Improvisation and Composition in Balinese Gendér Wayang: Music of the Moving Shadows (Hardback) book cover

Improvisation and Composition in Balinese Gendér Wayang

Music of the Moving Shadows

By Nicholas Gray

© 2011 – Routledge

294 pages

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Hardback: 9781409418320
pub: 2011-10-28
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315252520
pub: 2016-12-05
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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.


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

Table of Contents

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.

About the Author

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

About the Series

SOAS Musicology Series

The study of the world’s many and diverse music cultures has become an important part of the discipline of musicology. Often termed ‘ethnomusicology’, the resulting studies share the fundamental recognition that music is cherished by every society in the world. Like language, music is a universal means of individual and cultural expression. It is also infinitely varied. Music in any society has intrinsic value in its own right, and can tell us much about the culture in which it developed. The core of the SOAS Musicology Series comprises studies of different musics, analysed in the contexts of the societies of which they are part, and exploring repertories, performance practice, musical instruments, and the roles and impacts of individual composers and performers. Studies which integrate music with dance, theatre or the visual arts are encouraged, and contextualised studies of music within the Western art canon are not excluded.

Reflecting current ethnomusicological theory and practice, the editors recognize the value of interdisciplinary and collaborative research. Volumes may utilize methodologies developed in anthropology, sociology, linguistics and psychology to explore music; they may seek to create a dialogue between scholars and musicians; or they may primarily be concerned with the evaluation of historical documentation. Monographs that explore contemporary and popular musics, the effect of globalization on musical production, or the comparison of different music cultures are also welcomed.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / Ethnomusicology