Gamelan

  • Module tutor: Dr Neil Sorrell
  • Level: C/4 (1st year students), I/5 (2nd year students), H/6 (3rd year students)
  • Module codes: MUS00036H, MUS00026I, MUS00026C

Aims and content

No prior experience of performing gamelan music is required for the Project.

The principal aims are to study the theory, content and application of a different musical culture, and use performance as a means of clarifying and determining the theory (thus providing both those new to gamelan, and those who may have played for some time, with a cultural and theoretical background). Also to assess the relevance to Western music and to musicianship in its broadest and fundamental sense. The Project will concentrate on Javanese gamelan music and many of the sessions will be devoted to performance, which may include group composition. Many sessions will explore transcription techniques and tutorials on this aspect will

Assessment

  • Option 1: Transcriptions of gamelan pieces (with written commentaries);
  • Option 2: transcriptions and commentaries plus composition;
  • Option 3: an essay plus transcriptions and commentaries.

Reading and listening

  • Brinner, Benjamin (2008):  Music in Central Java: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture. Oxford University Press.
  • Pickvance, Richard (2005): A Gamelan Manual. Jaman Mas Books.
  • Sorrell, Neil(2000):  A Guide to the Gamelan.  2nd edition, ed. M. Hatch.Ithaca, N.Y.: Society for Asian Music.  (Originally published by Faber and Faber, 1990.)
  • Sumarsam (1995):  Gamelan: Cultural Interaction and Musical Development in Central Java.  The University of Chicago Press.

More usefully, further suggestions regarding literature, notations, CDs etc. will be circulated during the Project, and as much as possible will be made available through hand-outs, CD compilations and the internet, to maximise efficiency and minimise cost.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the taught part of the module all students should:

  • gain a knowledge of the Central Javanese gamelan and an appreciation of the variety and range of ensembles called gamelan, also understand their significance in world music and music education;
  • be able to perform at least one of the parts in at least one piece from the  Central  Javanese repertoire;
  • consider and even attempt stylistic improvisation and composition;
  • gain an understanding of the structure of the music through critical listening and transcription.

First years: On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes A1-A6 & A8-A12

Second years: On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes B1-B6 & B8-B12

Third years: On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes C1-C6 & C8-C12