Inters Music Trip
Posted: 15th June 2018
We set off in the morning of June 12th to go to the Bate Collection on St Aldate’s in Oxford – awaiting us was a day of Javanese music from Indonesia: Gamelan music. When we arrived, our conductor for the day’s workshop, Isabelle, led us to the Seminar Room to show us the wide range of bronze and wooden instruments we were to play in the morning. We started off learning how to play the different instruments and how to hold the beaters or sticks, before playing a basic piece called ‘Chaotic Cowpen’ – a strange name for a piece! The note names were not as we know them – instead of a 7-note scale denoted with letters, we used a 5-note scale denoted with the numbers 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6; the 4 is missed out for an unknown reason. The pattern we played (the core melody; the balungan) was 2-3-2-3-2-1-2-6 and we had to sing it to memorise it, then play varied rhythms on the different instruments. We then swapped them around and improvised a tune.
After the educational workshop, we had a look round the Bate collection, where lots of instruments from musical history were. There were flutes and pianos, cornets and cellos for us all to try out and make whatever sounds we could! Isabelle guided us around the different pianos and how important they were in history, while the pianists in the class compared them to modern pianos and how they work.
It was a very enjoyable trip and we all had lots of fun learning about historical and cultural music, we’d all love to go again.