compositions for gamelan, and gamelan with other instruments
The American Gamelan Institute is pleased to host this page of gamelan compositions by Daniel Goode, who is celebrating his 73rd birthday this year; these scores are offered in honor of this "prime" event. For gamelan groups interested in playing these, Daniel Goode is available with electronic or personal support, as he explains in the following invitation:
"I’m taking the occasion of my 73rd birthday year (2009) to revisit and celebrate all my music. I want to invite the world-wide gamelan community to join me in this, especially in experiencing my gamelan repertoire. I would like to travel to other gamelan groups in the world to help realize performances of my music and ideas for gamelan. If there were also a community interested in other genres of my work in the same locale, so much the better! It’s the nature of gamelan to be a social art form, and in meeting others and working in music, I would feel most celebrated, and most celebratory! I would also feel very useful in helping other communities to play and learn about the repertoire of my ensemble, Gamelan Son of Lion.
"As a composer, I’m also looking forward to the new pieces I’m composing. Since I joined Gamelan Son of Lion (GSOL) in the mid-‘70’s, I’ve composed some twenty-five pieces for gamelan, inspired by GSOL, and performed by them. While I want to share all my music with others—music in most genres and instrumentations—my gamelan music occupies a special place. Gamelan Son of Lion has always encouraged the experimental, the cross-cultural, and has achieved an amazing stylistic variety, the result of the various member’s creative work over decades. My pieces also vary in styles. I hope this makes them attractive to a large number of musicians and listeners.
"Please peruse my scores and descriptions, listen to sound examples on my own website, write to me if you have any questions. I want to share my work with everyone — especially in person (for which some financial support might be possible). I look forward to meeting and working with some of the gamelan groups around the world — another example of how gamelan brings us all together.
"Please contact me (for materials of mine you don't find on this page, my website, or my page at Frog Peak Music. I look forward to discussing and inventing projects of mutual interest."
— Daniel Goode, New York City, New York
Several of these pieces are in a collection called One Page Pieces. More will be added through the year as they become available.
EINE KLEINE GAMELAN MUSIC
A one-page score with a fast, catchy tune and a set of rules to create a performance. For any instruments of any tunings. Software exists (by Larry Polansky) to develop a parallel electronic piece. The performance is essentially a developed improvisation using given procedures. It’s difficult. Also in One Page Pieces.
SEMAPHORES (in One Page Pieces)
For l0 gamelan performers. A one-page score, based on hand-gestures and a repeated rhythmic cycle. Uses the keyboard instruments only. Ebbs and flows hypnotically. Length based on how many repetitions of the basic theme and variations. Some sections slow, others fast. 12-18 minutes.
GONG DANCE a 7
For hand-held gongs. Gamelan Son of Lion used auto-hubcaps which have unique mixes of pitch and noise. Arranged from high to low in a line. Each plays in sequence, one note, down the line; the players change places rhythmically, then repeat as before, the new permutation. It finishes when the original scale pattern returns, just a few minutes in length. Festive. Also in One Page Pieces.
For hand-held gongs. Metal auto-hubcaps were the original set. Any large number of players. It’s a walk-and-play piece, big space, preferably outdoors; groups form and reform; the rhythmic cycle equals the number of people in a group, a common tempo unites all groups.
GAMELAN N.E.A. (Benary, Corner, Goode, Griggs)
A 30-minute suite of compositions by each of these composers, knitted together into a single continuous piece. Sections ould be excerpted and adapted.
THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE COMES BACK TO BROOKLYN
For all gamelan instruments, all tunings. A tape (available from the composer) of the sounds made by traffic across the Brooklyn Bridge before it was paved: the sound was of a choral wailing, glissandi from the grill-work under the tires. Over this tape, gamelan players find matching pitches on their keyboard and fade them in, adding voice. A group improvisation shapes these ideas. About 12 minutes.
SLENDRO CLARINET, WELCOME! (aka SLENDRO CLARINET)
A companion to CIRCULAR THOUGHTS, using the same process, here, on a descending five-tone slendro scale. Requires circular breathing on a wind instrument—I played a PVC Slendro clarinet designed and produced by Steve Silverstein which can play in tune with the gamelan in slendro (maybe string, or brass will work). About 9 minutes. Recorded on “New Gamelan/NewYork,” GSOL Records.
Video of Slendro Clarinet, by Jody Diamond
NEEDLES AND THREAD
For gamelan and one or two violins (or other string instrument). A projected many-movement piece—a long segment of which is completed—in which all the chords possible in the ten-tone gamelan scale of slendro and pelog are to be orchestrated into separate movements.
A setting for gamelan, speaker, and slides of a hilarious, mordant script, “Paranoid Delusions: Lethal Aide” (1990) by Connie Samaras, set during the first Bush (HW) administration, about the anti-hero, Lt.Col. Oliver North, unconvicted criminal of the Iran-Contra scandal. Would need to be re-constructed from materials, but is, curiously, right in tune with the secrecy and corruption of the current Bush regime. Length, probably about 15 minutes.
A puppet dances on an invisible string. For two drummers, one or two sustaining instruments and full gamelan. Rhythmic modules, with performer choice of pitches, are overlapped and varied. Material is to be shaped into a structure in which the puppeteer responds to the gamelan. Ketuk cues changes. Puppet available from composer, or substitute can be found. Length indeterminate.
For three wooden puppets and gamelan. Two little puppet kings rock and tap their way down wooden ramps. The gamelan players play the rhythms they hear the kings making. A gong punctuates. Ideally, a video projection and contact mikes of the phasing kings bring the puppets’ intimate performance to the whole audience. Three kings take a solo turn (Available from the composer and elsewhere). The gamelan does a coda. About 8 minutes.
TWO DANS MUSIC
For gamelan keyboards and gongs in slendro. The puppeteer is manipulating two wrestlers in response to rhythms and tempos of the gamelan players. The score is a chart that shows progress from box to box punctuated by a gong agung. Puppets from the composer, or a substitute can be found. About 6-8 minutes.
An orchestration of the composer’s first “composition,” of that title, originally for piano and only five phrases long. A percussive puppet in the form of a lumberman or Paul Bunyan-type dances to several presentations of the tune in different modes, tempi, and instrumentation. Puppet available from composer, or substitute can be found. About 4.5 minutes.
For clarinet and gamelan. Requires a clarinetist who plays the Brahms Clarinet Quintet, op.115 in B-minor. The “gypsy” section from the slow movement becomes the basis for an extended clarinet solo, adding the gamelan towards the end and culminating in a rip-roaring original Klezmer tune for clarinet and gamelan (mixed slendro and pelog). About 8 minutes.
Music for a dance choreographed by Jody Oberfelder at the Joyce Soho, February 1999.
A half-evening length performance with full gamelan, obbligato clarinet, hand-held auto hubcaps for all. Based on the music for Semaphores with much newly composed material; contains numbers that can be presented as concert pieces, perhaps 20 minutes worth. Documentation exists, including scores, concert tapes and a well-shot VHS tape.
For clarinet, trombone solo, and gamelan. A setting using both slendro and pelog, of a traditional flamenco melody. A clangy translation of flamenco sound into gamelan. About 4+ minutes.
Music for social dancing, any style. A rhythmic grid becomes the backdrop for a long, syncopated-style melody. Two drummers preferred. Wordless vocalizing with melody can be effective. Long drum duet recommended Length indeterminate.
SOHO GAMELAN WALK
Using Soho’s cast-iron buildings as the resonant gong instruments, a walking street tour/performance event was organized (2000) in which participants received a card with suggested rhythms and a map of the “best” cast-iron buildings for resonant playing. The leader (only) had some traditional cloth tabuhs, the participants used hands only. The piece ended when a select section of Soho buildings had been used as instruments. A good-quality digital tape exists to document. Duration: at least an hour.
For gamelan and clarinet. Composed for a party with a belly-dancer; clarinet is an optional obbligato. Style is based loosely on Javanese structure. About 5 or 6 minutes.
For piano/bonang soloist, and gamelan in slendro.
The soloist plays one hand on each keyboard. The piece plays off the lovely differences in tuning, permuting them into new chords and dyads. The “un-soloist” has an “un-cadenza” using a “baby bonang” with the piano. It is slow and savors the sounds of the two tunings. With a traditional-sounding buka. About 8 minutes.
For full gamelan. Based on the sub-melodies from the seven-note pelog scale passed through various rhythmic cycles. There is a through-composed schematic score and another score based on performer choice. Has the spirit of Central Javanese music, but is structured in a classic, Western minimalistic manner. About 16 minutes. Reissued on Locust Music’s 2-CD set of the original Gamelan Son of Lion Folkways recordings.
HEAR THE SOUND OF RANDOM NUMBERS
A selection from a chart of random numbers, translating the numerals into scale numbers on the gamelan keyboard, duration also proportional to the numbers. Gong equals the number zero. Starting tempo in unison, drifting into individuals counting, heterophony results. Loudness also keyed to the numerals. About 9 minutes. In One Page Pieces.
For four gamelan keyboard players each with hand-held gong (auto-hubcaps preferred), and clarinet obbligato. Random numbers came from the fifth-digit column of a page from t`he Manhattan phone book (before the mandatory area code). Zero translated as a gong note. Four-voiced arpeggiated chords are played at an “andante” tempo controlled by more numbers). Clarinet plays sustained tones drawn from the “tenor” voice, or demung part. A soft section is followed by a loud section. About 5 or 6 minutes.
40 RANDOM NUMBERED CLANGS
For nine keyboard players in a line or semicircle from low to high, each player with a hand held-gong (GSOL used metal auto-hubcaps) going from high to low. Characterized by a nine-gong arpeggio which sweeps the space, intimate improvisational loops and brilliant, spicy chords; this is a culmination of three works which derive their tones from random number series. About 14-15 minutes. Reissued on Locust Music’s 2-CD set of the original Gamelan Son of Lion Folkways recordings.
CONCERTO FOR WIRE SCULPTURE AND GAMELAN
A delicate wire sculpture is wired with three (minimum: two) PZM contact microphones and amplified. The soloist improvises music in which the lighted sculpture vibrates visually and sonically, controlling the gain (volume) and treble-bass settings on the mixer/amplifier. A simple cuing scheme tells the gamelan players when to respond with little loops out of heard sounds and rhythms. Visually, the soloist, by striking the sculpture with wire and wooden implements and through cuing of the ensemble, brings music out of thin air. He (she) may dress accordingly. Indeterminate in length.