Gender Wayang, Presenting Atmosphere of Peace and Greatness of Ritual

Gender Wayang, Presenting Atmosphere of Peace and Greatness of Ritual

Along the human lifetime, it will surely do activities related to basic needs of both food and housing. After that, it is followed by development of mindset resulting in the creation of various kinds of culture usually influenced by situation in the community. Manifestation of the culture varies because there is a form of activity

Along the human lifetime, it will surely do activities related to basic needs of both food and housing. After that, it is followed by development of mindset resulting in the creation of various kinds of culture usually influenced by situation in the community.

Manifestation of the culture varies because there is a form of activity or dance movement telling about something. Moreover, sometimes they are in the form of tools that can generate a sound such as gender gamelan instrument. This gamelan instrument has a characteristic in terms of sound where it is often used to accompany the performance of shadow puppet in Bali.

According to I Made Murawan, a puppeteer from Puaya hamlet, Batuan, Sukawati, Gianyar, when staging puppet shadow featuring the storyline of Mahabharata, the gamelan instrument in use is a set of gender or four instruments only while if accompanying the performance of Ramayana epic, it will certainly use bebatelan gamelan instrument.

 In addition to four pieces of gender instruments, it will use other instruments such as a pair of drum, kempur and so on. The gamelan composition played when the performance of puppet shadow begins with tabuh petegak like the Sekar Sungsang and selendro scales.

After that, the gamelan composition played is Tabuh Pamungkah used when commencing to play the klayon to finish of the klayon. Then, it is resumed with paguneman where the puppet is stabbed accompanied by gamelan composition entitled Tulang Lindung. After stabbing the puppets, it is continued with gamelan entitled Panyacah Parwa in the form of alas arum. When the puppet is told to walk or move, it will use angkat-angkatan gamelan music. Moreover, when the puppet is crying it uses special mesem gamelan composition for slant-eyed puppets. For the puppet with glowering eyes, it will use rebong gamelan music and during wartime it will use bebatelan.

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“Thus, in once staging from the beginning to finish, it will use approximately 10 gamelan compositions with an average duration of two minutes except for the Tabuh Petegak whose duration is approximately 15 minutes,” he said.

In ngaben or cremation ceremony, though the carrying of bade tower has been accompanied by baleganjur gamelan music, it will also use the puppet gender. He told it is meant to provide strains of beauty, peace and comfort for the atman (soul) that will go to heaven. While the baleganjur like Gora functions to improve and raise the spirit of the community when they are obliged to lift the heavy bade. The gamelan played is usually called glagah puun meaning that it heads for fireplace or it can be bebatelan meaning the journey of the atman to the last abode.

When asked about the use of gender gamelan instrument accompanying the rituals like metatah (tooth filing), he said that Balinese Hindus believe that by chanting or playing gender in the ritual procession they will get a big influence that is able to avoid someone from thinking negatively and wishing to disrupt smoothness of a ceremony.

Dr. I Nyoman Astita, an artist and lecturer at the ISI Denpasar, also said similar thing. Moreover, the puppet gamelan music played at that time is taken from the appropriate performances. Usually, it is begun with tabuh tegak composition which is then continued with tabuh mesem composition commonly coupled with tabuh rebong.

“Then, when devotees walk from the bale pasekeban to bale delod pavilion in the tooth filing ritual, it will be accompanied with tabuh angkat-angkatan that can also result in solemnity and sublime nuances of the ceremony,” as he explained. (was)

Played in Makotekan and Slendro Scale

Gender  musical instrument becomes a compulsory accompaniment for a puppet show in Bali. So, in the staging there are two arts played together namely the art of leather puppet along with all the plays and dialogues as well as the art of gender gamelan composition of the puppet show.

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Besides, the gender is often used or played in various ritual activities such as in the implementation of tooth filing activities and when the bade tower carrying corpse is brought to cemetery. Thus, gender becomes a distinctive gamelan instrument when compared to other musical instruments.

An artist and lecturer at the ISI Denpasar, I Nyoman Astita, said although in terms of the form it is not different from other gamelan instrument, the gender of puppet is indeed the beginning or inspiration of the iron or copper gamelan instrument fastened or tied in such a way by using a rope to float and generate a battier tone when compared to other old gamelan types commonly put on the pedestal.

When playing, the gamelan players are using both hands where left hand plays the tone or the main melody while right hand play in makotekan way namely forming series of rhythm tone of the two gamelan instruments.

Furthermore, he said that playing the puppet gender must be in pair or two pieces because gamelan play in the right hand of both players will produce a different pattern where if gamelan artist plays nyangsih, the partner will play pepolosan. Thus, playing in pairs will result in a rhythm that integrates the sangsih and papolosan known as makotekan.

“The advantages of this puppet gender to me is in terms of technique and playing technique that are fairly sophisticated and complicated because at the same time two hands will play individually or counter point with the techniques and even a different beat can produce a different rhythm as well,” he said.

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He added that in general, Balinese gamelan instrument using resonator in the form of bamboo underneath as a sound repeater will usually be set so that the pair can result in ngumbang-ngisep or waving tones. So, when the pair is played even though one tone only will produce a vibrating or waving sound. Similar thing is also found in the puppet gender, so in addition to being able to makotekan the use of a pair of puppet gender is also aimed to produce a waving sound.

However, the main puppet gender in use in a staging consists of 4 pieces namely a pair of pamade or the gender having bass sound because of lower octave score and a pair of barangan whose octave score is higher but both will produce an interesting and harmonious tone to be heard.

He added that puppet gender has slendro-scaled instrument with single scale interval from one tone to another. In the meantime, the other gamelan instrument like gong kebyar and gong gambang using Pelog scale has two tones with higher interval.

For example, the interval is usually 1 so that when reaching 2 tones the interval becomes 1.5. If the tone dong-deng-dung-dang-ding where from dong to deng has the interval of 1, from deng to dung will be 1.5 and then from dung to dang has the interval of 1, and from dang to ding has the interval of 1.5.

Another artist, I Made Murawan, said that although the characteristics of puppet gender tend to be tender. However, it is tailored to the designation because it also has fierce and violent gamelan composition. “For example, when accompanying puppet performances and entering war session, it surely must use a fast and fierce tempo gamelan composition like the bebatelan,” he explained. (was)



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