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Unplayed Melodies: Javanese Gamelan and the Genesis of Music Theory / Edition 1

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Overview

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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520239562
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 10/25/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 273
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Marc Perlman is Associate Professor of Music at Brown University.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Conventions of Transcription and Orthography


Introduction
1. Cognitive Preliminaries: The Nature of Musical Knowledge and the Processes of Creative Thinking
2. A Brief
Introduction to Karawitan
3. Karawitan as a Multipart Music: The Relations between the Melodic Parts
4. The Balungan as Melodic Guide
5. Theorizing Melodic Guidance: The Social and Historical Context of Javanese Music Theory
6. Three Concepts of Unplayed Melody
7. Implicit-Melody Concepts in Perspective
8. Patterns of Conceptual
Innovation in Music Theory: A Comparative Approach
Conclusion

Notes
Glossary
References Cited

Index

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