The Porcelain and Crystal Gamelan is an idea inspired by the ancient Javanese gamelan, but also draws on various trends in experimental music, from Cage to Partch. This is a “collective instrument”, consisting of hundreds of pieces of porcelain, earthenware, stoneware, glass and crystal. Both a visual object and sculpture, it can take on many forms and dimensions and is rethought in funcion of the architecture space hosting it.
The Porcelain and Crystal Gamelan sounds unique, because it combines various kinds of timbres, and also because it is used in a strict relation with notions of space and trajectory.
Some have very marked base frequencies and sound like the notes of some conventional musical instruments. Others resonate complex sets of frequencies and sound like bells or electronic instruments. The Porcelain and Crystal Gamelan has a unique sound due to its
combination of various types of tones and its strict use in relation to the notion of space and structure. Musical works using this piece employ exploratory strategies and create mechanisms for structuring musical ideas that are not dependent on notation, based instead on the idea of collaboration and interpersonal communication. This allows people without musical training to be able to express themselves musically and those with more advanced training find that this instrument presents unique challenges.
A first version of the Porcelain and Crystal Gamelan was born in 2011 in the performance Um Plácido Domingo, as part of the Opus Tutti project. Since then, the Porcelain and Crystal Gamelan has been presented in various forms, ranging from a set piece to a workshop/training session. It has provided experiences to a wide and diverse audience, including young children, families, schools from different levels of education, people with special needs and professionals (musicians, educators, artists).
It has also been the central element of concerts or multidisciplinary shows, sharing space with other arts and musical or electronic instruments. The Porcelain and Crystal Gamelan is an artistic research project, jointly produced by Companhia de Música Teatral, the University of Aveiro and Vista Alegre Atlantis. It seeks to stimulate new performance practices and explore an interdisciplinary area that allows ideas to be generated and tested in musical composition, sculpture, creation of new instruments and pedagogics, as well as interpersonal communication, materials, acoustics and design.
Companhia de Música Teatral seeks to follow up on this work in two ways: a) selecting partners interested in hosting the Crystal and Porcelain Gamelan for future shows/exhibitions; b) developing creative projects inspired by the ideas of the Crystal and Porcelain Gamelan, but which use resources which currently exist in locale.
1. Exhibition of the piece as a sculpture/sound space, with the possibility of being freely used by the public;
2. Short workshops with groups of interested people that can extend from children up to musicians, professionals or communities;
3. Concerts or performances with a group of professional musicians with unspecified backgrounds and/or in conjunction with other artistic languages;
4. Carrying out a creative project/workshop culminating with the presentation of a final show;
5. DeCA-UA, with the project being discussed as part of Arte e Sons (Art and Sounds);
6. Publishing a catalogue with visual and audible pieces.
Between 2 and 6 months.
1. Building an instrument inspired by the Porcelain and Crystal Gamelan, using pieces collected by the participants or by the host institution;
2. Exploring the musical potential of the instrument constructed and creating a set of compositions;
3. Producing a concert for the general public.
At most one week.