The music of the rebab in Javanese gamelan
In this study I would like to demonstrate how important the role of the rebab is in the context of Javanese gamelan music. The rebab is one of the elaborating instruments in gamelan music. Its melody is important because it leads other instruments. In addition, it also improvises the balungan or the vocal melody. The balungan and the vocal melody inspire the melody of the rebab. Behind the vocal and the balungan melody, there are several concepts or principles that govern instrumental parts. These principles constrain the instrumental part and guide the elaboration of their treatment. Despite the constraints, however, the rebab is still flexible enough to improvise its melody. Its treatment shows how important the role of the rebab in the gamelan composition really is. Its role can be analyzed from its presence in gendhing type, vocal type, or a combination of those types of composition. In general, there are five basic constraints that are always present in the treatment of the rebab: the pathet, the balungan, the vocal melody, the scale, and the melodic formula. These constraints must be considered when a rebab player performs his part in a composition. The rebab treatment also has some flexibility in developing its part. By manipulating its melodic formulas, it becomes an entity that balances its flexibility within constraints. It is this relationship that generates the rebab treatment so that its presence in the ensemble becomes part of the complexity of the interwoven sound.