« on: August 06, 2008, 05:34:31 PM »
About the last question I asked up there, about the birds chirping, what do you think?
"Also wanted to mention, was listening to Volume V of the series and on the first track there is an exquisitely beautiful passage where a distant tropical bird begins to sing, and it seems that this bird is working along with the music. Later, more birds join in, and maybe I am hallucinating, or it is wishful thinking, but it feels like the Gamelan is playing along with their cries, or vice versa! Have you ever noticed this phenomenon?"
Sorry I thought it was a rhetorical question. I haven't heard this CD but my feeling is you are hallucinating. In a very tropical place like Java its hard to get away from the sounds of nature, especially where a gamelan is recorded. It's done in a special building called a pendopo, its open on three sides, usually made of marble, stone or other hard objects and has very high ceilings and gives it that kind of watery sound quality. Because of its openness birds, frogs and insects tend to use it as much as anyone else so they tend to become part of the sound fabric of these recordings. Here's a picture of a pendopo in one of the royal courts:
Of course this reminds me of some stories I have heard about the beginnings of gamelan. One being an early version of gamelan actually mimicked the sound of frogs. You can kind of get the idea if you listen to frogs in Java how this might be the case.
Years ago I made a recording at the Mangkunegaran royal court which from your discription has a simlar quality. Their were birds flying in and out of the pendopo during this performance and upon listening to the recording later on it added to the whole of the sound. Of course it has special meaning to me having been there at the time. As I type this I am in the process of dubbing all my field recordings that I did back in the 1990s from the original dat tapes they are on and putting them into my computer. I'll have to make sure I add that recording to my list of dubs for tomorrow.