Archive for April, 2015

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Come play with us!

April 4, 2015

If you’re interested in:

  • playing a music that is deep and complex yet with a gentle learning curve
  • discovering Javanese culture through one of its most refined performing arts
  • joining an ensemble who is serious about having a seriously relaxing time

…come play with us! See the sidebar on the right for details of our rehearsals which are always open to anyone who would like to watch, listen, and play along. Just drop us a message using the contact form on this blog.

Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t have any musical background… is that ok?

Perfectly fine 🙂 The notation we use is number based, and the tuning of our instruments is non-western, meaning that perfect (western) pitch is not a requirement in any way.

What if I’m not related to NUS in any way?

Not a problem! Our ensemble is open to everyone regardless of race, language, religion, or affiliation etc.

Should I wait for your next Beginners’ Course before joining your regular ensemble?

Not necessary. The learning curve for Javanese Gamelan is gentle, and our more experienced members will guide you along. New players are often put on the “balungan”, a basic but integral part played in unison by several musicians. As musicians become more experienced , we encourage them to learn other instruments to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the music.

Are there any membership fees?

None at all – though we never object to donations of break time cake 😉

Will I get to perform?

Although a casual amateur group, we do have opportunities to perform both within and without the university.

Tell me a little more about the music you play.

Gamelan music today is widely played and appreciated in Java in a variety of contexts: as an accompaniement to traditional dance and shadow puppet theatre, as an integral part of events such as weddings and ceremonies,  as part of a cultural heritage, and as instrumental concert music to be enjoyed for its own sake. It is also as a music that brings communities of amateurs and professionals in casual “jamming” sessions called latihan, which is essentially what our weekly rehearsals are.

Our ensemble specialises in Javanese Gamelan of the Solonese Style, which originates from Surakarta (Solo) and is considered more gentle and refined than other varieties.  Besides instrumental music, we have also provided accompaniement for a variety of traditional and contemporary dances.

To be honest, I’m more interested in Balinese/ Sundanese/ Malay styles of Gamelan.

While we don’t play those styles of gamelan for logistical reasons (we don’t have the sets specific to them), we will be happy to put you in contact with Singaporean ensembles that do play them.

My research/course of study is linked to Javanese Gamelan. Can you help?

Apart from affording a musician’s perspective which will enrich your study or research, some of our members (and our Director, Professor Jan Mrazek), are academics who may be able to help you with the theoretical/ academic aspects of the music.

I’d like to engage the ensemble for a performance or workshop.

Please feel free to contact us with your requirements, so we can take it from there 🙂

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South East Asian Night 2015!

April 4, 2015

Thank you to everyone who came down to the South East Asian Night 2015! It was particularly memorable for our ensemble as we had, for the first time, beginners who had just finished our six week crash course performing two pieces as part of our item.

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