Gamelan Music In The 19th Century

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Music was institutionalized in Europe during the 19th Century. Composing followed a scholarly route that lead to very subtle variation in classical music. Cultures outside of Europe produced music in their own unique style that differed from the usual European composition. Western composers began to incorporate music from other cultures to portray nonnative aspects of European society or bring new life into European Music. Ralph Locke’s spectrum of exoticism classifies compositions based on whether the piece is purely exotic or transcultural composing. Gamelan Music used different scales and rhythms that produced foreign tones when compared to European music. Therefore, its foreign sound is widely used in transcultural composing. Georges Bizet’s…show more content…
Fair goers were “offered a pre-industrial paradise where women crafted batiks and men wove straw hats.” (Fauser 166) The Kampong javanais portrayed the music and culture of South East Asia, more specifically the Indonesian island of Java, as exotic, natural, and socially/industrially lacking. Gamelan music was introduced to European society and was perceived as “Whisperings, murmurs, the rustling of a tree in the wind… nothing but the sounds of nature.” (Fauser 173) Europeans viewed themselves as higher beings. They applaud and appreciate a taste of nature presented through an “exotic to them” Javanese culture. The perception of Javanese culture at the 1889 Paris World’s Fair parallels the perception of Roma people in Europe. The Roma are viewed as nomadic, untrustworthy, and have an association to music and dancing. (Lecture 2/27) Georges Bizet’s Carmen is a French Opera that uses Spanish style music to single out and profile Carmen. Carmen represents the stereotypical Roma women. She “is a foreigner, an ethnic outsider… comes from the lower class… flouts the law… is sexually available and promiscuous.” (Frisch 170) Throughout the Opera her appearances and songs are captured using “Spanish style dances, rhythms, and melodies.” (Frisch 170) Clearly, the character of Carmen is a direct stereotypical rendering of Roma women. She is deceptive towards Don…show more content…
Benjamin Britten’s Death in Venice deals with pederasty and homosexuality in society through its music and characters. Britten was a homosexual with his life partner Peter Pears, and wrote several operas with themes that related to homosexual including Death in Venice and Billy Budd. (Burkholder 929) Homosexuality was frowned upon and illegal in Europe and North America during the 20th Century. Committing homosexuality lead to charges and time in prison. Henry Cowell “spend four years… in San Quentin Prison for a having a consensual homosexual relationship.” (Auner 164) Many homosexuals turned to the Indonesian islands as their culture was accepting towards homosexual relationships at the time. (Auner 164). Therefore, Balinese music began to inspire homosexual composers such as Britten and Collin McPhee. Death in Venice tells a story about an aging German novelist Gustav von Aschenbach who becomes infatuated with a young Polish boy when on vacation in Venice. Aschenbach sits back and watches the young Polish boy Tadzio play with his siblings on the beach. Throughout the opera, Balinese inspired music is utilized only when Aschenbach is observing and fanaticizing about Tadzio. The implicit theme of homosexuality and pederasty is described through the Balinese music. Balinese music originates from a paradise of sexual freedom. Its integration into the opera is used to describe the issues against

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