The Department of Music presents the Gamelan Ensemble in concert, directed by Gina Beck. UMBC is fortunate to be home to two distinct Gamelan orchestras:
The Central Javanese gamelan is a gong-chime orchestra of Indonesia. Although most of the instruments of the gamelan are made of bronze, the ensemble also includes drums, xylophones, bamboo flutes, and plucked and bowed string instruments. The UMBC gamelan is tuned to the five-tone slendro scale, one of the tuning systems used in Central Java. The music of the Javanese gamelan has been described as “meditative” and “floating.” Playing gamelan music is a communal art form and requires one to pay attention to the music of the whole group.
The gamelan angklung is one of many types of gong-chime orchestras from the island of Bali, Indonesia. This small ensemble, made up of gongs, single-octave metallophones, drums, cymbals, and flutes, is tuned to a four-tone slendro scale. The music of the gamelan angklung is described as exciting, fast-paced, and rhythmically intricate. Melodic patterns played on the instruments interlock to help create large structures of varying textures, great complexity, and excitement in the bright sound of this ensemble.