Gamelan Si Betty
and the Viewpoint Composers' Gamelan
a student and community ensemble at Harvard University
directed by Jody Diamond, Artist in Residence
Harvard University Music Department
Meeting every Wednesday
6:00 p.m. beginners' orientation (by appointment)
6:30–8:30 p.m. group rehearsal
Gamelan Studio location:
Hilles/SOCH, Lower Main floor
across from the Cinema
on the Quad at Garden & (59) Shepard St.,
(enter through the service door at the back of Hilles)
Musicians and composers are encouraged to join,
although no previous experience is required.
for information on playing or composing contact diamond2[@]fas.harvard.edu
Si Betty tuning chart courtesy of Julie Rohwein
This photo is of the Si Betty Gamelan Group for New Music performing at ArtsFirst, Harvard's annual spring campus-wide arts festival.
The photo above was taken by Jody Diamond as the group rehearsed for a performance at the Cabrillo Music Festival in 1982. Lou Harrison is the white-bearded gentleman in the plaid shirt.
Gamelan Si Betty, built in 1979 by Lou Harrison and William Colvig, was named for its benefactor, Betty Freeman. It is modeled on the court gamelan of Central Java, in particular, the Central Javanese Gamelan Kyai Udan Mas at U.C. Berkeley. Si Betty is perhaps the largest American-built gamelan in terms of numbers of instruments, able to accommodate over 30 instrumental players, as well as vocalists.
Gamelan Si Betty came to Harvard in the Fall of 2007. The instruments were left to Jody Diamond, who had worked with Harrison for over 20 years. As an Artist in Residence in the Harvard Music Department, Ms. Diamond directs a community ensemble; the gamelan is also serves as a performance lab for courses in the music department. Ms. Diamond has facilitated the use of the gamelan in other projects, and is available as an artistic and educational resource to all departments for collaborative work.
Si Betty's instruments, like those of its Javanese counterparts, are divided into two sets, one tuned in 5-tone slendro, the other in 7-tone pelog. Both scale systems of Si Betty are realized in just intonation, chosen after Lou Harrison sought approval from the Javanese master K.R.T. Wasitodipuro.Scores for the gamelan compositions of Lou Harrison are published by the American Gamelan Institute,