In July 2013, Wellington-based gamelan group Gamelan Padhang Moncar embarked on a performance/study tour of Java, Indonesia. The group's tour repertoire comprised conventional music from the central Javanese gamelan tradition as well as new compositions by five members of the group, all emergent composers in their twenties. These new gamelan compositions were also performed to audiences 'at home' in Wellington, and were subsequently recorded and released on Rattle Records' Naga in 2014. Discussing these works provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on current cross-cultural compositional practice in New Zealand, and the creative processes of the composer-members of the group. Because Padhang Moncar performed upon numerous sets of gamelan instruments whilst on tour, each with its own distinct embat (tuning schema), this study also provides an opportunity to elucidate the composers' perspectives on the fluid nature of the performances of their works, since melodies and harmonies are subtly transformed by the distinct intervallic structures of each set of gamelan instruments - an exciting aspect of composing for gamelan.
|New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies
|Published - 2015