Composition

Outline of Javanese leaf with Gamelan room in writing

Composition

There are many ways to compose music.

This page is to help you if you are on your own or have had little or no experience in composing music for Javanese gamelan.

You have been playing with the Gamelan Room app, maybe you were trying out the damping guide and came up with a tune or rhythm you liked. There are many ways to write down what you have been playing. Either to help you remember or to share it with others so they can play it too.

• Write down the numbers

• Use a graphic score

• Use western music notation

These are just a few of the ways you can get your ideas down.

As you will have worked out. Gamelan notes are named using numbers.

In the 5-note ‘slendro’ scale they are numbered 1,2,3,5,6 and in the 7-note ‘pelog’ scale (if you have the full version of the app) 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

The obvious thing then is to write the numbers down that you played.

For example 36363632

Try playing the notes as they are written above.

• What does it sound like to you?

• How much information have you received?

• Do you know if you are playing it right?

Imagine the ticking of a clock;

Is that how you played it?

What if the rhythm was different?

You can probably tell it’s not always playing with the ‘tick/tock/tick/tock’ rhythm.

Each ‘tick/tock’ beat has another beat halfway between. Some people would call that ‘and’ e.g., tick/and/tock/and/tick/and so on.

This could still be confusing especially as you do not want to have to write tick/tock all the time!

A common way to mark this is by drawing a line over the notes.

Take away all the tick/tock and the previous example ends up like this:

To keep it clear make sure to leave space where the ‘and’ is. Even if there’s no note.

Knowing the scale is 12356. What if your chosen instrument has more than 1-6, like the bonang?

The Gamelan Room has two guides to show you which notes are which and how they are written.

To find out more please read these further suggestions on composing and how to write notation.

We would like to invite you to compose some music for our Launch event in September.

We’d like you to write a short piece of music to contribute to a nationwide group composition.

Please download the notation template and guidance for entry.

We look forward to receiving your music

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