PROJECT-1

for Javanese Gamelan


CONTENTS :
[1] Description
[2] Programme Notes from the score
[3] Score Example
 
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[1] Description

Project-1 is a piece for Javanese gamelan that has never been performed.  It's sources of inspiration includes basic Indonesian gamelan gong cycles, and metric modulation (through tuition from the Australian composer Carl Vine).  It is the first of my composition where I was first to write my own manuscript to combine the contrasting music forces used (gamelan using traditional notation).  The piece also experiments with an important conception in gamelan: the concept of 'off-beat' and 'on-beat'.  This is quite confusing for someone familiar with only western notation.  This is explored in the introduction and the finale of the work.  After beginning in common time, it changes to 12/8 to allow for the development of the gong/kenong pattern.  The gong uses the triplets in the time signature, while the kenong plays 3 pulses to the bar (every 4 counts).  One by one, a number of the kenong plays 3 pulses to the bar (every 4 counts).  One by one, a number of the parts enter using derivations of either triple or quadruplet variation.  Up to this point, the 6352 melody has been used.  It soon chanes to the primary melody of the gamelan tuning known as slendro and is basically pentatonic.  The other instrumental parts change, and new instrumental parts enter in reaction to the melodic change.  When it changes to 6/8 metre for one bar, and then 7/8 for one bar before changing back to 12/8, it has reached the first major climactic point.  The gong starts its cycle straight away, and one by one other instruments return, but with a difference (for some).  Either the melodic or rhythmic repetition doesn't fit into the 12/8 cycle.  When Saron 1 enters with its 17 beat melody, the metre changes to 7/8 to accomodate this new pulse.  Saron 2, and Pekin take a variation on this melody.  It reaches its second climactic point, and changes into 9/8 for one bar, and then back into 12/8 for canons on the 6352.  It finishes how it begins, playing with the concept of the offbeat and the onbeat.  The name for the composition is taken from the Alan Parson's Project purely because the second melody is derived from one of their songs."

 

- Zachar Laskewicz

 [2] Programme Notes from the score

PROJECT-1 is a composition composed for Javanese gamelan instruments.

Standard Western notation is used, although pitch notation uses the Indonesian numerical system.

 

This composition explores the possibilities of combining Javanese gong structures and repeating patterns with Western rhythms, and combines alternative rhythmic modes simultaneously.  It also works with cyclical/symmetrical structures.

 

The instruments used are standard components of a traditional Javanese gamelan orchestra, and below is a list of abbreviations used in the score. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P    Ñ Pekin

 

S1  Ñ Saron one

 

S2  Ñ Saron two

 

D1  Ñ Demung one

 

D2  Ñ Demung two

 

B    Ñ Bonang

 

K     Ñ Kenong

 

G     Ñ Gong

 

DR   Ñ Drum (kendang)

 

The kendang is notated on two lines, as is the gong part.  This signifies for the kendang that rhythms on the top line are for the higher pitched drum, and the lower line signifies the lower-pitched drum.  For the gong, the top line signifies the kempul, and the lower line signifies the gong.

 

The numerical notation is written beneath the rhythms.  Some simple convention must be noted:

(1)  A numeral is only included once in a system if the same note is being repeated beneath the specified rhythms.

(2) If a slash is included before a numeral (in the bonang part), this means that two notes an octave apart are played.

 

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The kendang is notated on two lines, as is the gong part.  This signifies for the kendang that rhythms on the top line are for the higher pitched drum, and the lower line signifies the lower-pitched drum.  For the gong, the top line signifies the kempul, and the lower line signifies the gong.

 

The numerical notation is written beneath the rhythms.  Some simple convention must be noted:

(1)  A numeral is only included once in a system if the same note is being repeated beneath the specified rhythms.

(2) If a slash is included before a numeral (in the bonang part), this means that two notes an octave apart are played.

 

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[3] Score Example

 

 

 

ę May 2008 Nachtschimmen Music-Theatre-Language Night Shades, Ghent (Belgium)
Send mail to zachar@nachtschimmen.eu with questions or comments about this website.

Last modified:
May 30, 2008

 

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