Gamelan Workshop 2016

On Tuesday 20th September, all girls in LC1 had the opportunity to produce their very own authentic Balinese Gamelan performance in the Princess Hall.  As part of the Music Curriculum in Lower College, the girls created music using authentic Balinese instruments and produce their own class performance, led by ethnomusicologist and visiting Gamelan specialist Jonathan Roberts.

The session started with an introduction to the style, followed immediately by a task in which they learned a piece through numbered singing, and applied this to the notes on the instruments.  The layers then became more complex as certain girls had different patterns to play, following carefully as the leader sped up and slowed down the tempo, whilst maintaining timing and concentration on their part.

The energy and enthusiasm displayed by the girls was excellent.  They were inquisitive about not only the musical aspects of the style, but also asked some probing questions regarding the social and cultural aspects.  They were introduced to cultural aspects of the genre’s performance in Indonesia; about the structural and organisational systems used in this style; about the tuning of the instruments and the very specific performance techniques required, and how to end a Balinese performance authentically.  They have since gone on to compare this to the music of Debussy, a composer whose work became heavily influenced by the music of Indonesia in the late 19th century.

Mr C Keir, Head of Academic Music