desa, kala, patra

  • Balinese concept that helps maintain cultural identity
  • proper place/time for every activity
  • place-natural surroundings and spatial orientation
  • time-overlapping calendats


  • religious ceremonies
  • living
  • dead
  • gods
  • demons
  • sages


  • for temples’ inauguration
  • every 210 calendar days
  • purification and exorcism
  • invitation for demons to enter and be escorted out
  • invitation to gods and ancestors
  • entertainment period
  • gods’ sendoff


  • boisterous full atmosphere
  • essential for success
  • active participation of whole community


  • mountain
  • inward
  • cardinal north
  • closter to gods and purity


  • toward sea
  • outward
  • cardinal south
  • demonic forces


  • local community identity

Majapahit kingdom

  • Bali part of in mid-14th century
  • Java’s last Hindu empire
  • Hindu-Javanese nobles moved to Bali after fall to Demak
  • musical traditions traced to Gelgel (pinnacle of Balinese arts after fall)

Mahabharata ; Ramayana

  • Indian epics
  • cultural icons of SE Asia
  • enacted in most forms of performance arts
  • stories tell of Hindu pantheon from mythological times
  • major role in theatrical arts of Bali


  • sacred
  • performances in religious ceremonies


  • ceremonial
  • in middle courtyard
  • god and human audience


  • secular
  • outside temple or in outer courtyard
  • human entertainment

problems with Balinese art categories

  • no “secular” arts in Bali
  • wali and bebali distinction due to common Sanskrit root (meaning offering)

paired tuning

  • Balinese gamelan timbre; described as ;pulsating; or ;shimmering;;
  • Each instrument a pair of metallophones is tuned slightly apart from its partner instrument
  • When played together the higher instrument, known as the ;inhaler,; and the lower, the ;exhaler;, create this pulsating effect


  • ;wave
  • When there is more than one of a single instrument, the inhalers are all tuned alike and the exhalers are all tuned alike
  • The Balinese term for vebrato evoking the ocean image as well as breath
  • also used to describe the pulsating reverberation of the gong


nding, ndong, ndeng, ndung, ndang

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  • five names of the pitches for Balinese scale
  • Each syllable notated w/a Balinese symbol


gamelan gong kebyar

  • created in Bali in 1915
  • expresses ;explosive; Gong kebyar is tuned to pentatonic, pelog-derived scale called selisi
  • at the time of inception of gong kebyar many older, seven-tone gamelan were melted down to reuse the bronze to make new, five-tone selisir keybar ensembles


“suka duka”
Balinese expression often used to describe the spirit of interaction in all sorts of community organizations
sekaha organizations
These community organizations exist for rice cultivation, neighborhood decision making, religious ceremonies, and music making.;

  • basic melody
  • foundation consists of repeating melodic cycles and their variants.


  • communal way of playing an elaborating part
  • musicians rely on partner to complete the composite melody


  • gangsa interlocking figuration consists of two complementary parts
  • polos (;basic; maine part) usually plays on the beat
  • sangsih (;differing;) fits into the spaces between polos notes.;



  • Balinese term for charisma and showing off
  • In music, implies extroverted display of virtuosity, confidence, and style.

masked dancer

  • dance drama enacting the battle between the evil witch Rangda and the barong
  • often done in graveyards for exorcistic purposes and involving trance


Barong dance drama

  • intrinsic part of the calonarang dance drama
  • has its own set of stories.

wayang kulit

  • shadow puppets made of rawhide
  • puppets are intricately carved and silhouetted against a screen lit by the flame of a flickering coconut oil lamp.

gamelan gender wayang

  • ritualistic performances


  • divine inspiration and ;shifting focal points”
  • overcomes performers during the act of performance
  • do not always attain this inner state, but it is the desired one
  • unaware of what they say or do
  • different experience from going into trance.



  • performed by a group of men, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, representing monkey armies
  • a few male and female principal dancers 
  • Seated in concentric circles, “monkeys” provide interlocking cak over a sung melodic line led by a narrator
  • always performed outdoors at night around a fire, often in a forest setting outside a temple.