John Roeder and Michael Tenzer
University of British Columbia

Inside Gabor: Tempo, Melody, and the Identity of a Balinese Composition

John Roeder Professor of Music Theory

Michael Tenzer Professor of Ethnomusicology

This paper is a collaboration between an ethnomusicologist and a music theorist in search of ways to achieve richer analyses of individual non-Western selections. They will begin by discussing the pedagogy and integration of methodologies from ethnomusicology and music theory in a course they team-teach, “Periodicity in Music.” Contextualizing their research within the growing subdiscipline of world-music analysis, Professors Roeder and Tenzer will present as a case study an analysis of Gabor, an often-performed piece for Balinese gamelan gong kebyar which, like other music in its genre, deploys concurrent textural layers moving at different speeds, organized around a slow melody measured by recurring patterns of gong strokes. They explore and question the identity of Gabor’s essential features, how they can be appropriately represented, and the theories those representations entail. The ontology of a Balinese “composition” is negotiable at multiple levels that bear crucially on what insider and outsider analyses deem structurally essential. These considerations provide a backdrop for the analysis proper. Professors Roeder and Tenzer begin their study by comparing insider and outsider transcriptions, candidly assessing the possibilities and paradoxes they present. They then apply cross-cultural listening strategies, involving basic perceptions of interval repetition, focus, and timing, and extend them to include analysis of Gabor’s pitch-class structures and levels of pulse salience.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011 3:30 p.m. Music Building Room 216 All are welcome

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