Javanese rhythms were a hit with University of Hong Kong (HKU) students taking part in a series of musical workshops on campus. Some 18 students learnt to play the traditional gamelan instruments - the music of Indonesia. The instruments included the saron, a sort of xylophone struck with wooden mallet, bonang barung, a double row of bronze kettles on a horizontal frame, played with two long sticks and various gongs. The six workshops were led by Gatot Djuwito, a professional Javanese dancer and a musician with the Indonesian Consulate in Hong Kong. The word gamelan comes from the ancient Javanese root 'gamel '. But nowadays it refers to 'a Javanese orchestra'. Typical gamelan orchestra consists of 40 to 50 musicians playing mainly percussive instruments. The group may also have a dancer. The powerfully rhythmic music is associated with religious and social ceremonies and is often played at weddings and festivals. It is part and parcel of the Javanese way of life and culture. Unlike Western music, gamelan is cyclical. You will not hear a verse section, a bridge, a chorus, a solo section, and then the chorus all over again. The melody or theme that begins the piece will also end it. May Tam Yeung-mei, a first-year Japanese Studies student with a music minor, said she felt peace and joy when listening to gamelan. 'Although it's mostly percussion, I don't find the music chaotic or cluttered. 'It requires co-operation and teamwork. You can feel the power when all members play together with the same feeling. 'Because no one player is more important than other, everyone gives free reign to emotion. 'This is why I appreciate gamelan,' Ms Tam said. Third-year psychology student Iris Mak Hoi-yan liked the accessibility of the music. 'The exciting, cyclical rhythm is easy to learn, particularly for a newcomer,' she said. 'I only need to remember and practise my own part but when we play together, we manage to harmonise.'