Music in Bali

Music in Bali

music-in-baliBy Lisa Gold

Oxford University Press

‘Music in Bali’ forms part of the Oxford University Press’s Global Music Series, a new concept in presenting World Music, designed primarily for music students and their teachers.

The series includes a ‘core volume’ (OUP’s term) ‘Thinking Musically’ and a number of ‘case study’ handbooks, which examine selected musical traditions in more detail.

The subtitle of the series is ‘Experiencing Music. Expressing Culture’ and the author of ‘Music in Bali’ has taken this as her theme. The book presents a useful and eminently readable introduction to what might be termed the Balinese worldview.

Central to this are the temple ceremonies and spiritual beliefs which provided the original impetus for so much of Bali’s traditional artistic heritage. These are discussed together with a vivid personal recollection of an actual visit to a temple ceremony.

The book also includes an excellent introduction to the different gamelan ensembles found in Bali, and related art forms – dance, theatre and wayang, including a description of an actual wayang performance.

The instruments of the gong kebyar are described, with drawings and photographs together with a discussion of their function. Musical forms and structure are examined with the aid of a CD and a series of suggested listening ‘activities’.

The general adult reader might find the suggestions for musical activities a little unnecess