Il a démasqué la supercherie et les menteuses vaticinations de la prêtraille, son audace à publier des mystères dont elle n'entend pas le premier mot. Mais] n'est-ce pas un charlatanisme aussi furieux de quoi les dédamateurs sont férus et possédés? Ils braillent:—Ces navrures, [Pg 18] pour la publique liberté, je les endurai! Mais aujourd'hui, à la bouffissure du discours, au fracas très vain des maximes ils gagnent uniquement ceci que, rendus au Forum, ils se croient dépaysés dans une autre planète.
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This diverse sampling of new and older Balinese styles appeared on 78 rpm discs that same year, with subsequent releases for international distribution. The discs were sold world-wide or not sold, as it happened and quickly went out of print. Gamelan groups were having their older ceremonial orchestras melted down and reforged in the new style. Intense competition between villages and regions stimulated young composers to develop impressive innovations and techniques.
Five of the ninety-eight existing matrices sides made at that time were included by the well-known scholar Erich M. For this reason the information on the labels was printed in Malay, the lingua franca of the archipelago, and in some cases even in Balinese script. The ambitious plan to develop an indigenous market was a complete failure, however, since few Balinese were interested in this new and expensive technology — especially when there was a world of live performances happening daily in the thousands of temples and households throughout the island.
McPhee was the only customer to purchase these 78 rpm discs in an entire year from one frustrated dealer; his collection contains most of the copies that are still preserved to this day, for the agent later smashed the remaining stock in a fit of rage. Although limited by the medium to being three-minute excerpts, they consequently are remarkable examples of a broad range of musical genres — vocal as well as instrumental — and many outstanding composers, performers and ensembles of the period who are now famous teachers of legendary clubs — I Wayan Lotring, I Nyoman Kaler, and the gamelan gong of Pangkung, Belaluan, and Busungbiu.
These invaluable sound documents of the musical and family heritage of the Balinese include styles of vocal chant rarely heard today; Kebyar Ding, a historically important composition that has been relearned from the recordings by the present generation of musicians, whose fathers and grandfathers made the original discs; and records of renowned singers that are considered even sacred by their descendants, who keep tape copies in the family shrine.
On listening to the Odeon recordings, McPhee was inspired to embark on his research in Bali, which was to consume him for eight years and lead to a major work of scholarship, Music in Bali: It would dominate his musical ideas for the remainder of his life. It was quite by accident that I had heard the few gramophone records that were to change my life completely, bringing me out here in search of something quite indefinable-music or experience, I could not at this moment say.
His innate musical sense, his sturdy application and a striking personality marked him out for a brilliant career on the concert platform. I felt a personal sense of loss when, after I left Canada, he gave up the piano altogether and applied himself entirely to composition.
Now he is in Java and other distant lands seeking new inspiration in the relatively unfamiliar native music. Yet I must not criticise him because he has neglected my favorite instrument. Did I not do the same thing when I was his age? The musicians are an integral part of the social group, fitting in among ironsmiths and goldsmiths, architects and scribes, dancers and actors, as constituents of each village complex.
Modest and unassuming, they nevertheless take great pride in their art, an art which, however, is so impersonal that the composer himself has lost his identity. Gamelan styles are associated with specific ceremonies, entertainment, or recreational activity.
Gamelan generally utilize a five-tone octave, whether it be in the sléndro tuning of gendér wayang or the pélog tuning of most other genres. Gamelan angklung uses a four-tone version of sléndro. The suling bamboo flute provides additional pitches and tonal shadings, as do singers, who may join with the gamelan.
Several five-tone pélog tunings derive from an older seven-tone saih pitu system, still in use by ensembles such as gamelan gambuh, Semar Pagulingan, and gamelan gambang. Traditionally, instrumental music is rarely notated; musicians learn their parts by rote. As the music is highly structured, improvisation is reserved for the leading drum, the flute, or solo instruments in specific contexts. In contemporary schools, music is taught using a system of cipher notation. The unique collection of tuned gongs, gong-chimes and flat metallophones associated with the gamelan styles of Bali and Java, appears to have developed between the construction of the 9th-century Borobudur Buddhist temple and the arrival of the first Dutch expedition in In its most expanded form, Balinese gamelan is organized into instrumental stratification spanning over five octaves: a.
Basic statement of the melody within a one-octave range. Articulation at regular time intervals of the basic melody, generally every four tones. Full melodic expression, ranging from two to three octaves. Doubling and paraphrasing in the octave above. Ornamental figuration of the melody. Punctuation of larger time intervals the general function of the gongs. Drumming, with 1 or 2 musicians playing two-headed drums, using their hands or a single mallet, which conducts the group and provides a propulsive rhythmic undercurrent.
Most notably, it was in the villages of Jagaraga and Bungkulan that this explosive musical style came into being. Around , performers in Jagaraga created a pure dance which intimately followed and reflected the musical phrases without any narrative element. Bungkulan had created a musical innovation by using the often-neglected trompong, a row of tuned knobbed gongs, as a featured melodic instrument.
A new form of gamelan instrumentation with a striking compositional style was bursting upon the scene, creating heated competition between gamelan clubs in different villages and regions. The style derived much from both traditional styles, gamelan gong gedé, and pelégongan. The greatest exponent of kebyar dance, I Maria spelled Mario by most writers , first heard a kebyar orchestra around , when a gamelan group from the village of Bantiran, North Bali, performed at a cremation ceremony in Tabanan.
The realization of his creation Kebyar Duduk derived from the rich rhythms of these kebyar compositions. Kebyar Duduk interpreted into dance a new musical form which was a roller coaster of melody and rhythm. In earlier male dances such as the martial baris and masked jauk, the gamelan would follow and reflect the movements of the dancer.
Maria helped create a new equilibrium, with each dance gesture dependent on the music. With Maria as performer, the form grew over time as his choreographic and musical ideas influenced one another. While some Balinese classicists failed to appreciate his departure from traditional form, his work has endured and spawned generations of choreographic heirs.
I Maria worked closely with the famed Gong Pangkung gamelan orchestra of Tabanan and later became associated with the gamelan gong kebyar of Belaluan. Although illness forced Maria to stop dancing around , he continued to teach. I Wayan Lotring was leader of the gamelan pelégongan in the coastal village of Kuta. His brilliant compositions startled and inspired musicians throughout the island. Lotring was a masterful player of gendér wayang, the virtuosic quartet of ten-keyed metallophones which accompanies shadow-puppet theater wayang.
But his major musical innovation centered on pelégongan, the gamelan associated with légong, the elaborately choreographed court dance. His Gambangan, Gegendéran, and Gegénggongan heard on this CD were modern visions deriving from musical elements within these forms. In pelégongan, one hears a more fluid, lyrical, and subtle style than in gamelan gong. The missing beat is never forgotten, however, but is inevitably restored through the extension of some phrase, though often at so distant a point in the composition as to create a new element of surprise.
It is hard to compose! Sometimes I cannot sleep for nights, thinking of a new piece. It turns round and round in my thoughts. I hear it in my dreams. My hair has grown thin thinking of music.
The gamelan pelégongan led by Lotring went in and out of use over the decades, due to local conflicts and reflecting an island-wide trend towards kebyar. One year after these Odeon recordings were made, his group disbanded as a result of disagreements over the distribution of club funds. Colin McPhee helped revive the gamelan club in the s, but it folded again after McPhee left in His gamelan was recorded once more in , although many of the musicians were by then old and out of practice.
Lotring played the kendang drum solo since no one was adequately trained to join him in the interlocking patterns in the repertoire. Soon after these recordings were taped, the instruments were melted down to enable the younger players to order a kebyar orchestra which would accompany dances for tourists. There was, in fact, a kebyar légong genre in the village of Jagaraga in the s, which was a transitional style.
And herein lies some of the historical importance of these Odeon recordings. The Kebyar Ding composition by the gamelan gong kebyar of Belaluan village heard on this CD exemplifies this developing Bali tenggah style as it existed during the rapidly evolving musical life in Bali. It prized a particular kind of technical precision within the ensemble, without the rapid playing of the Beléleng ensembles, which worked with great speed, necessitating a somewhat less complex form.
According to gamelan authority I Wayan Beratha, one particularly important aspect of Kebyar Ding lies in its innovation with ngucek literally, rubbing , a variety of rapid melodic-rhythmic figurations played in unison and used for thematic transitions.
Ngucek, which became an identifying characteristic of kebyar, involves different rhythms with rapid triplets alternating with phrases of dotted rhythms. Modern gamelan groups have continued to further their idiomatic aspects of speed and technical subtlety. At the same time, contemporary musicians marvel over the complex kebyar form in these recordings, achieved in such a short period of time. Due to local politics, the gamelan gong kebyar of Belaluan is now referred to as Seka Gong Sadmertha, officially based in an adjacent hamlet.
The significance of the composition Kebyar Ding is so highly regarded that in , a reconstruction project was organized by the village with the distinct talents of the renowned local musician and teacher, I Wayan Beratha. His father, I Madé Regog, had been leader of the gamelan at the time of the recordings and long thereafter. I Regog joined in as advisor and trompong player, as they revived the Kebyar Ding piece.
Kebyar Ding I: Kebyar As rpm discs only allowed for three-minute selections, the Kebyar Ding was broken up into separate movements 1 through 6. In actual performance they would proceed immediately from one section. Ding is the first pitch of the Balinese scale. The first movement of a kebyar composition is still generally called kebyar, and features explosive sequences of unison playing without a steady beat, introducing the first examples of the rapid ngucek style.
Introduced here, and also featured in movements III, V and VI, are interlocking kokétan phrasings played by the réyong. Replacing the trompong with the réyong was a major innovation in instrumentation associated with the new kebyar form. Physically similar to the solo, lyrical and majestic trompong which is still used in the pelégongan, Semar Pagulingan and traditional gamelan gong gedé , the réyong are played by four musicians in complex, rippling rhythms.
Kebyar Ding III: Oncang-oncangan Oncang-oncangan is a technique inspired by the polyrhythmic pounding of rice mortars as grain is husked.
The melody is broken up into a two-part figuration, polos basic, simple and sangsih differing, filling in. This intense coordination of musical parts allows musicians to play rapidly and also has a spatial acoustic effect of making a melodic line issue from more than one location. Oncang-oncangan technique is the distinctive element of this section, with one ngucek rhythmic phrase in the middle.
Kebyar Ding IV: Batél Batél is traditionally music for dramatic fighting scenes and marches, often associated with an ensemble of rhythmic percussion instruments.
This section contains only a suggestion — at the beginning and end — of the rapid batél phrasing played by the large gong and smaller gong kempur , and briefly suggests the regular pulse associated with this genre.
Batél may also signify transition music from one movement of a piece to another. Following up on the previous movement, there is some oncang-oncangan figuration here as well.
In kebyar, ngrang-rang came to connote new music composed in a fixed, permanent sense. The section ends with a flurry of ngucek phrases which, in performance, lead directly into the pengawak.
Kebyar Ding VI: Pengawak and Pengecét Kebyar compositions frequently conclude with a pengawak and pengecét, which derive their themes from the classical repertoire of légong, gambuh, or gamelan gong gedé. Pengecét, the last section, has the theme developed at a faster tempo, rising to an energetic finale.
Project Arbiter Website
ARBITER, Gaius Petronius ( 27 ap. J.-C.-66 ap. J.-C. )
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