Central Javanese Gamelan: How Globalization Influences Students' Music Consumption

Topics: Gamelan, Indonesia, Globalization Pages: 5 (1618 words) Published: April 20, 2013

Central Javanese gamelan study has been available in some schools. In some schools do not have Central Javanese gamelan study. In my opinion, it is very unfortunate, because students need to conserve our own traditional music, especially Central Javanese gamelan. So, one of ways to conserve the Central Javanese gamelan, is understand the theory, the history about it. Not only understand the theory and the history, but also understand how to play the Central Javanese gamelan (the implementation). Ki Hadjar Dewantara (as cited in Sumarsam, 2003, p. 168) argued that “put the Javanese art spectacle as an obligated curriculum in Taman Siswa is the most important thing to do.” Actually, the writer agrees with Ki Hadjar Dewantara’s argument. By putting the Javanese art spectacle as an obligated curriculum, then the students can learn and understand about it. And so is the Central Javanese gamelan. The Central Javanese gamelan is one the Javanese art spectacle. So the students must learn, understand the theory and the implementation of it.

Because the Central Javanese gamelan is very important to be preserved, Ki Hadjar Dewantara (as cited in Sumarsam, 2003, p. 168) said that:

Gendhings lesson are not only needed to look for the knowledge and the ability (to play) the gendhings, but it is important to generate the life of the inner, because gendhings always guide the rhythmic sense, generate the sense of beauty, and silence a sense of decency. (As mentioned in Sultan Agungan’s teaching, and the teachings of western scholars) (p. 168)

What Ki Hadjar Dewantara means here is the students do not only just understand the theory and the implementation, but also the students are demanded to be able to feel the song (gendhing). Usually the students just play the song perfunctorily. Actually, it is not allowed. While the students are playing the song, they have to try to feel the song. If they can feel the song, their feeling will be peaceful. Besides, if they can feel the song, there will be sense of beauty in the students’ feeling. They will understand how that song can relax them. They will understand how that song can relax their mind, body, and etc. They will understand that every rhythm in the song can make their feeling become calm, because the sound of every rhythm is beautiful. Moreover if the students are able to play it softly, the sound that is produced will be nice for the players and the listeners. Besides, it is better for them if they can sing the song.


Before the writer explains the definition of Gamelan, especially Central Javanese gamelan, the writer will explain about Gendhing. It is important to you to understand about it. It is because gendhing is related to the gamelan. Gendhing is from Javanese language. In Indonesia, gendhing is ‘Lagu’. So, in English, gendhing is ‘Song’. In the gendhing (song), there is a part called ‘Buka’. The definition of buka is the beginning of the song which is played before the real gendhing is played. Buka in the gendhing can be played by gamelan (bonang barong, kendhang, rebab, gendher, and etc.) and it can be started by tembang (sindhen).

According to Sumarsam (2003), the Javanese priyayi defined gamelan (and so are puppet and traditional dance) as a noble art, or a high valued art (beautiful and noble). So, the Central Javanese gamelan is one of traditional music in Indonesia that must be respected because of its high valued art. Besides, gamelan is a musical unity. What the writer means here is that the gamelan can not be played one by one, including Central Javanese gamelan. If you do that, then the sound that is produced is not good. You can just hear one, two, or three sounds of the gamelan instruments. For example, if you just play Gong, then the sound that is produced is from the Gong itself. The sound of the Gong is like an echo and the sound is not good to hear. So, it is better for...
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