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Baris Melampahan [Gamelan] Complete Musical Analysis


Below is a complete analysis of the A2 Music African piece, Baris Melampahan looking at all the elements of music with some taster questions at the end. Baris Melampahan is a traditional Balinese piece of music. Feel free to skip to the parts most relevant to you.

Be sure to check out the other A2 musical pieces and AS musical pieces I have analysed on Ask Will Online.

Baris Melampahan Analysis

Introduction


  • Baris Melampahan comes from Indonesia.
  • It is a standard dance in Bali which is usually danced solo.


Texture


  • The texture is heterophony. This is when the melody is simultaneously varied at the same time by different instruments.


Harmony


  • There is no harmony in the piece. There are no chords or cadences.

Tonality

  • There is no real sense of a western tonality in this piece.
  • The only tonal element to the piece is scale used being the Pelog scale. This consists of C# (1), D (2), E (3), G# (4) and A (5).

Dynamics

  • The dynamics are either loud or soft (terrace dynamics).

Instruments (Timbre)

  • Baris Melampahan uses metallophones only. A metallophone can be any instrumental device which consists of tuned metal bars that are struck to make a sound. In this gamelan, the metallophones are tuned in pairs to create an acoustic beating.

Here are a list of instruments used in Baris Melampahan:

  • Gong
  • Kempur
  • Kemong
  • Kempli
  • Jegogan
  • Calung
  • Ugal
  • Gangsa (Pemade and Kantilan)
  • Reyong
  • Kendhang
  • Ceng-ceng
  • Suling

Melody

  • Although it can be seen there is a lack of a melody too, there has to be a melody for the texture to be heterophony. For this reason, the clearest melody is in the Reyong which has the used of the Pegog scale the most.

Rhythm and Metre

  • The rhythm features syncopation especially from the Jegogan which plays a semiquaver before the beat. Even with this syncopation, it is the most dominant beat of the piece.

Structure

  • There is no real sense of structure. A common feature of the piece is that it varies from loud/soft/loud/soft. Therefore, there is a dynamic structure.


Questions on Baris Melampahan

What is a metallophone?
A metallophone can be any instrumental device which consists of tuned metal bars that are struck to make a sound. In this gamelan, the metallophones are tuned in pairs to create an acoustic beating.


Explain the term heterophony. Where do you first hear a heterophonic texture in NAM 59?

A heterophonic texture is a texture where the melody is simultaneously varied by different instruments at the same time. The first appearance of this happening in NAM 59 is at the ‘angel’ loud section.


Explain how the function of the gongs differ from the fuction of panususan instruments such as the small metallophones.

The gong plays once every two bars being a D and then A. This creates a sense of beat which is difficult to hear without the gongs (even if they are not playing exactly on the beat but a semiquaver before). Compare this to the small metallophones, their functions are to fill in the texture and vary the melody creating a heterophonic texture. For this reason, the metallophones play much more notes with a wide use of notes and rhythms.


What two features are heard at the end of every gongan in Baris Melampahan?

A change in dynamics either from loud to soft or soft to loud. A change in texture from thin to thick or thick to thin. The Jegogan is played at the end of every gongan being a note of A.










About Will Green

A student in England studying Automotive Engineering with Motorsport, Will created Ask Will Online back in 2010 to help students revise and bloggers make money. You can follow AskWillOnline via @AskWillOnline.

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