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Come and Play: The Gamelan, NCEM, Saturday 20 April 2013

Come and Play: The Gamelan
Saturday 20 April 2013
National Centre for Early Music

On Saturday 20th April 2013, a traditional Indonesian Gamelan (a set of tuned, bronze percussion instruments) visited the National Centre for Early Music. Gamelan Sekar Petak (the White Flower Gamelan) was commissioned by the University of York in 1981 and was one of the first gamelan sets in the UK. The instruments were made by hand from bronze and teak wood in Surakarta, Central Java. These instruments were made available to the public on 20th April for two workshop sessions, run by local community musicians Emily Crossland and Jade Flahive Gilbert and supported by volunteers from the University of York's MA in Community Music programme.

Two groups of participants came to the National Centre for Early Music to find out more about Javanese gamelan music and its surrounding culture, through an exciting, hands-on exploration of genuine instruments. Adults and children worked together for an hour-and-a-half session, in which they had the chance to play traditional pieces, hear about the background of the instruments and music, and create their own cyclic compositions.

Those who took part in the day had the following to say about their experience:
  • "It was really good. I learnt a lot and the teacher and helpers were great."
  • "The workshop would only have been better if more people could have been here to experience this amazing day."
  • "It was great to have the background info as well as hands-on experience."
  • "I especially enjoyed playing the huge gong because it was nice to be close to it and hear the beautiful ringing."
  • "I really enjoyed playing the piece together and learning different parts."
  • "The session had a very nice atmosphere and good instructions."
  • "It was very exciting. I wish I could buy my own gamelan so my Mum could wake me up with it for school!"

Our volunteers from the Community Music MA at the University of York also told us:

  • "I especially liked the depth of information given in the session."
  • "I liked that there was a range of ages working together."
  • "I was impressed by how engaged and enthusiatic the group was, meaning that participants very quickly made great music together."

Workshop One - 8 beat piece

Workshop One - Gangsaran

Workshop Two - 8 beat piece

Workshop Two - Gangsaran