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Chapter Twelve. Gamelan. Map of Indonesia. Gamelan (Indonesian Musical Ensemble). Most Common Ensembles Instruments made of Bronze Instruments made of Bamboo. Basic structural groups of the Gamelan instruments--. Wilah--bars and plates Pencon--gong-like instruments.

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Gamelan indonesian musical ensemble
Gamelan(Indonesian Musical Ensemble)

Most Common Ensembles

  • Instruments made of Bronze

  • Instruments made of Bamboo

Basic structural groups of the gamelan instruments
Basic structural groups of the Gamelan instruments--

  • Wilah--bars and plates

  • Pencon--gong-like instruments

Wilah (bars and plates)

Pencon(Knobbed, mostly gongs)


  • Gender ––– Bronze metallophone with 10 or more metal bars resting on bamboo resonators , one for each bar--played with disc-shaped wooden mallets.

    • large––– gendergede

    • small––– genderbarangan

  • Saron--- Bronze metallophone with 5-7 metal bars resting over a carved out wooden trough which serves as a pedestal and resonator--played with wooden mallets.

  • Calung--5 metal bars

  • Gender



    • Gong Ageng--largest and deepest suspended gong--starts and ends the complete metric cycle.

    • Kempyang--A very small gong laid over laced cord strung across the opening of a small box, played with a cord-wrapped stick. The kempyang alternates with the ketuk to further subdivide the cycle

    • Ketuk---A small gong laid over cord strung across the opening of a small box, played with a cord-wrapped stick. The ketuk divides the kenong period of the cycle.

    Other instruments
    Other Instruments


    Ceng-ceng (Cymbals)



    Musical characteristics
    Musical Characteristics


    • Slendro--five note scale, dividing the octave into five nearly equal parts

    • Pelog--seven tone scale, although only five of the seven pitches are typically used at one time. ---five and seven note octave causes “shimmering” sound


    • Monophonic texture--rarely

    • Heterophonic texture--more than one version of the melody is played at same time--used often

    • Polyphonic texture (kotekan)

    Gamelan music accompanies
    Gamelan Music Accompanies:

    • Religious Functions

    • Ritual Gatherings

    • Temple Festivals

    • Dance Dramas

    • Social Dancing

    • Shadow Puppet Theater (Wayang Kulit)

    Wayang kulit
    Wayang Kulit

    • “Shadow Puppet Theater”

    • Dalang (Puppetmaster/Priest)

    • Based on religious subjects

      • Parables

      • Myths

    • Or current topics of the day

      • Social

      • Political

    The ancient Indonesian art of shadow play or "Wayang Kulit" is a unique combination of ritual, lesson, and entertainment. Lacy shadow images are projected on a taught linen screen with a coconut oil lamp or electric light. The Dalang, or shadow artist, manipulates carved leather figures between the lamp and the screen to bring the shadows to life.

    Most shadow play is based on two epic stories from India. The Mahabarata and it's sister work, the Ramayana.