The Influence of Balinese Gamelan on the Music of Olivier Messiaen

by Puspita, Amelia

Abstract (Summary)
Olivier Messiaen gave many interviews throughout his life, in which he revealed the influence of many foreign cultures. However, the only time he mentioned the influence of the Balinese gamelan was in the sleeve note of an RCA recording of the Turangalîla-Symphonie played by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra conducted by Seiji Ozawa. Although his connection to Balinese gamelan seems tenuous, Messiaen was nevertheless influenced strongly by this culture. He might have encountered and witnessed live performances of Balinese dance and gamelan in the 1931 Paris Colonial Exhibition, whose evocation might have influenced him in evocating the sound of Balinese music in his works.   The document provides a general history of Bali Island and also explains the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the 1931 Colonial Exhibition. A brief description of the Balinese society, their music and the gamelan instruments is included to give readers a general understanding about the music. It analyses all types of connections that Messiaen had with Balinese gamelan and provides a thorough methodology in determining the exact evocation of Balinese music in Messiaen's works. The analysis of six major works follows, using three of the major piano works (Vision de l'Amen, Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant Jésus, and Quatre Études de Rhythme) and as many of the orchestral works (Trois Petites Liturgies, Turangalîla-Symphonie, and Chronochromie). Two comparison tables between Balinese gamelan instruments equivalent to Western instruments are available to aid in finding Balinese evocation in Messiaen's music.
Bibliographical Information:


School:University of Cincinnati

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:balinese gamelan olivier messiaen


Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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