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(coming a bit late, but better than never :)


In week six we did some work on the fandango and put some new movements into cat like tread, including some commando rolls which was pretty exciting. Even though we didn't do much work on the fandango, I felt really confident with it this week and felt like I was keeping up really well.

We spent most of the lecture this week on looking at individual pieces and how we could act in pieces we already knew without doing unnecessary 'singer' things. I found it really difficult -- I sang Adele's Laughing Song from Die Fledermaus (which I absolutely should not have done, I hadn't sung it in months and it was not my finest) but I sang for about 10 seconds before Nell told me to stop, and improvise the scene, but spoken. I liked the idea and it was fun to see how it could give me a different kind of intention, but it didn't feel like a correct representation of the character. The scene I ended up with gave the character this frantic, chaotic energy, but I've always thought Adele was a little bit smarter and more measured. Even though I didn't think my song panned out the way I wanted, it was really great to watch Erina and Tharushi's scenes develop. Tharushi has a wonderful stage presence already, and the direction from Nell to have her act as though she was laying in grass and feeling the ground around her was really interesting. In week 7, Erina seemed a bit nervous at first in her song, but when Nell directed her attention onto Grace's hand she developed the really interesting softness. Both scenes felt much less representational, but also much more intimate with the added direction.

In week seven we spent most of our time on the Figaro Fandango and I felt really frustrated because I just couldn't seem to pick up what was happening. I arrived a few minutes late, but when I came in it seemed as though lots of things had been changed and switched around and I just couldn't seem to make sense of it. The first second section (we began with) I feel really comfortable with, but the sections don't feel connected at the moment, and the first section before the bridesmaids duet kept changing structure with different countings each time we ran through. I really struggled to keep up with this, and even though I find each of the individual movements fine, I found it hard to be flexible and keep up with the changes. I'm hoping the next week Lorena will be able to go over it again and I'll understand a bit better how each movement interacts with the ones before and after it.

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Gamelan | VSAO3601 | CDIME


Our final week of gamelan was interesting. We finished of Gilak Dung and played the whole piece through, including the introduction and the pengecet. We played most instruments in this, including the jegogan, gongs, trompong, kendang, kantilan and gangs. This piece is very low and of a religious nature, so we focused on putting people on the lower instruments. It was really exciting to see this piece finally come together.

The structure we followed was:

intro ||: lagu | kotekan 1 | kotekan 2 :|| pengecet

I found Gilak Dung really easy to remember week to week and I find that the melody is very easy to recall — the second kotekan was a little more difficult to remember, but this week it came back to me pretty easily. The Bapang Tembung however I’ve always found pretty difficult to recall, the melody stayed in my head a bit more this week, but overall this piece I found much harder. We spend the majority of time this piece re-learning the notes of the kotekan and second lagu, and then learning the pengecat (which was essentially a condensed version of the second lagu and kotekan). Because this piece is used played in a Royal Court we played it on the higher instruments (lighter, more delicate music is considered more luxurious), switching out the trompong for the reong, and the jegogan for the calung.


This week we were also given info sheets - they didn’t have much new info on them, but it was nice to see things written down and to have a reference for words and terms I couldn’t quite remember, and to have more specific terms for instruments and different types of kotekan, and the name of the Bapang Tembung which I kept forgetting!

This unit has mostly made me reflect on the effectiveness of teaching without sheet music, and I've been implementing this in my choral teaching. In ensembles, listening and copying may result in a slightly longer learning period, but I think it also creates less room for error once learned. Performers already have the music memorised allowing for more communication with the conductor during performance, and also since the conductor can communicate more effectively during the learning period, these intricacies are already in place.

I've really enjoyed learning these different techniques and elements of such an unfamiliar type of music, and I look forwards to playing more Gamelan in the future!


Once we went through it a few times, I felt much more comfortable with the fandango dance. I messed up the direction a few times in the beginning, but I feel much more comfortable with it now. I also finally understood the starting point and the change from duple time to triple. I think doing a little more practice at home will also make me feel a bit more comfortable.

I still didn’t feel great about the minuet — we had to do this step while spiralling into a whirlpool, and the tightness of the space made this really it really hard to get the step right as I was trying not to run into people. However, I had a little practice at home in my living room and felt a lot better. I also found it much easier without shoes on which was interesting.

I'm really excited to be working on the Bridesmaid 2 part this week, I've sung with Erina before and it'll be really nice to prepare this little duet with her. I've found myself singing more Soprano 2 parts lately, and while I usually hate it, I'm starting to enjoy the challenge and the strength in the lower parts of my voice -- its been nice to become more acquainted with them.

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This week I had my first two assignments due. I'm usually a last minute, late night essay writer, but I've been trying to stay more on top of things and use my time better, and hopefully this will result in a higher quality of work as well. I've been keeping up with my weekly blogs and class readings pretty well, but this week I've been struggling with my mental health and feeling really burnt out. I found it harder to engage during lectures, and getting the work done feels a lot harder, but I'm still going!

Gamelan | VSAO3601 | CDIME


Week three of Gamelan was interesting, and we built on the techniques and songs we learned in the first two weeks.

Gilak Dung (which I thought we had finished learning!) had a coda section in the same style of Kotekan as the first kotekan. The two sections used the same rhythm, but it was reversed in the sangsih. I actually didn't get to play this part much because I was moved onto the gongs to fill out the texture. Obviously this was incredibly exciting to me, but I also got to learn a whole new instrument and technique. This was much easier than the smaller instruments like the pemade or the kantilans, mainly because its a much slower part and I only had 3 notes to worry about. The technique was mostly easy and involved striking the centre of the gong in a downwards motion, however the smallest gong required me to flip the pungal over in my hand and strike it with the handle, which I found difficult.

Next we spent some time learning about the Reong, which looks a lot like the Trompong, but has more notes/gongs and can be played by up to four people at one. We played a Kotekan between four people, and we learned a few different techniques to create different sounds. The four players have to cover both the polos and sangsih, and the parts move up and down the instrument together.

Finally we played our new piece, which I still keep forgetting the name of. I couldn't remember the lagu at all until Anthony sang the start of it, but then it came right back and I found it easier to play than last week. I found the Kotekan easier to remember as the rhythm was quite distinct and has a very syncopated section near the end. I find it much harder to play this one as it moves a lot faster and has bigger jumps in it, but I think I like this one a lot and I like the way the sangsih and polos interact.

Next week is our final week of Gamelan, and I look forwards to looking back through the videos and reflections I've done on here and seeing my progress. And as much as I've enjoyed learning without being preoccupied by note taking, I'm looking forwards to having things on paper and having Peter's notes from the class.


This week we did a lot of work on movement and dance with Lorina who choreographed the dance break in amanti costanti. I’ve never been much of a dancer so this was a step outside of my comfort zone but I was excited to give it a shot and try something new.

I found the fandango easy enough to follow, in theory, but practically I found it difficult to put it all together. Each step made sense separately, but I struggled with the counting a bit, especially in the beginning as the starting point wasn’t clear at all. I found it really easy to copy her movements in the moment so I think some practice at home to practice the transitions between moves will really help me.

The Minuet was more difficult for me to grasp — I felt it was a bit rushed and we didn’t have as much time to ask questions and I missed steps. For example, I didn’t understand the second step when the foot sweeps through to the front and then you step onto it before step three — I took the sweep through and the step to be two different beats which messed me up. I think I’ll be ready to work on this again next week, now that I have a better understanding of the movements.

Minuet: Video Tutorial (from 1:51)

I searched up this video for a better understanding and its almost the same as what we did in class (less sweep though) — I’ve had a bit of a practice and feel a little more confident.


This week I've been working to complete my rationale for Share the Song and put together my Share the Song performance with Alicia. We decided to perform Sui Ja Re, an Indian lullaby her mother used to sing for her.

We transcribed it separately and brought it together today to figure out how our parts would work together. We wanted to perform it with as my integrity as possible, but we struggled to find authentic instruments -- ideally I would have performed the accompanying chords on an instrument like a guitar, but I'm not very strong on guitar so we're going to use a keyboard with a harmonium effect to recreate the sounds used in the recording. Alicia wanted to borrow a wooden flute from her aunt to play the flute solo on, however it was in the wrong key, so we tried to transfer the melody on to a recorder, which also didn't work because its a very old plastic record which we couldn't seem to get in tune, so we decided to put it onto clarinet.

We discussed concerns about having 'westernised' the song through this process, but decided we could maintain the integrity of the piece by using similar pitch bends on the clarinet that would be used in the flute part, and by singing the lyrics together in their original language.

I'm really excited to perform this song with Alicia and I think it'll be nice to share this beautiful piece with our peers.

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