Musik kontemporer




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2 - Prakempa - Bandem’s Edition



Chapter 1:

Introduction


  1. Research background.

The Prakempa is a lontar (palm leaf manuscript), thought to be rather ancient, concerning the mythology of Balinese gambelan ensembles. From an etymological perspective, the word “Prakempa” refers to the “unrest of the world,” “earthquake” or the prophecy of the disturbances of the earth (Panitia Penyusunan Kamus Bali Indonesia, 1978: 449). In the context of Balinese gambelan, Prakempa most likely refers to the core tatwa (philosophies or logics), susila (ethics), lango (aesthetics), and gagebug (techniques) associated with Balinese gambelan.

The learning and teaching Balinese gambelan has traditionally been oral, a process of study from mouth to mouth and from generation to generation without using a notation system, or any writing system. The emergence of the Prakempa gives us a clear clue that earlier populations wrote manuscripts concerning Balinese gambelan, as well as on the four principles mentioned above. The background of Balinese gambelan that is implied in the Prakempa will fittingly expand the appreciation of the reader interested in gambelan.

Prakempa was discovered by Bapak Almarhum I Gusti Putu Made Geria, a Balinese gambelan specialist who during his life worked as a professor of gambelan at the Akademi Seni Tari Indonesia (ASTI) in Denpasar, Bali. The discovery of the Prakempa represents efforts in the preservation of Balinese gambelan and the text represents an invaluable example of artistic literature.


  1. Synopsis of the Issues/Problems

We’ve already explained that the Prakempa contains four principle aspects that we must discuss. These aspects again are: philosophy or logics, the basic philosophies concerning Balinese gambelan and the well-balanced life-style; ethics, those ritual and hierarchical aspects within gambelan; aesthetics, the structure and laws of melody and technique, orchestration and the playing techniques of Balinese gambelan. Within this research, these four principle aspects are our main concern.


  1. Scope of the research.

The Prakempa is an example of a mystical manuscript of the highest quality, representing the essence of Balinese gambelan containing the four aspects mentioned above. The discussion within this research will be bound to these aspects. Even though there are other lontars which discuss Balinese gambelan, such as the lontars Aji Gurnita and the Gong Wesi, because of limited time and resources, we will deal only with the Prakempa. If the Aji Gurnita should be mentioned within this study, it will serve only as comparison without going further into its contents.

Besides the lontars Aji Gurnita and Gong Wesi, the authors are aware that there are other versions of the Prakempa besides the one presented here, preserved within holy relics and collections of Balinese scholar/priests. Accordingly, we should come together to form a critical edition, this work representing the first.


D. Objective of the Research

This study of the Prakempa has as its objective the elucidation of descriptive knowledge of the Prakempa itself. Going through the analysis section and continuing onto the manuscript itself, the authors hope to reach a single conclusion concerning the philosophy (or logics), ethics, aesthetics and playing techniques within Balinese gambelan. The fruits of this study, besides being a vehicle of knowledge of aspects of Balinese gambelan, will also provide a preparation study, a precedent or example for later works.


  1. Method of the Research

In Dr. A. L. Becker’s article Text-Building Epistemology, and Aesthetics in Javanese Shadow Theatre, he suggests that textual analysis requires that the text be situated within a cultural matrix in order to elucidate conceptual context. Such a matrix is made up of:

  1. The connections between words, phrases, sentences, and larger units within the text being analyzed.

  2. The connections between the analyzed text and other texts. We add that this should also include the connections between the historical text being analyzed and contemporary texts.

  3. The connections between the author and the text, listener, reader, observed from the perspective of both the author and receiver.

  4. The connections between the text and elements of the text and events and structures outside of the text.

(Becker, 1979: 8) #1-4)

Professor. Becker’s method in analyzing the text of Javanese wayang kulit is useful as well in analyzing the Prakempa. Because of this, this study will employ Becker’s model in studying sections of the Prakempa, even though this theory is not yet as full or perfect as the authors would wish.

Before we enter into a more detailed discourse, we should mention that the Prakempa is translated from Kawi to Indonesian and this translation is formed into verses which are numbered 1 to 84. This ordering will help our analysis of the text.


Chapter 2

Form and Contents [of the Prakempa]


  1. The Prakempa as Literature

The Prakempa as a work of poetic mysticism cannot be separated from other mystical books. As seen from the point of view of form, the Prakempa represents the prose used in Bahasa Jawa Kuna (Ancient Javanese, or Kawi) and is written in the Balinese script (aksara). Before we explain the Prakempa as a mystical book of high literary quality, it is perhaps important to explain other mystical books in order to provide a picture of the position of the Prakempa in reference to other such works.

Balinese ancient mystical works which developed in the pre-Hindu era represent the mystical books of the traditional people of Bali whose knowledge was passed down from generation to generation. The editing and recitation of mystical books of these people, despite undergoing the change of time, continue to flourish among the Balinese. As for the classes of mystical books, these include: I Buta teken I Bongol, (The Blind and the Deaf) Pan Sugih teken Pan Tiwas, (The Rich Man and the Poor Man) and Men Bekung, Men Muntig, among others.

The strong connection between Bali and Java has its beginnings in the 8th century. As a result the mystical books of Bali were heavily influenced by those of Java. ^ Pracasti Bebetin in the year 896 AD represents a great and important work of mystical literature which mentions several types of art such as gambelan, dance and singing. The Pracasti Bebetin was penned under the name of the raja Ugrasena of Bali (Goris, 1952: 55).

At the end of the 10th century a king named Dharma Udayana emerged who had taken an East Javanese wife who was descended from the king Mpu Sendok, also known as Mahendradatta. From this union was born a prince named Airlangga who was eventually enthroned as the king of East Java, succeeding Sri Dharmawangsa who held reign from 991-1007 A.D. According to the explanation of Professor P.J. Zoetmulder in her book Kalangwan, during the reign of Sri Dharmawangsa the court poets translated/recomposed the Mahabharata epic (wiraceritera) from Sanskrit into Ancient Javanese (Jawa Kuna). This transformed poetic work was well known at the time under the name Astadasaparwa (Zoetmulder, 1983:111).

The raja Airlangga was a great patron of the arts and during his kingdom emerged the Mahabharata epic entitled ^ Kakawin Arjuna Wiwaha; this poetic work was composed by Mpu Kanwa (Simpen, 1982: 30). When Airlangga assumed the throne, besides the Kekawin Arjuna Wiwaha, the kakawin Bhoma-kawya was also composed by Mpu Bharadah.

After the kingdom of Mataram in east Java was divided into two, that is the kingdoms and Jenggala and Kediri, another recomposition of the Mahabharata entitled ^ Kakawin Kresnaya was created. This kakawin was composed by Mpu Triguna and within it is mentioned the King Sri Jayawarsa Digjaya Castraprabhu who reigned the kingdom of Kediri in 1104. Subsequently, King Mapanji Jayabhaya ruled Kediri at the end of the 12-century and at this time the Kakawin Bharatayudha was composed by Mpu Sedah and Mpu Panuluh. Subsequently, from the 10th to 12th centuries, the Mahabharata stories were continuously being transformed and developed in Bali, forging a connection between Java and Bali at that time.

The migration of Javanese Majapahit to Bali before the 16th century increased again the connection between Java and Bali in the realm of the arts, especially the poetic and the performing arts. The arts of Bali were heavily influenced by those of Java and Javanese elements are evident from the system of gambelan tuning (laras), the composition of melodies, the use of costumes in dance, the form of dance, and the function of arts in Bali as a sacred art. Between the 16th and 19th centuries, that is during the reign in Bali of Kings such as Dalem Waturenggong (1460-1550), Dalem Bekung (1550-1580), Dalem Sagening (1580-1665), Dalem Dimade (1665-1686) and so on. This was a golden age of the Balinese arts in which many types of dance were developed, including: Gambuh, Topeng, Wayang Wong, Parwa (Wayang), Arja, Legong Keraton, and other classic forms.

A priest named Dang Hyang Nirarta, a scribe from Majapahit During, arrived during the reign of Dalem Waturenggong (1460-1550) in Gelgel. Nirarta introduced an elaborate architectural style of temple and palace which Bali has inherited into the present day. Besides architectural expertise, Nirarta was also a gifted writer and he left behind a tradition in the form of lontar such as the Wukir Padelengan, Rareng Canggu, Anting-Anting Timah, Ampik, Jagul Tua, Usana Bali, Usana Jawa, Sebun Bangkung and others (Ditjen Pariwisata, 1973: 108).

During this time Balinese poetic works contained information about philosophy, astronomy, ethics and other topics, developing in a form of literature known as Ithihasa. Ithihasa is literature composed in different types of tembang (sung poetry). It has already been explained that since the era of King Dharmawangsa until the era of Majapahit in East Java there had already developed a form of kakawin (based on the Mahabharata and Ramayana) as well as kidung Malat, while during the reign of the Balinese kings kakawin and kidung production was increased by the court poets/scribes, beginning a transformation where kakawin and kidung became sekar macapat, a transformation where the mystical writings in Kawi became Balinese mystical writings in the form of tembang. Kakawin and kidung were composed as gaguritan or paparikan. At this time the Paprikan Adipawra, Bharatayudha, Narasoma, Bomataka were based on the Mahabharata.

Nearly all of the lontar mentioned above are still preserved in Bali, deposited in the sacred artifacts of the people, also in the largest collection of ancient lontar in Bali, the Gedong Kirtya in Singaraja.

According to the catalogue published by the Gedong Kirtya which was classified by Nyoman Kajeng, lontar are divided thusly:

.

  1. Weda (Weda, Mantra and Klapasastra) (Vedic – Holy Indian Scriptures)

  2. Agama (Palakerta, Sasana, and Niti)

  3. Wariga (Wariga, Tutur, Kanda, and Usada)

  4. Ithihasa (Pawra, Kakawin, Kidung, and Gaguritan)

  5. Babad (Pamancanggah, Usana, and Uwug)

  6. Tantri (Tantri and Satua)

  7. Lelampahan (forming the tales of Gambuh, Arja, Wayang, and other theatre forms).


The last group was added by I Made Suwija, a curator who currently works at the Gedong Kirtya (Agastia, 1985: 4). As indicated in the classification above, Prakempa are placed within the category Wariga and by Dr. Th. Pigeaud in Literature of Java the Prakempa is listed with the number code: [it is unclear if this refers to some specific lontar or a class of lontar]

K M35 Lor

869 57 -- (Pigeaud, 1968:936)


As a work of mystical literature of the highest quality, the Prakempa is placed in the category Wariga because of the title’s reference to earthquakes, the churning, flaring up of the world, and this disturbance has a corresponding sound and pitch that is produced by Balinese gambelan.

Besides this the Prakempa also contains tutur (expressions, proverbs) and in an explicit way it is said the Prakempa reveals tutur (advice) from Bhagawan Gottama to the young. These phrases are included in the epilogue of the Prakempa.

Indeed who is this Bhagawan Gottama? This represents a question that has yet to be answered until today. This name can simply represent a nom de plume or actually the author of the Prakempa. Within the Ramayana it is mentioned that Bhagawan Gottama is a scribe from the Grastina hermitage. Gottama had a fairy wife from heaven named Dewi Indradi. From this marriage was born a princess and two princes named Dewi Anjani, Bali, and Sugriwa. The third figure becomes the famous figure in the Ramayana and is well known by the Balinese people. (Depdikbud, 1981:183).

In the Kitab Jataka it is mentioned that Gottama, whose full name is Sidharta Gautama, is the king Kapilawastu who becomes the Buddha and teaches the people that the freedom of the soul is achieved by following the good and middle path (the good and saintly road) and loving your fellow man (Depdikbud, 1981: 125).

It would be foolish to suppose that the author of the Prakempa is the priest Gottama from the Ramayana or in fact Sidharta Gautama. The researchers do not believe that it is possible that the Prakempa is a mystical work of the Ramayana nor that it represents Buddhist teachings. But, if this is so, then the question emerges: Is it possible that the author of the Prakempa is a Buddhist brahmana (Shiwaite Buddhist)? All of these facts are not yet clear, the researchers suppose that this name only represents the pen-name of a gambelan teacher that was highly important or gifted.

As explained above, the Prakempa is a mystical work of prose that is nearly 84 verses, in Ancient Javanese (Kawi) and written in the Balinese script. To give a more interesting visualization of the Prakempa, the text here is accompanied by mystical symbols. The Kawi which is used in the Prakempa is apparently equivalent with the Kawi which is used in the babad (chronicle) lontars and the oldest extant babad, the babad Dalem, which is thought to have emerged in the middle of the 18th century. Even so, the Prakempa is more recent than the babad mentioned above.

In the effort to digest the contents of the Prakempa it may be necessary to discuss another lontar concerning Balinese gambelan, that is the lontar Aji Gurnita. At this time the authors have already obtained three copies of the Aji Gurnita, two from Gedong Kirtya at Singaraja and one from the palace Kabakaba in Tabanan. This lontar discusses in detail the gambelan Melaprana (Gambuh) as a source or ancestor of many other types of Balinese gambelan.

The Prakempa and the Aji Gurnita show similarities in form and both include a chapter entitled “Catur Muni Muni” or the Four Musical Treatises. These four musics include gambelan Gambuh, Pelegongan, Pajogedan and Bebarongan. The chapter “Catur Muni-Muni” found in the Aji Gurnita includes an explanation that is rather longer than that found in the Prakempa, the reason for this being that the last section is used to explain the philosophies of the gambelan Melaprana (Gambuh) which is divided to form the four musics mentioned above. The epilogue that is found in the “Catur Muni Muni” chapter of the Aji Gurnita cannot be found in the Prakempa.

There are some basic similarities between the two lontars mentioned. An interpretation of these similarities could be formed if we knew the respective age of each lontar.

If it is seen from the contents of the lontars, the Prakempa provides a more complete picture concerning Balinese gambelan (including playing techniques and the rules of melody), while the Aji Gurnita does not discuss these issues. Seeing the depth at which the aspects are discussed in the Prakempa, it is possible that this lontar would be useful for the developing the knowledge of Balinese gambelan for the following generations.


  1. The Four Core Principles

As a hypothesis that the authors propose, the Prakempa includes four core principles, that is: philosophy or logics, ethics, aesthetics, and playing techniques in Balinese gambelan. To be clear, the authors discuss each as follows.


  1. Philosophy or Logics

The language concerning philosophy or logics in the Prakempa begins with an apology from the author for his boldness to write the Prakempa. This apology is aimed toward the Tuhan Yang Maha Esa (God Almighty), expressed through the symbol “Om” representing an abbreviation of the word “AUM” a manifestation of the three deities, Brahma, Visnu (Wisnu), and Shiva (Ciwa). The three deities also known as the Tri Murti are manifestations of Tuhan Yang Maha Esa in the form of the creator (Brahma), the protector (Wisnu) and the destroyer (Ciwa) (verses : 1-4).

The explanation of the philosophy or logics in Balinese gambelan begins with the creation of the sound, voice, pitch and rhythm by the three deities where the pitches are represented with characters from the ^ Aksara Bali script such as bisah (2), taleng (3), and cecek (6). The gambelan as a musical instrument or as music cannot be separated from the Balinese concept of the well-balanced life, including the concept of the well-balanced relationship to God, nature, and fellow man. The three concepts of the well-balanced life mentioned above are known as the Tri Hita Karana.

For the Balinese, wherever he is or whatever he is doing, the concept of the well-balanced life functions as his basic mode of conduct. According to the philosophies or logics expounded in the Prakempa, the concept of the well-balanced life is expressed in several dimensions, these are:

  1. The well balanced life in the individual’s case (or in the first, single dimension). That is the well balanced life based upon the philosophy of mokshartham jagadditaya ca iti dharma.

  2. The well-balanced life in two dimensions, such as: the belief of dual strengths such as good and evil, noon and midnight (afternoon, night), man and woman, north and south, heaven and hell, etc.

  3. The well-balanced life in three dimensions, such as: the belief in the existence of the principles of threes in life such as the tri murti: Brahma, Wisnu, and Ciwa; tri loka: bhur loka (the world below), bhuvah loka (the middle world) svah loka (the world above); tri aksarq: ang, ong and mang; tri sakti; saraswati, laksmi and uma; tri guna: satvam (the good character), rajas (the greedy character), and tamas (the lazy character) etc..

  4. The well-balanced life in four dimensions, such as: belief in the strengths of four-ness in life such as: catur lokapala: Indra, Yama, Kwera and Baruna; catur asrama dharma: brahmacari, grahasta, wanaprasta and bhiksuka; catur purusa artha: dharma, artha, kama and moksha etc..

  5. The well-balanced life in five dimensions, such as: the belief in the strengths of five-ness such as: panca mahabhuta: earth, (apah), winds, evening-glow and (akasa): panca cradha: God, soul, karmapala, reincarnation and moksha; panca yadnya: dewi yadnya, pitra yadna, manusia yadnya, rsi yadnya, and buta yadnya etc.

  6. The well-balanced life in six dimensions, such as: sad ripu, the six poor behaviors: kama (lust), kroda (anger), moda (sinful, criminal), loba (greedy), himsa (torture) and matsarya (jealousy); sad rasa (six flavors): spicy, acidic/sour, sweet, salty, bitter etc.

  7. The well-balanced life in seven dimensions, such as: redite (Sunday), soma (Monday), anggara (Tuesday), buda (Wednesday), wraspati (Thursday), sukra (Friday) and saniscara (Saturday); sapta loka (world): bhur, bvah, svah, traya, jana, maha, satya, and loka.

  8. The well-balanced life in eight dimensions, such as: astaiswarya: anima (refined), loghima (great lightness, ease), prakamya (all that is wished comes true), mahima (to be all, enclose all), prapti (all places are reachable), icitwa (the principle in all things), wacitwa (the most mighty), and yatrakamawasayitwa (there is nothing that can defy God’s will).

  9. The well-balanced life in nine dimensions, such as: dewata nawa sanga: Icwara, Brahma, Mahadewa, Wisnu, Mahesora, Rudra, Sangkara, Cambhu and Ciwa.

  10. The well-balanced life in ten dimensions, such as: dasa aksara (the alphabet/vowels): sa, ba, ta, a, i, na, ma, ci, wa, ya.


All of these dimensions (conceptions) of the well-balanced life above form the basic philosophy of the Prakempa and these conceptions will emerge one by one in the Prakempa. These dimensions above are all interconnected and suggest that there are two vital forces, good and evil.

According to the philosophy of the Prakempa, sound has a strong connection with the five dimensions, known as the ^ Panca Mahabhuta. Sound with color each spread to all the protectors of the earth and finally form a ring known as the Pengider Bhvana.

The creator of the sound is called Bhagawan Wiswakarma, taking the concept from the 8 rulers of the world who come from (beneath) the ground/earth. These sounds are in the form of 10 pitches. That is, the five pitches of laras pélog and the five pitches of the laras slendro. These notes have a connection with the Panca Tirta and Panca Geni, the two sources of the well-balanced life. Specifically, pélog is connected to the Panca Tirta and slendro to the Panca Geni. Panca Tirta represents a manifestation of Bhatari Ratih. From the ten notes which forms the soul from Smara and Ratih as Dewa Percintaan (God of Love) giving forth the seven notes as follows: ding, dong, deng, ndung, dung, dang, nding. The seven notes above represent the source of sound in the Balinese gambelan and according to the Prakempa this sound scale is called genta pinara pitu.

Besides the creation of the 5 tone pélog and slendro scales and the 7 tone pélog (Genta pinara pitu), the Prakempa also mentions 3 pitches that are connected to the Tri Aksara (Ang, Omg, Mang) and four tone slendro that is connected to the Catur Lokapala (Indra, Yama, Kwera and Baruna) which follow the abodes of the gods, and are connected to physical human life. To clarify this the researchers provide the figure, an outline of Pengider Bhvana as a schematic of the Prakempa:


2. Ethics or morals

As a work of literature, the Prakempa represents a source of ethics and serves as a subject of ethical study for the Balinese. Ethics are traditions, morals or mores of social life. The discussion of the balanced life in respect to the various dimensions discussed above provides us an indication that the Prakempa is concerned with the issue of ethics, especially concerning the relationship of people with good and evil

Besides this the Prakempa as a lontar concerning Balinese gambelan mentions several types of Balinese gambelan, following with the explanation of their roles and aspects and the rituals which are connected to every ensemble. The differing roles and forms of these gambelan gives an indication that there are specific ethics/ethical teachings contained within each Balinese gambelan.

According to the “Four Musical Treatises” which are expressed in the Prakempa, Balinese gambelan are grouped in several classes and each ensemble has a specific and unique instrumentation, orchestration, playing technique, and function. There are classifications of Balinese gambelan which are discussed in the Prakempa, these being: gambelan Smar pagulingan (Barong Singa), Smar Patangian, Smar Palinggihan (Joged Pingitan), Smar Pandirian (Barong Ket), Melad Prana (Gambuh), Angklung, Bebongan, Gambang, Genggong, Slunding and a sacred ensemble which is made of metal which has not yet been identified (verse: 41,51,55,65,67 and 80). Nearly all of these ensembles still exist in Bali today.

According to the Prakempa each of the ensembles mentioned above have functions which differ according to place, time, and context. Slunding is used for accompanying (devotional) prayer by the priests while meditating in the forest. Gambelan Melaprana (Gambuh) is used to accompany the Gambuh ritual dance, meant to give a feeling of transcendence to kings in their palaces. Gambelan Smar pagulingan is used to accompany the welcoming, offering dances in the palace. Bebonangan is also known as gambelan Ktug Bumi, used for accompanying the Bhuta Yadnya ceremony (cleansing, purifying ceremony). Other ensembles are used to accompany weddings, cremations, worship, the suka duka ceremony, and palace ceremonies and celebrations (verses: 38,59,67, and 82).

Noting the difference between the functions of the various ensembles above gives an indication to us that these gambelan have a certain historical stratification and to cross this stratification or to abuse it could form a violation of ethics (or etiquette) and that this would be counter to the well-balanced life.

The issue of ethics in gambelan, apart from the perspective of function, can also be viewed from the perspective of ritual. In the Prakempa, each gambelan ensemble is played on the ceremony day of Tumpek Krulut, or the Sabtu Keliwon; Wuku Kerulut is a day which recurs every 210 days.

Tumpek is regarded as a holy day by the Balinese. The Balinese greatly value time and give special attention to times of transition, such as ngedaslemah (dawn), jeg-ai (midday), sandyakala (dusk), tengah lemeng (midnight) and other types of moments. The day of Hari Tumpek is a day full of transitions, that is, the transition or coincidence between different calendar systems. Those born on Tumpek Wayang must be cleansed through a special ceremony. With this ceremony these people must be safeguarded from the influences of this holy but dangerous day. When there is a ceremony for a gambelan in the day of Tumpek Kerulut, the Prakempa gives indications concerning the sacrifices and mantera which must be employed. (verses :52, 54, 60 and 74).

Concerning other moral aspects which are discussed in the Prakempa are those called “kutukan” (curses). The gambelan teacher is obliged to memorize the basic philosophy from the Prakempa, following the moral prescriptions which are implied or hidden within. Those who don’t follow these prescriptions will fall subject to a curse; their soul will not find heaven but will become the slime in the pits of hell. They cannot justify their being reincarnated again into a human; they instead become a creeping animal, such as an ant, which is always held in contempt by humans.

To give a more broad and detailed picture concerning the ethics in the Prakempa, it would be appropriate for the researchers to sketch the types of forms and functions of Balinese gambelan in the following chart. The form of gambelan such as Nekara, Beri, Tingklik, Jegog, Bumbung and Kebyar are not mentioned in an explicit way in the Prakempa and the names of these ensembles represent an addition by the current authors in order to show the development until the modern day.

3. Aesthetics

The discussion concerning aesthetics in the Prakempa focuses primarily on musical scales and forms. According to the Prakempa, Balinese gambelan includes four types of music scale/laras: 5 note pélog, seven tone pélog, 5 tone slendro, and four tone slendro. Each of these scales are derived from the gambelan genta pinara pitu.

Besides discussing the tuning scales found in Balinese gambelan, the Prakempa includes a section on scales used for the voice which are used for mantra, sruti, agosa, anugosa, undantya, anudantya, andana sika, and bhuh loka. These eight vocal types (scales) are used in tembang (sung poetry) such as tembang Gede: Weda, Sruti, Mantra, Wirama and tembang Tengahan: Kidung or Malat. Laras. Whereas scales that are found in tembang Macapat: Dhurma, Sinom, Adri, Ginada and others are not discussed.

Further, this document mentions three types of patet (mode) in pélog ensembles: patet demung, selisir, and sundari. While slendro ensembles also have patet classes: patet pudak sategal, sekar kemoning and Asep Cina. In the Panji story titled Wangbang Wideya, patet Asep Cina is referred to as Asep Menyan as a patet from gender wayang Bali (Robson, 1971:35).

Today there are several patet found in the gambelan smar pagulingan (genta pinara pitu) having the following form:

(see figure in source text)

Before continuing to the discussion of tabuh (form) as a principle in the discussion of gambelan aesthetics, the Prakempa briefly explains the types of melodies (works) that are found in gambelan gong (gong gede). Actually, these melodies are meant to include the melodies: Smarandana, Wiranata, and Galangkangin. Excluding Wiranata, the other two melodies are still popular among gong gede musicians. Besides speaking about these melodies, the Prakempa also discusses the symbolic meaning of the gambelan instruments, gong (as an abode of the Gods), kempul (as a concentration of all that is pure) and kajar (as the tempo or the leader of the musicians) (verse: 32).

Taken literally, the word “tabuh” means word/accent (logat), or an arrangement of behavior and realization (characteristic). Tabuh also suggests melody, composition, (sung) song or strophe (pupuh) (verse:35). Today, tabuh is generally interpreted by the Balinese as orchestration and structure or the composition or form of a melody. In the Prakempa the discussion concerning composition (structure) of melody is referred to as angsel or pepada. Further, the angsel or pepada which are found within gambelan gong gede include: Angsel Pisan, Angsel Telu, Angsel Pat, Angsel Nem, and Angsel Kutus.

Today in Bali the term angsel as form (or composition) is rarely used or known, and angsel is most often used as a term in a composition. Because of this, we will use the term tabuh when referring to melodic composition.

The meaning of tabuh as melodic composition was discussed by Nyoman Rembang is his book titled “^ Hasil Pendokumentasian Notasi Gending-gending Lelambatan Klasik Pegongan Daerah Bali” in which he not only writes about the laws and rules of melody (composition) but also provides around 45 transcriptions of Balinese gong gede works. To clarify the meaning of aesthetics in the Prakempa, especially concerning the issue of melodic structure, the authors have provided a graph from Rembang’s work.

(see graph in source text)


4. Technique

The final aspect which becomes a focus of the Prakempa is the playing technique of Balinese gambelan. Technique represents an important principle in Balinese gambelan. Technique not only refers to the proper striking and damping of gambelan keys; there is also a connotation which is deeper. Technique (gagebug), has a strong connection with orchestration and according to the Prakempa nearly every instrument has a unique playing technique which depends on the physical characteristics of the specific instrument. The physical characteristics of the gambelan instruments give aesthetic pleasure to each gambelan lover and devotee.

In the Prakempa is found a long passage which demonstrates the types of techniques employed in the gambelan gong (gede), gender wayang (verse: 40), angklung, and genggong. Besides technique as meaning the proper striking, this section also discusses several types of tatotekan (“interlocking figuration”) as a unique feature of Balinese gambelan. There are ten types of tatotekan which are discussed in the Prakempa and this section is very interesting and important to the authors as it represents an effort to standardize the playing techniques of Balinese gambelan.

The late I Gusti Putu Made Geria has already discussed in length the playing techniques of Smar Pegulingan and Pelegongan in works which are now archived at ASTI Denpasar. The late Bapak I Gusti Putu Made Geria for all his life resembled the Gottama, a hard working and determined scholar who left several hundred gambuh, gong gede, legong kraton and angklung works to us which are now archived, preserved in several personal sacred collections of students and young people in their own notes. These writings do not only represent melodic examples but also playing techniques, tatotekan systems, all of which will be very useful to the next generation.





Pengider Bhuwana, p. 10, Prakempa.

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