Gamelan originates as a form of music to accompany deaths, funerals and burials. Today, gamelan has greatly evolved and is presented as a welcome repertoire. In countries of Southeast Asia (SEA), gamelan music is heard at almost every formal function involving community leaders. Most universities play gamelan at graduation ceremonies or convocations. Gamelan also accompanies traditional Malay dances such as in the Malay royal musical, Asmaradana and Mak Yong. Asmaradana depicts the fairytale marriage of a Malacca king to an underworld legendary princess, Puteri Gunung Ledang. Mak Yong was once a court performance, but is now performed for the public. Gamelan is taught at the universities in Malaysia. It is also taught at a local community hall in a rural village in Kelantan.
What does gamelan try to portray? Why is gamelan selected over other musical forms of the Malay communities in SEA? What is special about gamelan?
In today's health world, researchers are trying to use traditional music to overcome problems of depression. Gamelan is touted as one of those that can help patients to overcome depressive moods.