Bale Bengong

for Chinese Orchestra
Singaporean Youth Prize, Singapore International Competition for Chinese Orchestral Compositions

 

A Bale Bengong is a traditional pavilion found on the island of Bali in Indonesian. The name “Bale Bengong”, translated literally, would mean a “thinking house” or a “daydream house”, a place where one can carry out contemplative thinking or simply slip into a daydream amidst the stillness of the surroundings while being sheltered from the harsh South-east Asian sun.

 

The music utilizes a single motif written in a modified Pelog scale applying an impressionistic treatment to the subject matter while retaining a distinct individualistic voice. The layering of voices in a seemingly endless drone creates a meditative atmosphere. Together with the dynamic changes, allowing the different sonorities and timbres to subtly expose themselves and sublimating from the orchestra. The development of this piece is built upon the idea of gamelan music self-generating sonorities by layering linear motivic ideas and how variations in gamelan music is created by disrupting the strong beats of basic rhythms between instruments. In this piece, the presentation of similar gestures are displaced on a macro-structural level between sections to create something new from the familiar. A number of techniques such as air sounds, flutter tonguing and slap pizzicati are utilized to create timbrel interest.