This piece sounds really impressive for how few notes we play. I think it's something to do with the interval between the first two notes - quite spooky sounding. Also it seems to cover a wide range of the instrument and changes direction a lot, but we have a few good reminders:
- Don't use the smallest two WILAH (literally 'leaf', meaning the metal bars)
- Don't use the biggest two BILAH (alternate spelling!)
- Start on 'DING' (5th biggest WILAH)
- Skip down & up, down & up, down a 3rd time, then walk up all 6 notes...
- Skip down, Step up
- Skip down twice, Step up twice
This version of Bapang Slisir lulls the audience into thinking it's nothing more than a short, repeated melody with a simple on-beat melody. Oh nice and relaxing, they'll think. Until we get loud and throw in a couple of ANGSEL breaks. And then we totally surprise them with the rhythmic unison of the NGELIK section! ("1--23-4-5-high-middle-low-middle...")
Beginner level 4-note melody with gaps, as well as full 8-note melody. Everybody plays the ANGSEL the same way, and we all do the NGELIK together. (Advanced students should check our Bapang Slisir Kotekan video)
I had a few short practise videos lying around that I'd made weeks ago but not sent. This post isn't for everyone but it's probably best I keep them all together on this blog. Anyone in the kids group might find them interesting because the part for the UGAL (the big, low, lead GANGSA out the front) is usually the complete POLOS part with a few optional decorations. There's a little bit of freedom for the UGAL player to mix up these variations (shouldn't sound identical to the POLOS) but their main job is to be a conductor, signalling strongly any ANGSEL changes required, and filling in the gaps when the other GANGSA pause.
Please notice you can now select blog posts via Categories over there on the right.
This stay-at-home thing is intense isn't it? Everyone practising alone, planning for the future when we get back together. (My attempted segue to this cute clip of a lone dancer...)
'Tari' means dance. 'Wira Yudha' translates to something like brave or young warriors, depending who you ask and how you pose the question. The (h) is an optional spelling, so when you're searching for more youtube clips or info it could be spelled Wirayuda, Wirayudha, Wira Yuda, or Wira Yudha. As you can see from one of the clips below it's could mean brave young dancers - some of those little guys are tiny! Notice how the more experienced performers are at the back so the younger learners can't simply copy, they need to develop confidence and memorise the sequences.
Also note, on the left of the screen there are musicians NOT playing their instruments, but just visible on our right can be seen the front row of the accompanists. Yep, there are two complete gamelan groups on the one stage, leaving the centre clear for PENARI (dancers). This is a common concert (and contest!) set-up in Bali, each group performs one piece then takes a break.
THIS youtube video (link) is pretty fuzzy but it's the very popular, widely owned (on VCD) 'standard' version that most Balinese households know. Interesting to use the term 'standard', since that's not really a desirable attitude to musical arrangement in Bali. Each region, village, and SEKAA (local club) used to have their own gamelan tunings and styles, and certainly their version of a classic tune would be full of unique elements (without losing the recognisable themes). It is observable how motorised transport, Conservatorium study, radio, TV, VCD, and now internet have influenced the DESA LAIN (different village) approach to variation (or lack of) in regional interpretations. Thankfully we're through the homoginsation period and groups are now once again taking pride in their own local sounds and styles.
Ok, here's the lesson. Definitely a good new addition for the **KIDS** repertoire, even if you want to skip the introduction sequence. Enjoy!
Nyepi is the Balinese day of silence. Everyone stays indoors, no one makes any noise, presumably Gamelan practise is cancelled for the day. So it's a bit funny for me to start this lesson video blog today. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyepi
update: wow, it takes longer to edit and upload videos than I thought so it's now tomorrow, (Thurdsday) not Nyepi (Wednesday) anymore!
It's not super easy for me to find time to make these videos at the moment, but I've managed to get two quick tunes done this morning: REJANG DEWA (for the adult group), and BARIS (for the kids). Perfection is said to be the enemy of good, in this case my good intention to get things done, so please forgive the informal and unedited nature of my first videos. I'm very happy to receive comments (use the blog comments section?) and re-do things over time. The silver-lining of this whole process is that I'll get better at making online content, which I think could be a really good tool for the future of the group.
This ancient solo dance (tunggal means solo) tells the story of a warrior using intensity and surprise to ward off their enemies rather than holding a weapon. Because there's only one PENARI (dancer) they can decide when to perform the ANGSEL (break/cadence/call-response) so the PENABUH (musicians) must be ready for it at any moment.
Don't let the speed of these Balinese examples freak you out but it's great to see the dance costumes and movements so you can tell the tunes apart and know what kind of energy we're trying to create.
ALL WELCOME LEVEL
Here's a great example of how dance and music is performed as an offering to the gods, without the concert-hall formality we've come to expect from ballet and orchestra (etc). People sit around watching from all sides, chatting and eating. A baby joins in at 3:00, a dog wanders through at 6:20. No problem, as long as the intention of the offering is good. (This version sounds a little different to ours, but it's still the 'same' tune)