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M‐Gamelan (mgam) theory is a Western approach to Balinese Gamelan. Mgam aims at standardizing performance and musical interpretation of contemporary Balinese Gamelan. Its purpose is to address such issues as pitch conversion, transliteration into western musical notation, instrumentation substitution, digital and electronic music integration, and core compositional processes. M‐Gamelan is not an ethno musical study, nor a thesis on gamelan music. It is a personal and partial viewpoint based on invention and existing material on the subject (literature, studies, performances, scores, etc.) Scope: The only type or genre of Balinese composition (Ghending) from which mgam is derived is known as Gamelan Angklung or Pentak‐Aungklung composition – It is commonly cited as an instrument, as an ensemble as a compositional approach The issue of tuning (m) (pitch / intervals between notes). As with most traditional music, Balinese gamelan is interdependent of the types of instrument each ensemble is used. We will use the 4 note KANTILEN or ANKGLUNG from the region of Ubud as our instrument‐of‐reference (see picture). Pitch and intervals As shown below in pitch to frequency graph, G natural (+3 cents) is the closest sound we have to the Western Scale, followed by D (‐20 cents). Thus in order to play or perform with other instruments, at least one of these two notes is required for simultaneous playing by pitched instruments. All instruments joining into mgam have at least a G natural or / and a D natural in any octave. D is proto‐typical in gamelan, thus would be the preferred choice of the “tonal center” if so needed. *This brief explanation will not basic aspects of notation, but
includes references to MIDI and Sound engineering principles.
and at any interval – in relation only to the instruments available at performance time. Our own analysis (above) is scientifically different. The paradigm is circularity / repetition. It is important to note that ethno‐musical convention translates the pentatonic scale differently.2 M‐gamelan is based on a 4 note pentatonic scale. This system allows for flourishing and accompaniment elements into vertical / hierarchical lines (chords and progression) to sustain and enhance the flow of voices (leading). that is. These classifications are arbitrary and wrong. It is a deductive process of divisions. Western classical music’s paradigm is: linearity / progression. The typical notions associated with traditional pop music and tribal / traditional music (including gamelan) is that is primarily repetitive. Coresponding (more or less) to the Western scale: F‐A‐B‐D natural. has no linearity (development). Perfectly pitched. rhythmic and is circular. From melodic lines are built inter‐relationship between voices. and will be the grounds for the M‐gamelan method. Classical music furthermore divides all the above into “support units” ‐ punctuation values‐ that are defined as rhythms. Classical traditional creates music from melodies. Bass elements usually provide the foundational voice – typically the most rhythmically accented element. Gamelan: Contextual Composition & Reverse counterpoint: The Western music compositional process is the inverse of Balinese traditional music. . it would be as follows: Interval Relation G4 (+3 cents) to A4 (+ 30 cents) to B4 (‐8 cents) to Figure 1 Pitch to Frequency Graph D4 (‐20 cents) to B4 NOTE: In order to form the “perfect” pentatonic scale: we are missing one (implied) note: (E / mi) All Mgam is based on the sequence of these 4 notes transposed on any octave. What is considered is the proper tuning according to basic mgam note sequence.
It is punctuated by a large gong or similar percussive break. Thus. Rhythmic: Constant and repetitive through cycles (and across) or layers Punctuation: Musical structures forming a cycle ‐ should be thought in rhythmic accentuations of multiples of 2(2). These cycles are determined by the logic of the composition. TERMINOLOGY STYLE ELEMENTS Colotomic structure: Indicate major cycle punctuation. not at the beginning as in Western music. Note that except for the kenong playing on the gong. The minimum cycle consists of a system that is two or a multiple / power of 2 – typically eight. and the ketuk divides each of those further in two. Flute & Mallet techniques & notation symbols. a typical lancaran has four gongs. Cycles. detune. the pause where the kempul is omitted. They add to each other. Each major cycle is clearly delimited by a PUNCTUATION called Cotolomic. circle. non‐linear. The W indicates the wela. and G the simultaneous stroke of the gong and kenong. the instruments do not play when the next one plays. The melodic figure is typically derived from a stack of layered notes (strata) following a rhythmic progression. For example. at the end of which the larger gong ageng is played. * Western classical tradition might often be referred as “linear”. Groupings of four are most common at all levels of structure. It’s an inductive process of additions. strata. In short: While we build starting from melody downwards to rhythms.) Colotomic structures occur on even larger scales in most gamelan pieces as well. The use of silence or diminuendo (fade out) is another musical element used as colotomics. the gong plays once. Thus the more important structural instruments coincide with the stressed beats. Each cycle is equivalent to a unique musical event. (Some instances of running sound pads or silence are also possibilities). the kempul divides each of those in two. Moreover the concern is not about relationship between secondary melodies but between musical intervals within each pattern. Key Words to further define: Melodie. N the kenong. (Remember that the gatras of gamelan music have the strong beat (seleh) at the end. melodie. Formal elements of M‐gamelan: BASICS: An Mgam is divided in Cycles. linear. although there are numerous exceptions at larger levels. accents. * This does not mean mgam is not built on progressions. loop. from the rhythmic units up to the melody. Not divide. Gamelan does the opposite: it creates a melody from the bottom up. The colotomic structure of a piece is the length of the cycle and how the interpunctuating instruments play during that . ligature. The result of layers upon layers of interlocking rhythmic figures derived from smaller rhythmic units.3 Gamelan order is achieved by the creation of linked melodic elements. kotekan. layers. the kenong divides that into four parts. P the kempul. Gamelan music is cyclical* in nature. Accents are on 2 / 4 Internals (structure): Ornamentation – Figuration – interpunction – Connectors (see example) TERMINOLOGY CYCLIC: Predetermined repeated number of beats (tala): Example of a rhythmic colotomic structure: a cycle of 16 beats (keteg) in the following order: TWTN TPTN TPTN TPTG where T indicates the strike of the ketuk. Any change in a major structural element (which can as small or as short as motivic change – if perceived as a pause or “new direction”) justifies the use of the colotomic break (using most often using a large Gong such as the Wadon). but can be inserted before cycles.
68 indicate 2 layers (staves) 32 and 68.56 connects to the 3rd note and the 5th Ligatures: indicate creation of melodies or transitions. It emerged through the development of concepts from . we count 3 notes then 2 notes and have our upper two notes then we repeat the process for 6 and 8 at stratum 2.68. TERMINOLOGY Connection: One main other instrument connecting upper melodic creates new melodic such as 3.68 becoming melodic The self‐imposed figuration (arbitrarily decided) creating connector and interpunction leading to new melody here is 32. Melodic: derived from patterns / layers and punctuations Loop / Loop Matrix / Sequenced Loop elements LOOP COMPOSITION: defining loop composition in one sentence could be that loops elements are: “concerned with properties that are preserved under continuous deformations of objects. 3 2 are the notes to be used from the top staff and notes 6 8 from the lower. but they are also musical forms which are associated with specific structural patterns on a larger scale than the colotomic cycle. such as deformations that involve stretching. Starting from measure 3. but no tearing or gluing.4 cycle. and 4 notes. 32. These 4 notes are then repeated / augmented or diminished. Example of accents on 32. and guidelines for what tempi and irama may be used.
Construction by looping elements: LOOP construction by Note / Notes / Sequence / Track Loop Type I: Align similar sequences by repeats of different beats/notes Loop Type II: Align similar sequences with different sounds (ORCHESTRATION) and offset Loop Type III: Align different sequences from different cycles Loop Type IV: Align different sequences from different cycles with new sounds and long mixed track Also – Add FX (echo/flange/delay/reverb/) Example of a loop matrix built from short musical sample (Intro Gamelan Short) – in Acid PRO 8 tracks / same sample. and transformation. This is also a structural musical property. The system is ten closed and repeats as a This “augments” or forms a ligature for the composition. either arranged side by side or overlapping it. dimension. such as space. But we must more clearly indicate how traditional mathematical topology can be seriously applied to symbolic music.5 geometry and set theory. Using prefabricated Loop software (Fruity Loops) (3 tracks different samples / 2 loops) Align different sequences from different cycles .” This is the mathematical definition of Topology. Long sample is run 4 time / each off set from each other (11‐12‐13‐14) while squares (7‐10) represents a copy of at a least one 1/16 element from the original short musical sample.
6 Example of Re‐instrumentation – MIDI file (short motif from beg of Grand‐high) with sampled Gamelan Timbale Sequence loop matrix Example Score generated by Sequence loop matrix Progression and morphing types by example .
7 Above section becomes New score based on mid exprot of loop matrix Selection from Aunglung (Cycle III) ‐> becomes new part (grand motif I) Grand Motif .
sampler and DAW 1) Use of the four sound sample from the original gamelan instrument 2) Use of imported midi files 3) Use of imported sound files (wav) 4) Use of effects . sequencer.8 Loop Matrix sequence is becomes new score based on mid exprot of loop matrix Matrix works as loop generator.