Monday, May 30, 2011

Gamelan in Balinese Life

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Gamelan in Balinese life has many essential functions; the gamelan’s primary function is to assist in the myriad of ceremonies required during each 210-day cycle of the Balinese Pawukon cycle, as well as those involved with the lunar calendar. These activities range from private family observances such as weddings or the dedication to new buildings to massive, village-wide temple ceremonies. The musicians must be able to play at any hour or night or both, as demanded by the ceremony in progress. They may accompany a priest in his devotion, or they may accompany entertainments, such as temple dances. Tourism creates the secondary function of any gamelan that is entertaining Bali’s visitors. There is no such thing as professional musician in Bali. The gamelan players are rice farmers or village artisans or work at some sort of job – they are musician during their time off.

Culture of Indonesia

Indonesian culture has been shaped by long interaction between original indigenous customs and multiple foreign influences. Indonesia is central along ancient trading routes between the Far East and the Middle East, resulting in many cultural practices being strongly influenced by a multitude of religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Islam, all strong in the major trading cities. The result is a complex cultural mixture very different from the original indigenous cultures.

Examples of cultural fusion include the fusion of Islam with Hindu in Javanese Abangan belief, the fusion of Hinduism, Buddhism and animism in Bodha, and the fusion of Hinduism and animism in Kaharingan; others could be cited.

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