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Old 26th June 2011, 03:29 PM   #1
VANDOO
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Smile WEAPONS OF THE SHADOW PUPPETS

A BIT OFF TOPIC BUT AS THE LEGENDS AND STORIES TOLD IN THE WAYANG KULIT (SHADOW PUPPET) PLAYS TELL MUCH OF THE HISTORY AND BELIEFS OF THE SOCIETY IT APPLYS HERE.
IN THE SHADOW PUPPET PLAYS ONE CAN ACTUALLY SEE THE KERIS FLY AND SEEK OUT ITS VICTUMS AS WELL AS MANY OTHER MAGICAL OCCURANCES. THESE ITEMS ARE FROM JAWA WAYANG KULIT AND GIVE SOME IDEA OF VARIATIONS OF BOTH SYMBOLIC WEAPONS AGAINST SPIRITS AS WELL AS ACTUAL WEAPONS USED IN THIS WORLD. THESE PLAYS ARE FUN TO WATCH SO I WOULD RECOMEND SEEING ONE IF THE CHANCE PRESENTS ITS SELF.
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Old 26th June 2011, 08:25 PM   #2
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These plays are certainly nice to watch, especially in Jawa at night, when you here the gamelan....
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Old 26th June 2011, 08:50 PM   #3
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I have seen it many times for a short time or in passing, when you don't understand something it is boring after short time (my personal sensation) and so far I know it went over a very long time, depend from what they are showing. And discreet spoken is the Gamelan music very strange for western ears! But maybe one time I will look it longer.

Regards,

Detlef
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Old 27th June 2011, 12:35 AM   #4
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Vandoo,

Great post. I think it is very interesting to see the weapons portrayed with Shadow puppets

I agree it would be interesting to sit down and watch a show and compare the puppets movements to real usage...especially if the puppeteer was somewhat versed in martial forms...or would it be more than likely be just like modern movies today...exaggerated dramatics for the entertainment of the masses
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Old 27th June 2011, 01:19 AM   #5
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OH I LOVE GAMELAN (Javanese, Balinese, Moro, T'boli, etc)!

Nice to see puppet weapons- very interesting Barry!
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Old 27th June 2011, 08:36 AM   #6
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Wayang performances are something that requires a very special education to follow, understand and appreciate. It is an education that most of the last two generations living in Jawa lack, and it an education that I have never sought out nor do I have any desire at all to acquire it.

Even those who can understand a wayang performance, will in most cases not understand the language of the dalang, but they will know the story and can follow it. The dalang will intersperse his recitation of the wayang story with comedy and topical remarks, and for this he will use the local ngoko dialect, which in most cases is unintelligible to people from outside the local community, but it is perfectly understood by the locals. The same applies with the jokes and topical comment:- it is rare for an outsider to see anything funny at all in a dalang's jokes.

Personally, I find wayang performances enormously boring, even though I can usually understand the jokes and comments in ngoko. A typical performance will start in the early evening, and go through to daylight. Very few people stay all through the performance , they come and go, meet friends, have something to eat and drink, go home again. Its a social occasion more than a theatrical performance.

There is no doubt at all that the dalangs are extremely skilled artists, but I feel that wayang in Jawa has almost become art for the sake of art.

Probably in some out of the way rural communities it is still appreciated, especially by older people, but just about anybody under 50 in most urban environments would much rather watch a soapy on TV.

Gamelan is a bird of different feather, and depending on style and composition can be quite entertaining, however the scale used does take a bit of getting used to for somebody from a western culture.

Call me a peasant if you will, but after 50 odd years of fairly close contact with both gamelan and wayang, I'd rather watch Clint Eastwood, and I'd rather listen to Bob Dylan, or Pavarotti, and just about everything in between, than gamelan. But I do like kroncong.
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Old 27th June 2011, 03:38 PM   #7
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Well personally i love gamelan music (and hate Pavarotti) and can listen to it just about anytime. It does something to my psyche that i just cannot explain.
As for wayang, i have only seen short bits of a few performances, though the shortness of my exposure was not due to boredom, but rather because i had other pressing matters to attend to. Personally i don't find any need to fully understand wayang to enjoy it, but i guess i'm funny that way...
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Old 27th June 2011, 11:09 PM   #8
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Gamelan has the undoubted ability to do something to my psyche too, David.

Especially when it is played at a wedding, and it continues non-stop for two days and nights, and you're laying in a sweat soaked bed trying to get to sleep.

By about 4am on the first night you feel like going and committing murder.

But then the Perang Mesjid starts, with the call to morning prayer from 6 or 8 mesjids within hearing range, all trying to outdo the others in volume and aggressiveness. So that night is a write-off.

By 4am on the second night you no longer have the mental capacity nor physical strength to commit murder.

On the third day you sleep all day.

Almost anything that is a bit out of the ordinary and exotic can be entertaining or amusing for a short time, but living up close and personal very often takes a major change in orientation.

However, yeah, sure, depending upon what the piece is, gamelan can be OK in limited doses, but try remembering a gamelan theme or melody. I cannot, and I've played music now for 60 years.
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Old 28th June 2011, 06:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Gamelan has the undoubted ability to do something to my psyche too, David.

Especially when it is played at a wedding, and it continues non-stop for two days and nights, and you're laying in a sweat soaked bed trying to get to sleep.

By about 4am on the first night you feel like going and committing murder.

But then the Perang Mesjid starts, with the call to morning prayer from 6 or 8 mesjids within hearing range, all trying to outdo the others in volume and aggressiveness. So that night is a write-off.

By 4am on the second night you no longer have the mental capacity nor physical strength to commit murder.

On the third day you sleep all day.

Almost anything that is a bit out of the ordinary and exotic can be entertaining or amusing for a short time, but living up close and personal very often takes a major change in orientation.

However, yeah, sure, depending upon what the piece is, gamelan can be OK in limited doses, but try remembering a gamelan theme or melody. I cannot, and I've played music now for 60 years.



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Old 28th June 2011, 06:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathaniel

I agree it would be interesting to sit down and watch a show and compare the puppets movements to real usage


No comparison I assume. Wayang puppets are rather stiff.
It might at the best look a little bit like Steven Seagal
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Old 28th June 2011, 06:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VANDOO
A BIT OFF TOPIC BUT AS THE LEGENDS AND STORIES TOLD IN THE WAYANG KULIT (SHADOW PUPPET) PLAYS TELL MUCH OF THE HISTORY AND BELIEFS OF THE SOCIETY IT APPLYS HERE.
IN THE SHADOW PUPPET PLAYS ONE CAN ACTUALLY SEE THE KERIS FLY AND SEEK OUT ITS VICTUMS AS WELL AS MANY OTHER MAGICAL OCCURANCES. THESE ITEMS ARE FROM JAWA WAYANG KULIT AND GIVE SOME IDEA OF VARIATIONS OF BOTH SYMBOLIC WEAPONS AGAINST SPIRITS AS WELL AS ACTUAL WEAPONS USED IN THIS WORLD. THESE PLAYS ARE FUN TO WATCH SO I WOULD RECOMEND SEEING ONE IF THE CHANCE PRESENTS ITS SELF.


Interesting collection wayang kulit weapons.
I have never seen the loose weapons before.
Is this personal collection, or a picture from w.w.web ?

Best regards,
Willem
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Old 28th June 2011, 11:25 PM   #12
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Talking

THESE TWO GROUPS WENT BY ON EBAY A SHORT WHILE AGO SO I WAITED UNTIL THE AUCTIONS CLOSED BEFORE POSTING. THIS WAS THE LARGEST COLLECTION OF SEPARATE WEAPONS I HAVE SEEN SO I THOUGHT IT WOULD MAKE AN INTERESTING POST. THE SELLER SEEMS TO HAVE A LARGE STOCK OF PUPPETS SO PERHAPS HAS BOUGHT A TRAVELING TROUPS SHOW?
I USUALLY TRAVEL ALONE AND ENJOY EXOTIC FOODS,SURROUNDINGS AND MUSIC SO AN EVENING AT THE PUPPET SHOW, CHINESE OPERA, LUAU, TAMARA OR MONKEY DANCE IS ALWAYS ENJOYABLE AND FUN EVEN IF I DON'T UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING THAT IS GOING ON.
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Old 29th June 2011, 09:11 PM   #13
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About gamelan could be interesting this Debussy opinion



http://brenthugh.com/debnotes/debussy-gamelan.pdf
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Old 29th June 2011, 11:01 PM   #14
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Yes, Debussy did know the gamelan, and was impressed by it, however you will not find any direct lifts of gamelan in his compositions, and he never attempted to incorporate slendro scale into his compositions.

Debussy was not alone in being impressed by gamelan. Many other western composers were too --- Bartok, Sculthorpe, McPhee, Cage --- the list goes on and on.

There is no doubt at all that gamelan is a brilliant musical form, and the players extremely skilled, particularly the leaders. I have seen a young Balinese leader sitting opposite a gender player, and teaching that player how to play his part. The leader was playing the part backwards, because he was sitting on the wrong side of the gender. Absolutely incredible to watch.

Equally, as I have already said, depending on the piece, gamelan can be OK.

If you ever hear one on the major Javanese gongs ( a "gong" is a gamelan group) playing the music that accompanies bedoyo, you could not fail but to be impressed with the majesty. Listen to a Balinese gong playing some of their brighter pieces, and its pleasant. There is a movement in Indonesia that I think was started by the son of the Late President Sukarno, which uses gamelan combined with western musical instruments.

The scales used in gamelan are pelog and slendro, and pelog is also the scale used in langgam jawa , which is a crossover musical form using a combination of western and Javanese musical forms, but with its roots firmly in kroncong, which is based on 17th century Portugese folk songs. In langgam jawa the cello takes the place of the gamelan ciblon ( drum) and sets tempo, so in this musical form you've also got gamelan influence.

Yes, no doubt about it, gamelan is a very serious musical form, and for somebody who is musically inclined who hears it for the first time, it would undoubtedly be impressive.

But that does not mean that everybody who is musically inclined will grow to love it.

I can tolerate it under ideal conditions and in small doses, but I'd much sooner listen to James Galway playing Mozart, or Little Walter in one of his more insane moments, or Andres Segovia playing anything.

Its all a matter of taste.
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