Friday, March 25, 2011

Balinese Gamelan Music - What is that sound?

The first time I heard Balinese gamelan music was in Bali and it had the effect of making me stop in my tracks and listen with fierce attention, because I had never heard anything like it.  At first I thought everyone in the gamelan orchestra was simply doing there own thing, with no ryhym or reason.  But as I stayed listening I realized something highly organized, powerfully rhythmic and tremendously beautiful was happening. 

The tuning of the instruments lends an otherworldly and sometimes eerie tone to the music, but in a lovely way. When accompanying Balinese dancing, the whole experience becomes intoxicating and if you're anything like me, you wont be able to take your eyes and ears of what is happening. 

The Roots of Gamelan: The First...
Since the West became acquainted with it in the late 1920s, Balinese gamelan music has inspired musicologists, given birth to minimalism, and even been mimicked by electronic artists. It's easy to hear why. With its complex, polyrhythmic sounds played out on perfectly tuned gongs and chimes, gamelan music is one of the most exciting and exotic sounds heard in the world. It's gorgeous to listen to, thrilling to witness, and sounds like nothing else on earth. On The Roots of Gamelan, we're given a real treat: the earliest commercially available recordings of gamelan music.

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