Gamelan Orchestra - Art and culture of Bali in decoration

Like the plastic arts , music developed in Bali's culture focused on spirituality, structuring traditional ceremonies , dances , rituals, puppet shows, among other artistic performances that exhibit the richness of Indonesian cultural identity .

The musical combination of metallophones ( slenthem , gender and saron ), xylophones ( gambang ), flutes ( saluang and suling ), drums ( kendang ), gongs ( kenong , bonang and kempul ), among other variations of percussion and wind instruments Made of bamboo, wood and metal, they form the traditional gamelan orchestra of Balinese popular culture .

Percussion instruments such as drums and metallophones form the Balinese gamelan.

Gamelan originates from the Javanese word gamel , which defines a type of mallet or hammer for striking. The piece is used to produce sound on some instruments of this style of musical ensemble, very popular in Bali and Java , where making music is a form of gratitude for this artistic ability granted by the Hindu gods .

It is not surprising that the musical tradition with metal percussion had great relevance in the Indonesian court in the Srivijaya and Majapahit empires, materialized with relief sculptures in temples and maintained as a heritage of local culture during centuries of history despite Chinese interference (with the introduction of the gong ), Indian (with skin drums ) and Arabic (with stringed musical instruments ).

Foreign cultural influences in Indonesia have modified the composition of gamelan.

The Arab influence during the 15th century in particular developed a religious schism in the two major centers of gamelan cultural display in Indonesia converting much of the population of Java to Islam while Bali remained largely Hindu . This difference in religious belief also split Balinese and Javanese gamelan into two distinct rhythmic styles.

With an accelerated rhythm produced by alternating agile beats, the Balinese gamelan presents itself in a more dynamic way; while Javanese gamelan follows a more solemn and meditative rhythm, since for Islamic Sufism (the current most present in Indonesia ) music is a means of experiencing the divine.

Carving gamelan musicians shows the importance of music in Balinese culture.

After becoming independent from the Netherlands, Sukarno - Indonesia's first president - fostered gamelan culture in the country, elevating it to the status of a national art . The orchestra gained an “itinerant” version for traditional rituals such as the cremation ceremony ( Ngaben ), with a reduced number of musicians carrying the essential instruments suspended around their necks, called baleganjur .

And if in antiquity the grandeur of the gamelan orchestra was a decorative motif in temples, in today's interior decoration the highlight is the gamelan baleganjur , which displays, through wooden sculptures, the unusual musical instruments and traditional Balinese costumes ( sarong and udeng ) that form the cultural richness of the Island of Bali .

Wooden baleganjur gamelan musicians express the importance of music in Bali.

Gamelan is only part of the role of music in Balinese culture ; and its representation in decorative arts imbued with cultural memory such as these expands the view on the role of decoration , making us rethink the concept of beauty and value. Balinese art brings this subtlety when installed in the environment, as it is through it that the Balinese craftsman kindly shares a little more of his history to enhance his home.

Access our online store and check out the charms of Bali !


Milene Sousa - Art & Tune

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Exclusive releases: