Prelude, Gantungan, and Dance: for gamelan, piano and prepared piano

Research output: Performances, compositions and other non-textual formsComposition



‘Prelude, Gantungan and Dance’ is a tryptich offering three reflections on my position as a Western composer choosing to work with the Indonesian gamelan.

To begin with the central panel: ‘gantungan’ literally means ‘hanger’. In the theory of Javanese music it refers to a section of melody that ‘hangs around’ a particular pitch, and also to a particular repertoire of cengkok, elaborating patterns that are used by a player to realise these static points. This section is built upon an insistently repeated note 3 in the gamelan that acts as a backdrop to a virtuosic elaboration on the prepared piano.

At the end of this section we hear a short passage in traditional style for solo gendèr, that harks back to the opening solo piano prelude. This prelude is fact a travesty of the later gendèr material: a self-conscious criticism of my inevitably failed attempts to fully understand the music of the gamelan.

The final panel abandons these concerns in a playful throwaway pop-tune, built on earlier materials, of the sort one might hear in the limbukan female clown scene of a shadow puppet play.


Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished or Performed - 27 Sept 2018