1st Edition

Improvisation and Composition in Balinese Gendér Wayang Music of the Moving Shadows

By Nicholas Gray Copyright 2011

    This book is an examination of the music of the Balinese gendér wayang, the quartet of metallophones - gendér - that accompanies the Balinese shadow puppet play - wayang kulit. The book focuses on processes of musical variation, the main means of creating new music in this genre, and the implications of these processes for the social and historical study of Balinese music, musical aesthetics, concepts of creativity and compositional methods. Dr Nick Gray tackles a number of core ethnomusicological concerns in a new way, including the relationship between composition and improvisation, and also highlights issues specific to Balinese music, including the importance of flexibility in performance, an aspect that has been largely ignored by scholars. Gray thus breaks new ground both in the study of issues relating to improvisation and composition and in Balinese music studies.

    Contents: Preface; Part I Concepts: Introduction; The music of gendér wayang. Part II Explorations: Compositional structures and techniques; What players say; What players play (part 1); What players play (part 2). Part III Reflections: No tree is untouched by the wind; Conclusions and new directions; Appendices; Bibliography; Appendices; Index.


    Dr Nick Gray specialises in the music of South East Asia, particularly popular and fusion music.

    ’The writing is clear, and the notations excellent... recommended.’ Choice