Cipher Notation of Gamelan Music

Mrs Maker

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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