Last week was the week from hell. Sunday night (following a 3 hour Gamelan rehearsal), I felt like pureed shite. I had been tired before the rehearsal, but the afterwards level of exhaustion did not even begin to compare with my earlier state.
The next day I had the big D (diarrhea). I figured it was just the exhaustion speaking until the fever started up. From there I moved onto screaming headaches, joint pains, friggin’ skin pain. Hell, even my eyebrows hurt. Tuesday I had no stomach problems, but the headaches were back full force and the low grade fever continued. At one point it felt like someone was spray painting the backsides of my eyeballs. Wednesday was the worst though. I had diarrhea from 2 am through about 8:30 am that morning. And a fever later that day . . . and a headache. Thursday morning was marginally better. No fever, stomach stuff was almost bearable and by 2:30 that afternoon, I was starting to feel sort of alive. I also went to work from 12-5 pm that day.
Then, Thursday 7-10 pm, I went through a Gamelan rehearsal in prep for our big concert on Saturday evening. Friday morning we went and played for an elementary school. We met at the music building at 7:30 am in order to load up the instruments. We got back at 11 am. At 12 pm, I again went to work for 5 hours. At 7 pm that night, once more, I had yet another 3 hour rehearsal. We had a guest artist there whom we had met initially the night before. That night he taught us 2 new pieces by rote. One of them had a 32 note pattern in it that we repeated for about an hour.
Gamelan instruments, at least the ones we have, have 4 notes. In my case (on the Jegogan), those four notes are in the bass clef and they are A (first space), B, C and E. Likewise, they are also referred to via numbers. My teacher uses A – 1, B – 2, C -3, and E – 5. Our guest artist used the same numbers minus the fact that he called the E “4.” Here’s the pattern that I eventually figured out: 44424241333421342224242311342132. Or, as my prof pointed out, you could arrange them into 4 groups of 8 notes each for a total of 32 notes with some kind of disternable pattern:
Basically the way I remembered it was to always remember that the note I ended on for each set was the opposite direction from the note I was going to play on the next set of 8. That, and the 2nd and 4th [measures] groups tended to move outwards from the center: 2134 and 2132. And then you just repeat that figure about 3 thousand times, and then you have some concept of what I did Friday night. And Saturday afternoon – 1pm to 4:15pm . . . and Saturday night – 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Heh.
Another unique trait of Gamelan ensembles is that for most of the instruments, they are paired by way of male and female instruments. The female instruments are always pitched a little bit lower than the male ones, creating a shimmery sound as a result. The bars of the instruments are made out of bronze, and are exceptionally loud. We all wore earplugs (minus a few dumb souls).
Between 9 hours of rehearsals in 3 days and 10 hours of work too, plus 2 performances, following a week of sickness, I found myself pretty exhausted come Sunday . . . Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and oh, what’s today? Oh yes, Thursday. Did I also mention that I had to sing in church at the early service the next day? 8 am call. Plus, I had a presentation on Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring (no easy task, that) Monday evening, the 6th of October. AND, from having been sick and all, I was behind on my homework.
So now, today (Thursday, I think we established that it is), I’m almost caught up on my homework. I got through the presentation. Luckily I had already gotten some books out of the library. I only owe 3 things to profs, as opposed to the 10 I owed yesterday. Today I have a piano lesson and then work for 5 hours. It’s 7:10 am, I’ve been up since 5 am. I’ve gotten up at 5 am every day this week in an effort to get caught up. In a little bit I’m going to go and practice my customary 2 hours of piano morning practice. And from there I’ll just keep plodding on.
In the meantime, might I suggest you checking out Finetune? It’s a site where you can set up playlists and play just about anything you like. It’s free, but requires a registration. There are only 2 limitations (not that bad really): You can only have 3 of any artist on your playlist at any time, and only 4 from the same album. But you can set up as many playlists as you want and right now I have 4 – most of whom are sporting somewhere in the 55 song vicinity (minus one which is at about 110 or so). Maybe I’ll stick one of my playlists here. I don’t know. I haven’t decided. I greatly enjoy being able to listen to new music for free. And btw record companies, I’m thinking about buying a few of the cds too! And I wouldn’t have done that otherwise, so meh. *sticks out tongue*
In other news, as well as being behind in schoolwork, I also need to do my laundry. Luckily it cooled off a bit this week, so I’ve been getting around the lack of t-shirts by just wearing long-sleeved t-shirts.
Oh, and for our performance, we wore garb that was at least semi-traditional. The guest artist was originally from Bali, which is where the type of Gamelan music that we’re playing originates. His daughter also danced for the concert. Highly interesting.