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Gray, Nick (2011) Improvisation and composition in Balinese gendér wayang: music of the moving shadows. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate. (SOAS Musicology Series)

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This book is an examination of the music of the Balinese gendér wayang, the quartet of metallophones (gendér) that accompanies the Balinese shadow puppet play (wayang kulit). It focuses on processes of musical variation, the main means of creating new music in this genre, and the implications of these processes for the social and historical study of Balinese music, musical aesthetics, concepts of creativity and compositional methods. Firstly, it studies the processes of composition and variation-making in this unnotated tradition. Secondly, it examines the relationship between pre-composition and spontaneous variation-making. Thirdly, it explores concepts of musical composition, variation, improvisation and creativity in gendér wayang, which shed light on attitudes to these processes in Bali in general. These processes are examined in two main geographical areas: Sukawati in South Bali and, secondly, the contrasting area of East Bali, particularly the villages of Budakeling and Tenganan. Part 1 describes the context of gendér wayang within Balinese musical and ritual life and situates the argument in the light of current research on Balinese music and ethnomusicological theories of improvisation and composition. In part 2, I examine compositional techniques in gendér wayang in more depth, as well as aspects of regional variation, before analysing the processes at work in a spectrum from the more improvised to the more pre-composed, illuminated by players’ comments. Finally, in part 3, I draw out and bring into focus certain themes raised by the processes described in the previous chapters, particularly those that relate to changing social contexts for the music.

Item Type: Authored Books
Keywords: Bali, music, wayang music, improvisation, composition
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Arts > Department of Music
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of Music
ISBN: 9781409418320
Copyright Statement: Copyright Nicholas Gray 2011
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2011 16:09

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