MALLETS, METALLOPHONES, GONGS
The Discovery Series returns for another cultural exploration, this time heading to Indonesia to delve into the world of the BALINESE GAMELAN. This instrument contains 2 GB of pristine samples from several of the essential instruments that make up Gamelan. Powered by the free KONTAKT 5 PLAYER (and also usable with KONTAKT 5), this instrument brings to life the rich and complex textures of Gamelan in its exquisitely-sampled classical form, yet also contains many features for tweaking and manipulating the sounds into new directions.
Created by the acclaimed sound-design house Soniccouture, the sound of the Balinese Gamelan can be heard across a wide range of genres and productions styles, from TV and film scores to electronic music compositions, and of course, classical Gamelan compositions.
Often translated as “Orchestra”, Gamelan is an ensemble of instruments from Indonesia, typically Java or Bali. Ensembles can differ significantly, but would be often made up of a combination of metallophones, xylophones, drums and gongs; bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings, or even a vocalist. Each instrument has been built and tuned for playing in that specific ensemble, so tunings can differ considerably between Gamelans.
One of the most distinctive aspects of Balinese gamelan is that each instrument is paired, and the pairs are slightly detuned. This results in a natural beating between the instruments – perhaps the oldest chorus effect on the planet.
Culturally, the Balinese Gamelan has strong religious associations, being an integral part of many Hindu ceremonies, as well a focus for secular celebrations and festivals. Balinese Gamelan is significantly different from the quieter, more “courtly” style of its Javanese counterpart, perhaps due the differing historical religious climates of the two islands.
Gamelan music is most often characterized by its bright, metallic, percussive qualities, its distinctive and complex tuning, the rich layering of instruments, and its cyclical form. The instruments themselves are often beautifully crafted – traditional Indonesian thinking sees the gamelan as sacred, with a belief that each instrument is guided by spirits.