Gamelan Instruments

Bonang, Celempung, Gambang, Gender, Kempul, Kendhang, Kenong, Rebab, Saron, Suling

Gamelan Instrument Assignment Instructions




Name: Bonang
Alternate Name(s): Bonang Barung
Geographic Region: Southeast Asia
Country of origin: Indonesia
Classification: Idiophone
Material: Wood, Bronze, Cords

Physical description
The bonang consists of two rows of horizontal gong-kettles with the open side facing down, which is placed on cords stretched over a rectangular wooden-frame. The bonang is played with two cylindrical sticks, which are padded with cord at the striking end. A full gamelan set has two kinds of bonang: bonang barung and bonang panerus; the latter is one octave higher than the former (its lower octave overlaps with the higher octave of bonang barung). Depending on the tuning system, a bonang may have fourteen gong-kettles for pelog (seven in each row), or twelve or ten for slendro (six or five in each row). Some gamelan may also have bonang panembung, a bonang whose octave range is one octave lower than bonang barung.

From: Sumarsan, "Virtual Instrument Museum." 2003.http://learningobjects.wesleyan.edu/vim/cgi-bin/instrument.cgi?id=33 (accessed 11/19/2006).


Name: Celempung
Geographic Region: Southeast Asia
Country of origin: Indonesia
Classification: Chordophone


Physical description
The celempung is a type of plucked-zither that is set on four legs with the front legs higher than the two rear legs; hence, the instrument slopes downward toward the player. The celempung has thirteen pairs of strings, which are stretched between the tuning pins at the higher and lower ends of the instrument. The strings rest on the bridge that is placed across the sound board (body of the instrument). The celempung is played with thumbnails, while the fingers damp the sound of the strings.

From: Sumarsan, "Virtual Instrument Museum." 2003.http://learningobjects.wesleyan.edu/vim/cgi-bin/instrument.cgi?id=35 (accessed 11/19/2006).



Name: Gambang
Geographic Region: Southeast Asia
Country of origin: Indonesia
Classification: Idiophone
Material: Wood

Physical description and technique
The gambang is a wooden xylophone with seventeen to twenty-one keys with the range of two octaves or more. The keys rest on a wooden box that also functions as resonator. The gambang is played with two disc-type beaters that have long, somewhat flexible horn handles. Most of the time, the gambang plays in octaves (gembyang). Only occasionally a few ornamental styles of playing may be employed, such as playing kempyung (playing two notes separated by two keys).

From: Sumarsan, "Virtual Instrument Museum." 2003.http://learningobjects.wesleyan.edu/vim/cgi-bin/instrument.cgi?id=42 (accessed 11/19/2006).



Name: Gender

Geographic Region: Southeast Asia
Country of origin: Indonesia
Classification: Idiophone
Definition: Metallophone with bronze keys, each suspended by strings, over individual resonators, in a wooden frame.
Material: Wood, Bamboo, Rope, Bronze

Physical description
The gender is a metallophone with bronze keys suspended by cords in a wooden frame, over individual tube resonators for each key.
Technique
It is played with two padded disc type mallets. The player holds the mallets differently between the left and right hand, which requires a certain kind of finger positioning. The playing technique of the gender requires the dampening of the keys with the fingers. Depending on the rhythmic duration, the key is dampened slightly after or at the same time that the next key is struck. In rapid passages, the player may have to dampen two keys simultaneously.

From: Sumarsan, "Virtual Instrument Museum." 2003.http://learningobjects.wesleyan.edu/vim/cgi-bin/instrument.cgi?id=12 (accessed 11/19/2006).



Name: Kempul
Geographic Region: Southeast Asia
Country of origin: Indonesia
Classification: Idiophone
Material: Wood, Bronze, Cords

Physical description
The other hanging gongs are basically called Kempul. The number of Kempul in a Javanese gamelan is not standardized; it varies from gamelan to gamelan. Like Gong Ageng, Kempul has a flat surface with a protruding knob at the center.
Kempul produces a higher pitch than Gong Ageng. The sizes of Kempul are different too. Different sizes of Kempul produce different pitches. The smaller size produces the higher pitch, and the larger produces the lower pitch.
The mallet used to strike on the knob is the same as the one used on the Gong Ageng, except, it is smaller in size. It is a wooden mallet with a ball-shape head and heavy padding on a short wooden handle.

From: Sumarsan, "Virtual Instrument Museum." 2003.http://learningobjects.wesleyan.edu/vim/cgi-bin/instrument.cgi?id=36 (accessed 11/19/2006).



Name: Kendhang
Alternate Name(s): Kendang
Geographic Region: Southeast Asia
Country of origin: Indonesia
Classification: Membranophone
Definition: Double-headed asymmetrical laced drum that is horizontally held on a stand.
Material: Wood, Goatskin, Leather

Physical description
The kendhang is a two-headed, barrel shaped, asymmetrical drum with heads that are stretched with leather hoops laced in a "Y" pattern. Held horizontally on the stand, kendhang is played with bare hands (part of the palm and/or fingers). Commonly, the large head is played with the right hand, the small head with the left hand.

From: Sumarsan, "Virtual Instrument Museum." 2003.http://learningobjects.wesleyan.edu/vim/cgi-bin/instrument.cgi?id=32 (accessed 11/19/2006).



Name: Kenong
Geographic Region: Southeast Asia
Climatic type: Tropical
Classification: Idiophone
Material: Wood, Bronze, Cords

Physical description and technique
Kenong is the largest cradled gong. The wooden case that support the Kenongs are like two wooden boxes open at the top and the bottom, and sharing a common side. Two pieces of stout cord which cross diagonally, from each corner, are placed across the top. These cords serve as the support of the Kenongs. Each case hold two Kenongs. In some gamelans, there are wooden cases which hold three Kenongs.
Usually, there are more Kenongs then Kempuls in a gamelan. All gamelan pieces require Kenongs, but not all require Kempuls. The numbers of Kenong varied in different gamelans, however, normally there are about ten Kenongs in a gamelan. All Kenongs are arranged around the Kenong player. Because of this setting, sometimes we called this a gong-chimes. The player will strike on the knob with with sticks that are lightly padded with coiled string.
From: Sumarsan, "Virtual Instrument Museum." 2003.http://learningobjects.wesleyan.edu/vim/cgi-bin/instrument.cgi?id=46 (accessed 11/19/2006).


Name: Rebab

Alternate Name(s): Rabāb, rubāb, rubob, rebab, rabob, robāb, ribāb, rbab, rabāba
Geographic Region: Southeast Asia
Country of origin: Indonesia
Classification: Chordophone
Definition: A two-stringed bowed lute found mainly in the Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and North Africa.
Material: Wood, Bamboo, Brass, Coconut Shell, Cow Bladder
Physical Description and Technique
The rebab is a two-stringed bowed lute with a heart-shaped body of wood covered with a membrane made of parchment from a cow bladder. Pierced through the body, a long spike made of wood or ivory, or a combination of both, supports the strings at the top and serves as a foot at the bottom. The brass strings are stretched up across the membrane from a point on the leg (just below the body) to the elongated pegs in the upper part of the spike. When the rebab is bowed, the strings must rest on top of a small wooden bridge (srenten). The bridge is positioned between the strings and the upper part of the membrane. The bow consists of horsehairs loosely attached to the bow's two ends. While playing the rebab, the player must pull the horsehairs to a particular tension in order to produce the desired volume and sound from the strings.

From: Sumarsan, "Virtual Instrument Museum." 2003.http://learningobjects.wesleyan.edu/vim/cgi-bin/instrument.cgi?id=31 (accessed 11/19/2006).



Name: Saron
Alternate Name(s): Slenthem, Demung, Saron Barung,Saron Panerus, Peking.
Geographic Region: Southeast Asia
Country of origin: Indonesia
Classification: Idiophone
Definition: Metallophones with six or seven bronze keys placed on a wooden frame.
Material: Wood, Bronze

Physical description
The saron is a metallophone with six or seven keys that rest on a wooden trough, which also serves as resonator. Three instruments belong to the saron family that employ different sizes and pitch registers: the largest size with the lowest register is called demung; the medium size with a medium octave range, saron barung; and the smallest size and highest register, saron panerus or peking. A full ensemble may have two demung, four saron, and two peking. Another instrument that musically falls in the saron family is slenthem, but physically it is built similar to the gender (i.e. suspended by a cord over tube resonators).

From: Sumarsan, "Virtual Instrument Museum." 2003.http://learningobjects.wesleyan.edu/vim/cgi-bin/instrument.cgi?id=21 (accessed 11/19/2006).



Name: Suling

Alternate Name(s): Seruling
Geographic Region: Southeast Asia
Country of origin: Indonesia
Classification: Aerophone
Definition: Bamboo ring flute of Indonesia, Malaysia and the southern Philippines.
Material: Bamboo

Physical description
The Suling is a simple bamboo flute. A notch is cut into the the side of the top end, and this top end is surrounded by a rattan of bamboo ring, leaving a small slit where the player will put his mouth on. Suling is the simplest and cheapest instrument in the gamelan.
There are basically two types of Sulings, one with five finger-holes and one with four finger-holes. Each has a different tuning system. There are five finger-holes for the pelog system and four for the slendro system.

From: Sumarsan, "Virtual Instrument Museum." 2003.http://learningobjects.wesleyan.edu/vim/cgi-bin/instrument.cgi?id=5 (accessed 11/19/2006).

Gamelan Instrument Assignment


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