Unplayed Melodies: Javanese Gamelan and the Genesis of Music Theory (Google eBook)

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University of California Press, Sep 25, 2004 - Music - 273 pages
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The gamelan music of Central Java is one of the world's great orchestral traditions. Its rich sonic texture is not based on Western-style harmony or counterpoint, but revolves around a single melody. The nature of that melody, however, is puzzling. In this book, Marc Perlman uses this puzzle as a key to both the art of the gamelan and the nature of musical knowledge in general. Some Javanese musicians have suggested that the gamelan s central melody is inaudible, an implicit or "inner" melody. Yet even musicians who agree on its existence may disagree about its shape. Drawing on the insights of Java s most respected musicians, Perlman shows how irregularities in the relationships between the melodic parts have suggested the existence of "unplayed melodies." To clarify the differences between these implicit-melody concepts, "Unplayed Melodies" tells the stories behind their formulation, identifying each as the creative contribution of an individual musician in a postcolonial context (sometimes in response to Western ethnomusicological theories). But these stories also contain evidence of the general cognitive processes through which musicians find new ways to conceptualize their music. Perlman s inquiry into these processes illuminates not only the gamelan s polyphonic art, but also the very sources of creative thinking about music.
  

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Contents

Introduction
1
Cognitive Preliminaries The Nature of Musical Knowledge and the Processes of Creative Thinking
13
A Brief Introduction to Karawitan
37
Karawitan as a Multipart Music The Relations between the Melodic Parts
61
The Balungan as Melodic Guide
87
Theorizing Melodic Guidance The Social and Historical Context of Javanese Music Theory
117
Three Concepts of Unplayed Melody
127
ImplicitMelody Concepts in Perspective
159
Patterns of Conceptual Innovation in Music Theory A Comparative Approach
172
Conclusion
195
Notes
205
Glossary
221
References Cited
227
Index
245
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Marc Perlman is Associate Professor of Music at Brown University.

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