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Javanese Gamelan Notation

Javanese Gamelan Notation is a collection of Javanese gending gamelan notation. Javanese gamelan is a musical ensemble consisting primarily of gongs and metallophones found throughout much of Southeast Asia and the Indonesian archipelago. In Central Java, in the vicinity of the court cities of Surakarta (Solo) and Yogyakarta (Yogya), a genre of music developed for this gamelan (the term for these ensembles on the islands of Java and Bali) that was essential to traditional culture. The composers of pieces predating Indonesian independence (1945) are largely unknown. Rather, court musicians customarily attributed pieces to their royal patrons. Since Indonesian independence, the decline of the Central Javanese courts’ influence and the increasing Westernization of popular culture has contributed to a lessening of the importance of many of the traditional Javanese arts. However, gamelan music still thrives as an integral part of life-cycle rituals, as ceremonial, art, and entertainment music, and as accompaniment for dance and theatrical performances. This is due in large part to the ingenuity of musicians in creating new arrangements of the older repertoire, thus adapting to changing times without compromising either their own or their music’s integrity.

A Javanese gamelan consists of two tuning systems: 5-tone sléndro and 7-tone pélog. Generally speaking, Javanese performance tends to progress from relatively serene and stately to more animated and light melodies, both within an individual suite as well as during the course of an entire performance.