World Music: Balinese Rhythms @ Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Online Course (self-paced)
Social Sciences; Arts

Price: Free

Length: 10 weeks
Effort: 6–7 hours per week
Level: Introductory

Learn and Play: An interactive course focusing on the rhythms of Bali.

This course provides an introduction to Balinese music, and the role of music in Balinese culture. Students will have the opportunity to both learn about and watch Balinese performances, as well as start to learn and practice the rhythms and techniques of Balinese gamelan online, using the Jamelan game. 

TheJamelan game, developed by MIT Professor of the Practice Eran Egozy, consists of rhythm recognition software similar to that used in ˜rhythm-based' video games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band, which Egozy also developed. 

Using the Jamelan, learners' progress is tracked and measured so that they can play along, hearing their accuracy audibly, but also having that accuracy measured digitally. By merging hands-on pedagogical tools based on traditional Balinese teaching methods, with new digital tools based on the gaming industry, the resulting learning experience is potent. 

Besides seeing and hearing these rhythmic patterns directly, and discovering the cultural context of these techniques, learners are also able to explore them in a personalized way, by working through exercises that hone their listening and musicianship skills.

Learners have the ability to loop, repeat, change speeds, etc., allowing for a much more personalized experience that responds to different individuals and allows for learners to practice at their own pace. Testing is based on the level of precision in playing along with these patterns, playing the beats, and, eventually, playing complementary parts.

What you'll learn

  • Increased awareness of the richness of Balinese musical traditions

  • Concepts and techniques of rhythm and metric structure

  • Deeper understanding of musical cultures in their own right and in their cultural contexts, as well as a larger cross-cultural awareness

  • Improvement of fundamental musical skills, which can be applied to any form of music

Prerequisites: None

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