On Wednesday 26th a group of 24 students from years 7, 8 and 10 took part in a full-day Gamelan workshop.

Gamelan comes from Indonesia, a country in South-East Asia. The music sounds calming and almost meditative with its repetitive qualities and an almost hypnotic pulse. The students were taught about the traditions of playing Gamelan music. They were asked to remove their shoes and explained they should never step over the instruments since it is said to be a sign of disrespect. The instruments used in this style of music are called Kenong, Gong Ageng, Bonang, Saron, Slenthem and Kempul.

The students were shown how to play the instruments as a group, learning a full 32 note piece, called Ricik, Ricik (pronounced Richie, Richie). Gamelan music is never played as a soloist; it is always played as one group, with every player hitting the same core pitches at the same time. The tuning of this style of music has 5 different notes and is known as Slendro – in Western music we can identify this with the Pentatonic scale.

The students and Miss Ernestine and Miss Fretwell had a lot of fun learning how to play these very unique instruments and we hope that Inspire-Works will be able to join us again in the future to deliver more wonderful sounds from around the world.

Check out the sound clip if you want to know what it sounds like.