|Lancar||1:1 in anticipation|
5 . 3 .
5 5 3 3
5 5 3 3 5 5 3 3
Javanese rhythmic structures are based on duple (2) and quadruple (4) divisions of units of time. This is a very common occurance in Western music as well, but with some important differences.
In Western music, a group of beats, as one would find in the meter 4/4, the first beat receives the strongest accent, the third beat a lesser accent, and the second and fourth beats are "weak", or unaccented. In Javanese music, the exact opposite is true. The last beat of a group of four is the most important, the second is somewhat less so, and the first and third the least so. This is true at every structural level.
For example: the Gong is normally divided into 2 or 4 kenongs. The last of these kenongs is of the greatest importance, as it coincides with the gong.
N N N (N)
The kenong is then divided into 2, 4, 8, or 16 beats by the balungan (even more in large gendhing), which will be in groups of 4, called gatras. In each gatra, the last note will be the one that is accented. Here are some examples of balungan/kenong relationships (X=balungan note):
N N N N 2 beats/kenong X X X X X X X (X) N N N N 4 beats/kenong X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X (X) N N 8 beats/kenong X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X N N X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X (X)
The last note in each gatra is called a seleh, and is the most important note. Many elaborating instruments play patterns based on the seleh only, with little or no regard to the other notes in the gatra. And when the elaborating instruments divide the beats into 4 part, or 16 notes to gatra, again the 4th, 8th, 12th, and 16th notes of their patterns will be the ones that coincide with the balungan beat.
N 5 3 5 6 3 5 6 i Gender: | 535. 535i 565i 56i6 565. 5653 656. 656i | ...2 1653 .535 6126 ..61 212. ..32 1261
This process is true for duple divisions of the beat as well. In a piece where the bonang divides the balungan beat into 2 (irama tanggung), it will do so by taking each pair of balungan notes and playing them twice, at twice the speed, such that the 4th bonang note coincides with the 2nd balungan note:
Balungan: 2 3 2 1 3 5 3 2 Bonang: 2 3 2 3 2 1 2 1 3 5 3 5 3 2 3 2
Notice again how on the "weak" beats, the first and third, the pitches of the instruments do not match, but rather only on the "strong" beats, the second and fourth.This is especially apparent in the lancaran form. The lancaran divides the kenong into 4 balungan beats, but the "weak" first and third are silent. The bonang fills in the holes left by the slenthem, playing in octaves on the pitch of the kenongs. However, the kenong takes its pitch, not from the last note of the gatra, but from the last notes of the second and fourth gatras:
N5 N5 N6 N6 Balungan: . 6 . i . 6 . 5 . 6 . 5 . i . (6) Bonang: | 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 6 | 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 6