Friday, February 02, 2018

Gamelan with Benjamin

My mom is in Oregon at a conference this week (for the Music Library Association, I think) and Andrew's mom is in Arizona at a funeral (for a family friend), so with my two most dependable babysitters absent I ended up taking multiple children to gamelan this week.

Yesterday I took Rachel and Alexander, specifically so that Rachel could help watch Alexander during class. She also got to play a bit on the jublag for a bit during our break, though I didn't take her picture or anything (so she'll have to come another time).

Tonight I took Benjamin and Alexander, specifically to remove Benjamin from the equation at home. The kids had given Andrew a pretty rough time on Thursday evening, so I thought an outing would do Benjamin some good, and it did. The only fit Andrew had to deal with was the one Zoë threw when we told her (yet again) that she wouldn't be coming with us.

I put Alexander in the front carrier during class, where he had a lovely little snooze out of Benjamin's reach. Benjamin read books and drew on a whiteboard and ate a few snacks. During the break Dr. Grimshaw invited him to test out the gongs and Benjamin, though a little shy about it at first, really quite enjoyed striking the gongs (what five-year-old wouldn't?).

The big gong is a gong gede; the smaller gong is a kempur.

After playing the gongs he wanted to try out the jublag, which I had been playing for most of the class (he had a lot of fun with that, too):

After the break, I grabbed an open gangsa kantilan and got completely lost. So that was neat. I think I'll do my best to stick with the jublag (7 keys) from now on (the gangsa have 10 keys which feels like far too many, though technically 10 is not much more than 7 so I don't know why my brain feels completely broken when I try to play it).

He pointed out that gamelan music sounds different from "our" music, so I (rather primitively) explained that the notes that make up "our" scale sounds familiar and comfortable to our ears but sounds a little different to other ears, and in Bali different notes make up "their" scale, which sounds familiar and comfortable to their ears, but sounds a little different to our ears. But they're both beautiful ways to make music.

He was actually really well behaved during the class (which would be nice if it wasn't a surprise, was) so he might also get to tag along again sometime!

1 comment:

  1. Actually, the gangsas have 12 keys, so that is quite a few. And they are numbered 235612345671 so that can be confusing. Sounds like you had some good gamelan days without me!