“THE MUSIC OF GAMELAN
Often translated as “orchestra,” gamelan is an ensemble of instruments from Indonesia, typically Java or Bali. The music itself is often characterized by bright, metallic, percussive qualities, distinctive and complex tuning, the rich layering of instruments, and its cyclical form.
Ensembles differ significantly from one another but are made up of a combination of beautifully crafted metallophones, xylophones, drums, gongs, bamboo flutes, strings, and even vocals. Instruments are built and tuned for specific ensembles, so tunings can differ considerably between gamelans. A peculiarity of the Balinese variant is that each instrument is paired and slightly detuned relative to its partner, resulting in a natural chorus effect.