Focus: Gamelan Music of Indonesia is an introduction to the familiar music from Southeast Asia's largest country - both as sound and cultural phenomenon. An archipelago of over 17,000 islands, Indonesia is a melting pot of Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, Portuguese, Dutch, and British influences. Despite this diversity, it has forged a national culture, one in which music plays a significant role. Gamelan music, in particular, teaches us much about Indonesian values and modern-day life. Focus: Gamelan Music of Indonesia provides an introduction to present-day Javanese, Balinese, Cirebonese, and Sundanese gamelan music through ethnic, social, cultural, and global perspectives.
Part One, Music and Southeast Asian History¸ provides introductory materials for the study of Southeast Asian music. Part Two, Gamelan Music in Java and Bali, moves to a more focused overview of Gamelan music in Indonesia. Part Three, Focusing In, takes an in-depth look at Sundanese gamelan traditions, as well modern developments in Sundanese music and dance. The accompanying downloadable resources offer vivid examples of traditional Indonesian gamelan music.
Henry Spiller is Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Davis.