by Anthony Ritchie, for gamelan, Opus 144

This piece was composed for Puspawarna Gamelan, the community group based at the University of Otago, and given its first performances in 2009. It has been recorded on a University of Otago Music Department CD by the ensemble.

Programme Note

Echoes is the first piece I have written without using a piano at all to compose. Having been to a gamelan rehearsal I found a tune popping into my head during a walk to the diary. I developed this tune on the computer (using vibraphone sounds to represent the gamelan), layering it into a canon, or round. Two further tunes appear, based on different home notes, but all the tunes use the same pelog scale. They are decorated and varied, before the opening tune returns like an echo at the end.

The idea of echoes is also evoked by the canons, and the ringing sounds of the gamelan itself. Echoes have a spiritual significance, I think; sound waves return to a listener in the same way memories flood the brain when triggered by something special happens. They induce a reflective state.

There is a traditional gamelan score plus a score using Western notation, which is a guide to the composer's intentions. Individual parts may be improvised around, although the main theme and its echo at the end should be preserved as indicated in the score. There are embellished solos written out for gender, 1st saron, bongang panerus, bongang, gambang and kandang which are not notated fully in this score - refer to the western notation for these solos in full. The word 'ring' is used to indicate the sound being sustained and not dampened. Different octaves within one instrument: different octaves are used within the range of the gender and gambang - refer to the Western notation for the actual pitches intended.

Buy the right to download the score, includng gamelan notation, in one pdf file, online, and permission to duplicate or print it as required for one group : NZ$10.00.

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