Kembang Pacar

Kembang Pecar is a loud-style Gamelan piece from Central Java. The piece begins with a wide melodic line that continues to contract with time. The slow beginning sounds like wind chimes sporadically ringing eerily but beautifully. Really, these chimes are a variety of different instruments from gongs to bonang, rows of bronze kettles. Each instrument in the ensemble has a certain role to play. The lower-pitched instruments play at a slower pace than the higher-pitched instruments that carry the melody lines. As the song builds momentum, the frequency of pitch articulation increases. The drum is not especially prominent in Kembang Pacar, but it clearly is the rhythmic force behind the piece. Because this piece is performed by a loud-style ensemble, it features the saron as opposed to the soft slenten as the main player of melody lines. One can clearly hear the common elements of Gamelan music in this excerpt, from the polyphonic layering of melody lines to the cyclical musical structure. Towards the end, the piece begins to slow down, mimicking its starting pace. This highlights the re-expansion of the melody after a period of contraction. Overall, a cycle continues throughout the piece, adding layers and then subtracting them as the melody expands and the song ends.


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