Gamelan Cipher Notation
Gamelan musicians have always learned gamelan as an aural tradition. They learn and memorize a piece by hearing it played and by practicing it themselves. There is a written cipher notation for gamelan. Notation is not generally used by Javanese musicians but may be used by others, such as ethnomusicologists and foreign students learning gamelan.
Gamelan notation is written in numbers with special characters for accentuating instruments. Music is not notated in a score for all the instruments, so one generally sees the balungan, or melody. Other parts can be notated but this can be difficult to read–it is often easier to learn how to derive one’s part and use one’s own shorthand notation for reminders.
The notation for the buka and umpak of Lancaran Jaranan is shown in the image below (the lagu section of Jaranan is not notated).
See the score Here
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