Balinese Gamelan

In Indonesia, gamelan music has always been the sound of everything civilised.

The term gamelan derives from gamel, an old Javanese word for handle or hammer, as most of the instruments in the orchestra are percussive. The interlocking rhythmic and melodic patterns found in gamelan music are said to originate in the rhythms of the lesung – the stone or wooden mortars used for husking rice.

Others ascribe the patterns to the chanting of frogs in the rice fields after dusk or the cacophony of roosters crowing at dawn.

No one knows exactly when the first gamelan orchestra came into being.

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