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date: 06 December 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the idea of central Javanese gamelan (also known as karawitan) as rule-based music, examining areas where algorithmic thinking can take place in both performance and composition. Different types of performance techniques are discussed, exploring the degree to which rules can be used to generate melodic content from a notated outline called the balungan (meaning ‘skeleton’ or ‘frame’ in Javanese). Several applications of algorithms in the contexts of ethnomusicology and composition are presented, with a focus on grammars and rewriting systems. This leads to a discussion of the author’s work with rule-based systems in composition and performance, including integration of computer parts in a live gamelan ensemble through augmented instruments. The chapter concludes with an overview of Pipilan: a piece of software developed in Max/MSP for computer-aided composition, which has also been used to facilitate audience participation in performance and installation settings.

Keywords: : gamelan, karawitan, balungan, rewriting systems, algorithm, augmented instruments, Max/MSP

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