Gamelan instruments are The Original Culture of The Archipelago Since The Ancient Mataram Period

The image of the sense of art in the archipelago (the homeland of Indonesia in the era of the kingdoms in the past ruling) has existed since the past, maybe even since prehistoric times, although the proof is increasingly difficult. However, past historical traces have noted that the gamelan musical instrument existed in the past in Nusantara culture. The sense of creativity and human initiative in the form of musical sounds resulting from a combination of gamelan musical instruments accompanies the journey of life as a means of fulfilling sacred and artistic needs in the traditions and culture of the archipelago in the past.

The gamelan is a Javanese musical instrument that features demung, saron, peking, xylophone, drums, and gongs. The strains of the gamelan instrument are a single unit of tone and rhythm that blends in a common rhythm. The sound of music from the gamelan becomes the sender of dances, performances, or becomes the accompaniment of the sinden song. Sindhén is the name for a woman who sings to accompany a gamelan orchestra. Gamelan is also used to accompany wayang kulit performances which are usually held in Central Java, Yogyakarta and East Java. Also other areas in the archipelago where there are many Javanese traditional communities.
Java Gamelan
Javanese Gamelan at the Borobudur Temple Tourism Complex.
Gamelan actually has a long history throughout the history of Javanese culture and traditions. Various evidences show that Javanese music culture in the form of gamelan has many evidences that can be seen in various reliefs of temples and inscriptions. Like the reliefs in Borobudur Temple which show several shows that use musical instruments, including the form of the performances, the musical instruments used and even the background of the performances are in the depiction of the reliefs.

Examples of the development of musical culture and musical instruments in the archipelago on the island of Java are very old. Javanese people have known music and musical instruments for a long time. Culture with the use of musical instruments is supported by the classical period of Hinduism and Buddhism in Java. The culture of musical instruments in the past can be traced through the artifacts that we can find today.
Java Gamelan
A set of Javanese Gemelan musical instruments.

Archaeological evidence shows that the culture of music in classical times, especially in the era of the ancient Mataram civilization, can be seen from the reliefs written on the walls of Prambanan temples and statues of gods. The various artifacts provide evidence that musical instruments have been around for a long time.

One such evidence is the original statue of the Goddess of Arts made of bronze, small in size, and found in Surocolo Village, Pundong, Bantul, Yogyakarta Special Region. Now, the statues are kept at the Yogyakarta Special Region Cultural Heritage Preservation Office.

Another proof of the many evidences about the gamelan tradition in the archipelago is the discovery of original rontal manuscripts made of tal leaves. This manuscript was written around the 14th century AD. The text of the manuscript is written in 127 leaves and contains 33 stems. The symbol for writing is Middle Javanese letters. The manuscript contains the Panji story, which is a romance story between Raden Panji Asmarabangun from the Kuripan kingdom and Dewi Sekartaji from the Daha kingdom. The tek script tells of a romantic encounter accompanied by songs and music similar to a gamelan.

Some of the evidence is for example the Javanese gamelan musical instrument which is the original culture of the Javanese people of the past. Until now it has been proven that there is no gamelan that is exactly the same as the Javanese gamelan in other countries.
Java Gamelan
Gong musical instrument, one of the supporters of the Javanese Gamelan.

A complete gamelan instrument consists of several combinations of musical instruments, such as; drums, bonang, bonang successors, demung. saron, peking, saron, kenong and tap, slenthem and gender. This musical instrument features xylophone, metallophones, drums, and gongs.

The rhythm of the gamelan music is soft and distinctive. Likewise, the angklung musical instrument, gamelan must be played together in a musical composition. Togetherness in playing is a reflection of harmony, harmony, and cooperation to get a dynamic and interesting rhythm.

gamelan milik Kesultanan Yogyakarta
Seperangkat alat musik gamelan milik Kesultanan Yogyakarta.

The original gamelan instrument is a Javanese tradition in the ancient Mataram era which already has a high artistic image. Several temples from ancient Mataram have become authentic evidence of the origin of Javanese gamelan. Although Hinduism originated in India, there is no authentic evidence of gamelan in India. People in India have never known gamelan either from the past or until the present. Although various Hindu Gods are associated with gamelan musical instruments, this is only part of the local culture in Java.

Seperangkat alat musik gamelan milik Kesultanan Yogyakarta yang disimpan dalam keraton.

The development of the gamelan musical instrument culture grew rapidly during the Majapahit Kingdom when it reached its heyday at the time when Hayam Wuruk and Maha Patih Gajah Mada were in power. This period supported the development of gamelan culture which spread to various places throughout the Majapahit region. The development and tradition of gamelan were still maintained until the Mataram Sultanate was based in Yogyakarta until now.

Due to the popularity of gamelan, the Government plans to submit gamelan as a world cultural heritage to the United Nations and UNESCO. There is some evidence that the gamelan culture originated from Javanese culture.

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