Darina Khun (17), of Wellington, takes part in a gamelan music performance at the University of Otago yesterday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Leading secondary school science pupils from throughout the
country responded enthusiastically to gamelan music during a
class at the University of Otago's latest
''Hands-on-Science'' school yesterday.
Jennifer Cattermole, a lecturer in the Otago music
department, was teaching the class, offered as one of a
series of short ''snack'' options, taken by about 130 senior
secondary pupils attending the annual school.
The pupils, from throughout the country, also pursue
individual research projects during the week-long school.
Gamelan was the name for a type of traditional Southeast
Asian musical ensemble consisting mainly of ''struck metal
bars and gongs'', Dr Cattermole said. The word itself came
from the Javanese word ''gamel'', referring to a type of
hammer like a blacksmith's hammer.
Darina Khun (17), who was born in Cambodia and lives in
Wellington, was among 18 pupils attending the class.
''It's simple to play. It sounds great,'' she said.
Dr Cattermole said she had long enjoyed gamelan music.
''The instruments and their music are really accessible; the
main prerequisites are an ability to count from one to seven
- the notation's numerical - an openness to new sounds, and
lots of enthusiasm.''
The gamelan ensemble remained an ''integral element of
Indonesian culture'', and its popularity had extended
worldwide, also influencing some New Zealand composers, she
School co-ordinator Rose Newburn said the school had added
snack classes in law, music and theatre studies, to more
science-related snacks during the past three years.
This reflected the many talents of participating pupils and
the wide range of study options open to University of Otago
students even when majoring in science subjects.