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What are the differences between the Javanese and the Western scale system? Explain the pelog and slendro tuning systems and their application in gamelan music.


The Javanese scale system comprises a five-tone and a seven-tone scale with irregular intervals, which differs from the tones of Western scale system. Pelog and slendro are two tuning systems in gamelan music, which are adopted by both Bali and Java. Each gamelan has its unique overall tune and sound, giving every instrument its tonal identity.

The Javanese scale system divides the octave into five or seven-tone scale with irregular intervals, producing different tones than the Western scale system. Gamelan music uses either the pelog or slendro system and each gamelan has its unique overall tune, contributing to the gamelan's signature sound. This unique sound comes primarily from pentatonic scales and intervallic structures used in these tuning systems. Learning gamelan has a unique approach to Western orchestral music where one must learn more than one instrument and understand the contributions of each to the whole.