dance and music

page 2



gamelan music


Nothing is more mesmerizing than the haunting percussion sounds of a Balinese gamelan orchestra. The musicians play an assortment of instruments including native metal gongs, drums, chimes, cymbals and metalophones (xylophones). The counterpointing is exhilarating.

Although a 15 to 30 member gamelan orchestra is the one most associated with "gamelan", many other distinct types exist in Bali. There are marching gamelans – and small-group gamelans that provide music for the Barong and Legong dances.

And, there is the Gamelan Jegog, consisting of two or more floor-seated Balinese musicians playing soft rhythmical melodies on bamboo-based xylophones (Note: Jegog performances are now common in resort lobbies).


Village performances

Many Balinese villages hold dance and music events for temple ceremonies. Some welcome visitors, providing they discreetly observe.

Tourist versions

Though not as authentic (or lengthy) as the village presentations, there are many one hour Balinese dance and music performances geared especially for tourists. They are staged in hotel or non-hotel settings. Hotel events are integrated with grand buffets.

Most of the non-hotel performances take place in the Denpasar Art Center and in artisan villages such as Ubud and Batubulan (click Bali map to see their locations).

Both the hotel and non-hotel affairs entertain, though those in non-hotel venues are truer to the originals. And, their Balinese performers are noticeably more skilled and talented – and put more of their hearts into their efforts.

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