a case for placing collectivity at the center of improvisation discourse and advocating ethnographically informed music analysis as a powerful tool for investigating improvisational processes. Through two contrasting Balinese case studies--of the reyong gong chime's melodic norot practice and the interlocking drumming tradition kendang arja--Tilley proposes and tests analytical frameworks for examining collectively improvised performance. At the micro-level, Tilley's analyses offer insight into the note-by-note decisions of improvising performers; at the macro-level, they illuminate larger musical, discursive, structural, and cultural factors shaping those decisions. This multi-tiered inquiry reveals that unpacking how performers play and imagine as a collective is crucial to understanding improvisation and demonstrates how music analysis can elucidate these complex musical and interactional relationships. Highlighting connections with diverse genres from various music cultures, Tilley's examinations of collective improvisation also suggest rich potential for cross-genre exploration. The surrounding discussions point to larger theories of communication and interaction, creativity and cognition that will be of interest to a range of readers--from ethnomusicologists and music theorists to cognitive psychologists, jazz studies scholars, and improvising performers. Setting new parameters for the study of improvisation, Making It Up Together opens up fresh possibilities for understanding the creative process, in music and beyond."
Balinese Gamelan Music by Michael Tenzer; I. Made Moja (Illustrator)
2013 "With extensive photographs and an audio CD, this guide to Balinese music showcases the history, culture and art of the gamelan ceremony. Bali has developed and nourished an astonishing variety of musical ensembles--calledgamelan--comprising dozens of instruments mainly made of bronze or bamboo, and organized into groups with as many as 30 to 40 players. InBalinese Gamelan Music, Michael Tenzer, a noted Professor of Music at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, presents an introduction to many types of Balinese gamelan ensembles, each with its own established tradition, repertoire and context. The instruments and basic principles underlying the music are introduced, providing listeners with the means to better appreciate the music--and its importance not only in Bali but around the world. The gamelan music of Bali is a centuries-old kaleidoscope of sound and rhythm that is recognized today as one of the world's most sophisticated musical traditions. Despite rapid changes in contemporary village life, hundreds of groups still perform regularly around this tiny island--from isolated mountain hamlets to the bustling precincts of Denpasar, Kuta and Ubud. The primary function of gamelan music in Bali is to accompany religious rituals. Each village typically maintains severaldifferent gamelan sets, using each one for a different set of occasions. Music is memorized and rehearsed in village meeting halls, temples, or private homes. When a gamelan group accompanies a Balinese dance performance, the close coordination between the dancers' movements and the music is established through a complex system of interactive cues and responses. Performance standards are extremely high and even with Bali's rapid modernization in recent years, the gamelan tradition remains vitaland largely undiminished by outside musical influences."
Focus: Gamelan Music of Indonesia by Henry J. Spiller
2008 "Focus: Gamelan Music of Indonesia is an introduction to the familiar music from Southeast Asia's largest country - both as sound and cultural phenomenon. An archipelago of over 17,000 islands, Indonesia is a melting pot of Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, Portuguese, Dutch, and British influences. Despite this diversity, it has forged a national culture, one in which music plays a significant role. Gamelan music, in particular, teaches us much about Indonesian values and modern-day life. Focus: Gamelan Music of Indonesia provides an introduction to present-day Javanese, Balinese, Cirebonese, and Sundanese gamelan music through ethnic, social, cultural, and global perspectives. Part One, Music and Southeast Asian History¸ provides introductory materials for the study of Southeast Asian music. Part Two, Gamelan Music in Java and Bali, moves to a more focused overview of Gamelan music in Indonesia. Part Three, Focusing In, takes an in-depth look at Sundanese gamelan traditions, as well modern developments in Sundanese music and dance. The accompanying CD offers vivid examples of traditional Indonesian gamelan music."
Balinese Dance, Drama and Music by I. Wayan Dibia; Rucina Ballinger; Barbara Anello (Illustrator)
2004 "Lavishly illustrated, this book introduces the most commonly seen traditional performing arts in Bali. the gamelan music, dance, drama and puppetry covered here are sure to mesmerize Western readers. Ideal reading for visitors to the island as well as for anyone interested in Balinese culture, the book fully explains the history and function of each performance genre. the book is enhanced with a bibliography, a discography, and over 150 specially prepared watercolors of Balinese performers and performances."
Gamelan Gong Kebyar : the art of twentieth-century Balinese music by Michael Tenzer
2000 "The Balinese gamelan, with its shimmering tones, breathless pace, and compelling musical language, has long captivated musicians, composers, artists, and travelers. Here, Michael Tenzer offers a comprehensive and durable study of this sophisticated musical tradition, focusing on the preeminent twentieth-century genre, gamelan gong kebyar. Combining the tools of the anthropologist, composer, music theorist, and performer, Tenzer moves fluidly between ethnography and technical discussions of musical composition and structure. In an approach as intricate as one might expect in studies of Western classical music, Tenzer's rigorous application of music theory and analysis to a non-Western orchestral genre is wholly original. Illustrated throughout, the book also includes nearly 100 pages of musical transcription (in Western notation) that correlate with 55 separate tracks compiled on two accompanying compact discs. The most ambitious work on gamelan since Colin McPhee's classic Music in Bali, this book will interest musicians of all kinds and anyone interested in the art and culture of Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and Bali."
Music in Bali ; A Study in Form and Instrumental Organization in Balinese Orchestral Music by Colin McPhee
1966 " An American Composer's Detailed Study of the Gamelan Music of Bali in the 1930's, If you are interested in Bali and are a musician, you might be fascinated by this elaborate study of gamelan by Western composer, Colin McPhee. McPhee studied gamelan in Bali in the 1930's. A thorough depiction of the Gamelan music that enthralled him and his detailed rendering of the music from an ethnomusicologist's viewpoint."
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