The Javanese Gamelan Phenomenon

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JAVANESE GAMELAN AS A SYMBOL OF HARMONY (RUKUN) AND TRUE FEELING (RASA) Javanese Gamelan is one of the musical traditions in Indonesia. Because of its uniqueness, it becomes popular today in some countries and some well-known ethnomusicologists (e.g. J. Kunst, J. Becker, R. Sutton, J. Lindsay, Sean Williams, Denise Hill, etc) also have elucidated it deeply. Nevertheless, not many people recognize the symbol inside. For Javanese people, gamelan is not just a set of instruments. “Gamelan is a spirit, not an object. The instruments are just the medium.” In the sound of instruments, there is a musical world that represents two values of Javanese culture: harmony (rukun) and true feeling (rasa). Explaining it can be useful to identify one of the musical traditions in Indonesia and the spirit behind. What…show more content…
One of them is Javanese Gamelan (the others are Sundanese and Balinese Gamelan). Denise Hill in her essay writes that the prototype of Javanese Gamelan is the bronze kettle drum and it probably comes from Dongson culture (The 3rd - 2nd century BC). However in the succeeding era, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islāmic overlay give many influences in its development. Precise dating of the first Javanese gamelan is difficult. It will suffice to say that the prototype of Gamelan was probably the bronze kettle drum of the Dongson culture (Vietnam) that was introduced to Java in the Bronze-Iron age around the 3rd and 2nd century BC. The principal instruments probably originated when the culture of Java is strongly influenced by Hinduism, Buddhism; slendro ensembles date from the 6th or 7th century and pelog ensembles from the 12nd century. The combined ensemble type arrangement, comprising, both loud and soft ensembles dates from the 16th century (Islāmic overlay). Because the culture of Java is strongly influenced by Hinduism and Buddhism, the mythology about gamelan appears until now. According to the Javanese

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