Classical Percussion Music – For Western Gamelan
This piece was written originally as a simple piano piece using parallel keys after, seeking a sense of consonance belying the complex harmonies. Impractical to perform, the piece was revisited after a cursory study of Balinese gamelan. Interested by the similarities of Gong Kebyar to the minimalism of Glass and Reich, I decided to re-imagine the piece to be a classical percussion music emulation of the Indonesian music.
The interlocking parts of the constantly repeated melody, spread apart 6 parts, and hypnotic simplicity reminded me of kotekan, the highly syncopated multi-part rhythms in Gong Kebyar. In addition, the odd harmonies derived from multiple interlocking keys were similar to the unique tunings of each gamelan orchestra and in-between notes of the pelog and slendro scales. I thought these elements complemented the skills required of classical percussion music.
The piece uses a relatively indeterminate instrumentation of pitched percussion, though the suggested orchestration is for vibraphones and tubular bells. The piece starts with the main theme stated, adding each part of the total melody, roughly corresponding the part’s octave to its average note speed. After building, then crashing, the piece explodes with a fast duo pattern, then hard cuts, letting the lowest gong ring out.
Score Available on Request