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About the Book

Music in Central Java offers a vivid introduction to the region's musical and cultural landscape, showing how three themes—flexibility, appropriateness, and interconnectedness—characterize Javanese musical practices and traditions. Drawing on his extensive fieldwork, author Benjamin Brinner takes an in-depth look at gamelan music—a traditional musical ensemble tradition that typically features metallophones, xylophones, drums, and gongs—providing readers with a sense of what it means to be a musician performing gamelan. Building from fundamental Javanese concepts of time and melody, the book covers gamelan's instruments, musical idioms, and central interactions and also surveys contrasting performance contexts. It examines both the theatrical and musical aspects of the vibrant tradition of shadow-puppet plays (Wayang kulit ) and offers a broad survey of other music found in Central Java. In addition, Music in Central Java provides an engaging portrait of a leading Javenese musician, traces musical responses to radical social, political, and cultural changes over the past century, and considers Javanese music in relation to Indonesia and the rest of the world.

Enhanced by eyewitness accounts of performances, interviews with key performers, vivid illustrations, and hands-on listening activities, this book is a captivating introduction to the music of Central Java. It is packaged with a 78-minute audio CD containing examples of the music discussed in the book.

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