The Gamelan in the Catholic Liturgy in Yogyakarta

Luca Pietrosanti

Abstract


This paper is a brief overview of the use of the gamelan together with the
polyphonic choir in the Roman rite of Holy Mass. Through the examination of
repertoires, interviews and active participation in rehearsals and Masses, this
work illustrates the types of compositions of liturgical music for gamelan as
well as the way these compositions are used. Particular attention is addressed
to some key-concepts of traditional gamelan music, such as gending, benthuk,
laras, pathet, garap. It will be apparent that these concepts are adapted, firstly
to integrate the gamelan with a vocal element, the choir (which is based on a
western tradition) and secondly, to meet the needs of the rite of Holy Mass.
Although indirectly, this paper also represents a paradigm of “Inculturation”,
which describes a process distinct from “Enculturation”. The term
“Inculturation” must be intended as “the incarnation of the Gospel in native
cultures and also the introduction of these cultures into the life of the Church”,
so defined by the Pope John Paul II in the encyclical Slavorum Apostoli, 2nd
June 1985, VI-21. Instead, with the term “Enculturation” we intend the process
by which an individual learns the traditional content of a culture and
assimilates its practices and values. Thus, the two words represent two
different processes of assimilation of culture.


Keywords


gamelan, polyphonic choir, chatolic liturgy, liturgical songs, inculturation

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.24821/ijcas.v6i1.3272

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