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Music from the Morning of the World is an album in the Nonesuch Explorer Series of traditional music from around the world (the cover of the re-issued album appears to the left). This particular album is a sampling of music, song and chant from the Indonesian island of Bali.

The central instruments in Balinese music are the gamelan (a tuned series of gongs) and drums and other percussion. In this regard it is similar to Javanese music. But whereas Javanese music’s tempos are slow to the point of trance-inducing, Balinese music (the pieces on this album accompany dances and shamanistic rituals) is rarely less than breakneck in its speed and is often marked, as in “Barong Dance” (track #4), by abrupt shifts in tempo and musical color. It is also marked, most famously in the Ramayana Monkey Chant, by virtuoso singing. All of it is at least intriguing, and much of it will leave the listener gasping in amazement.

It isn’t facil exaggeration to say that there really is no other music like this on the planet. Despite the fact that this music is “only” about a century old, its title could not be more apt.

The Wikipedia entry is not much more detailed than this article, but it does provide links to pictures and articles on the various instruments used.

Edited by ukkonen on 11 Sep 2010, 05:57

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