Making Gamelan Melayu accessible to all.
Gamelan Symphony Festival (GSF) was held for the first time in 2018 at the Sultan Alam Shah Islamic College (KISAS) as a showcase of Gamelan Melayu, with 6 local Gamelan groups from both secondary and tertiary education institutions participating. In the following year of 2019, the project was given an upgrade and GSF 2.0 took place as a Gamelan competition, bringing in competitors from a total of 8 secondary and tertiary education institutions, with KISAS emerging as the winner.
This year, GSF is going virtual.
2020's GSF, the Virtual Gamelan Symphony Festival (VGSF), aims to make Gamelan Melayu accessible to the masses, through simple and easy-to-follow video lessons uploaded to this very site.
We hope that delivering Gamelan Melayu in this palatable format to the younger generation will aid in the preservation of this beautiful art form, preventing it from getting washed away in the waves of time.
REVIVING THE DYING ART OF GAMELAN MELAYU
Gamelan Melayu is said to have originated in the Srivijaya Empire in the 7th and 9th century and subsequently expanded to the Riau-Lingga Sultanate. In the 19th century, Gamelan was brought to Pahang, thus making Gamelan Melayu one of the oldest musical instruments found in Peninsular Malaysia today. Gamelan music existed primarily amongst the ruling class and was passed down to “Istana Penyengat Riau” (literally translates to Riau Wasp Palace), then to “Istana Pahang” (Pahang Palace), and finally to “Istana Terengganu” (Terengganu Palace). The initial role of Gamelan was as an accompaniment to the traditional dance known as “Joget Pahang”. This was usually performed for guests of the palace in elaborate ceremonies.
Since then, Gamelan has continued to be played amongst both the common folk and those of high social standing, having little to no function outside of ceremonial performances. Gamelan Melayu is now essentially no more than "party music" and shall be lost to the newer generations should its preservation and integration into everyday culture not be achieved. Under the Malaysian Ministry of Education's compulsory Community Engagement Project (MPU4), Virtual Gamelan Symphony Festival was created with the intent of saving Gamelan Melayu from its cultural wipeout by offering a simple and free platform for anyone of any age to learn about Gamelan Melayu, without even leaving their beds.