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Gray, Nick (2007) No tree is untouched by the wind: Aspects of composition and improvisation in Balinese gender wayang. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis is an examination of the music of the Balinese gender wayang, the quartet of metallophones (gender) that accompanies the Balinese shadow puppet play (wayang kulit). The research 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 precomposition and spontaneous variation-making. Thirdly, it explores concepts of musical composition, variation, improvisation and creativity in gender 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 (chapters 1 to 3) describes the context of gender wayang within Balinese musical and ritual life and gives an overview of improvisation and composition in Balinese music. It also contains a review of existing literature on gender wayang (chapter 2) and an overview of relevant ethnomusicological theories of improvisation and composition (chapter 3). In part 2 (chapters 4 to 6), I examine compositional techniques in gender 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 (chapter 6). Finally, in part 3 (chapters 7 and 8), 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: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:09

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