The Dream City, Paul V. Galvin 
Digital History Collection
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  THE JAVANESE ORCHESTRA - On Midway Plaisance stood a large Javanese settlement, and, if we except the Ferris Wheel, furnished the best, most instructive, and least sordid entertainment of the celebrated street. Centrally in the settlement was a large native structure, made of bamboo, with thatched roof, from which continuously issued the deep sounds of strange instruments, sad in tone and monotonous, but always liquid and harmonious. It was said truly that the deepest note of the Fair was touched in the Javanese Theatre - a boom that impressed the hearer at a distance as if it were the vibration of some great musical string. The engraving reveals to the reader the methods by which this strange music was made. The orchestra was called a gamelung, or gong band, and it was organized and maintained by Mr. Kirkhovan, a wealthy Dutch planter. The main instruments are not the single-stringed viol, seen in front, for this is low and soft, but a series of hollow sounding music-box-like xylophones, or dulcimers, which are accompanied by beatings on a bronze gong more than six feet in diameter, and on drums, which are seen at the right. The marionettes of the play are stacked at the left. There was something very sad and sweet in the little Javan people, and they were lovers of this music, which soon became wearisome to an American who paid close attention to it. As a distant accompaniment of conversation, however, it would produce lasting memories in the minds of the visitor.
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Digital History Collection
Page created: August 26, 1998