Al Balaz

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Provencher, Ronald

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Anthropology


Gamelan; Music--Indonesia--Java--History and criticism


Three theories regarding the origin and development of the Central Javanese gamelan are critically reviewed: those of Mantle Hood, Jaap Kunst, and Ernst Heins. I reconstruct the instrumentation of the prototypical ensemble out of which the gamelan was developed as well as the process by which the various Central Javanese gamelan were elaborated from the same basic configuration. The first gamelan emerged from the resources of the earlier tetabuhan through the addition of colotomy to pre-existing principles of music. This caused the manufacture of new instruments and a subtle redefinition of identities and relations in the music of the tetabuhan. The gamelan were created in a socio-political context characterized by contradictions in Javanese society brought on by the rise in political influence of Islam. Added to this were the specific concerns of the Mataram rulers to consolidate their claim to rule. The configuration of the early gamelan was subsequently elaborated into the modern slendro and pelog forms in the relatively short period of 200 years. I also discuss the possible origins of the basic principles of Central Javanese gamelan music.


Bibliography: pages 270-279.


vii, 279 pages




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