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The Virtual Javanese Gamelan

The Virtual Javanese Gamelan is an exploration of Gamelan music from Central Java.

The Gamelan or Indonesian Orchestra is an ensemble of tuned percussion instruments consisting of gongs, pots, metallophones (similar to glockenspiels) and drums. This group, of usually between twelve to fifteen players, is sometimes supplemented by stringed instruments, flutes and singers.

Gamelans are used, in Indonesia, to accompany traditional court and temple dancing, puppet and shadow plays. It is thought that one of the first Westerners to hear its unique and fascinating sound, was Sir Francis Drake, who described a 'pleasant and delightfull' music from Java in 1580.

Since then, Gamelans have inspired a number of musicians from the West, including Debussy, Benjamin Britten and Steve Reich. Many colleges and music centres have purchased Gamelans, and there is now a thriving interest around the world in this music that lends itself so well to performance by people of all levels of musical ability and experience.

The Virtual Javanese Gamelan offers an exploration of this music based on the Javanese Gamelan, named Sumber Laras, of Wells Cathedral School. Using the expertise of the internationally acclaimed Music Faculty of Wells Cathedral School, and highly respected consultants, such as Andrew Channing, from the Alpha Beta and South Bank Centre Gamelans, a highly innovative piece of music education software has been created. It has won a Learning on Screen Award, for Primary and Secondary Learning, from the British Universities Film and Video Council.

The Virtual Javanese Gamelan is available for immediate download FREE OF CHARGE.

Enrich your experience of The Virtual Javanese Gamelan A variety of additional materials are available for download by following the appropriate link on this website. Most of these are particularly useful for teachers using The Virtual Javanese Gamelan in the classroom.

Teachers and Learners in the South West of the UK, who are able to be registered on the South West Grid for Learning Portal, will be able to access an on-line community dedicated to The Virtual Javanese Gamelan. We hope to be able to extend this facility to users outside this area in the near future.