Improvisation in Balinese Music: An Analytical Study of Three Different Types of Drumming in the Balinese Gamelan Gong Kebyar

I Wayan Sudirana

Abstract


ABSTRACT

Gong kebyar emerged in early 20th century and was initially an instrumental genre. In its later advancement, the ensemble became accustomed to accompanying dance compositions, which are decorated with miscellaneous dance improvisations corresponding to the characteristic style of gong kebyar. There are three types of Balinese drumming that are considered improvisational, in particular the styles that are played in the repertory of gamelan gong kebyar. Gamelan gong kebyar is the most popular and influential genre of twentieth century music developed in Bali. In gamelan baru, the function of the drum (in Bali it is called kendang) in the ensemble is more important than it was in older styles and it is considered to be the leader of the ensemble. Drummers are skilled musicians and usually teachers, who know all of the parts that are played by other instruments in the ensemble. Krumpungan, Cedugan, and Gupekan are examples of drumming style that gives incorporate the idea of improvisation, though in Bali we do not have a special term for improvisation. We do however have the same ideas and sense of the meaning of improvisation itself in the way some drumming is played spontaneously in the course of performance, by using drummer’s abilities to create spontaneously new pattern on stage. There are some important aspects that need to be underlined in creating those patterns, such as: melody accompaniment, dancer’s cues, good partnership (in krumpungan and cedugan), and the ability to lead the ensemble. Those aspects have the prominent role in the acheivement of drum improvisation in the performance. Drumming improvisation remains something that has to be learned more comprehensively in the future. It is still an abstract concept for many musicians as well as Balinese gamelan lovers.

Keywords: improvisation, drumming, kendang, gong kebyar.

 

ABSTRAK

Gong kebyar muncul pada awal abad ke-20 dan pada mulanya merupakan genre instrumental. Dalam perkembangan selanjutnya, ensambel tersebut menjadi terbiasa dengan komposisi tari yang menyertainya, yang dihiasi dengan improvisasi tari yang berbeda sesuai dengan gaya khas gong kebyar. Ada tiga jenis drum Bali yang dianggap improvisasi, khususnya gaya-gaya yang dimainkan dalam repertoar gamelan gong kebyar. Gamelan gong kebyar adalah genre musik abad ke-20 yang paling populer dan berpengaruh yang dikembangkan di Bali. Dalam gamelan baru ini, fungsi drum (di Bali disebut kendang) dalam ensambel lebih penting daripada pada gaya lama dan dianggap sebagai pemimpin ensembel. Drumer adalah musisi yang terampil dan biasanya adalah guru, yang tahu semua bagian yang dimainkan oleh instrumen lain dalam ensembel. Krumpungan, Cedugan, dan Gupekan adalah contoh gaya drum yang memberikan ide improvisasi, meskipun di Bali tidak ada istilah khusus untuk improvisasi. Namun di sini ada ide yang sama dan rasa makna improvisasi itu sendiri dengan cara memainkan beberapa drum secara spontan dalam jalannya pertunjukan, dengan menggunakan kemampuan pemain drum untuk menciptakan pola spontan baru di panggung. Ada beberapa aspek penting yang perlu digarisbawahi dalam menciptakan pola-pola tersebut, seperti: iringan melodi, isyarat penari, kemitraan yang baik (dalam krumpungan dan cedugan), dan kemampuan untuk memimpin ensambel. Aspek-aspek tersebut memiliki peran penting dalam pencapaian improvisasi drum dalam pettunjukan. Improvisasi drum tetap sesuatu yang harus dipelajari lebih komprehensif di masa depan. Ini masih merupakan konsep abstrak bagi banyak musisi dan juga pecinta gamelan Bali.

 Kata kunci: improvisasi, drum, kendang, gong kebyar.


Keywords


improvisation, drumming, kendang, gong kebyar.

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References


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