> The Gamelan- The Original Beautiful Indonesian Musical Ensemble
Gamelan,an Original Indonesian Musical Ensemble

The Gamelan- The Original Beautiful Indonesian Musical Ensemble

Gamelan is a native Indonesian orchestra

Gamelan,an Original Indonesian Musical Ensemble

Gamelan is a form of musical ensemble that refers to the unity of musical instruments that ring together.

It is also an original Indonesian musical ensemble, especially from Javanese culture.

But actually, every region in Indonesia has its gamelan according to its characteristics.

Such as from Bali, Sunda, and Sumatra as well as several other areas also have gamelan with their characteristics.

But the Javanese is the most famous and most often performed even abroad.

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Various Kinds of Musical Instruments in Gamelan

The word gamelan comes from the Javanese “Gamel” which means “Beating or hitting” followed by the suffix “an” so that it means a noun.

This ensemble performance is often found in traditions on the islands of Java, Bali, Madura, and Lombok with various types and sizes of gamelan ensembles.

It consists of several traditional musical instruments such as Gendang, Gong, Saron, Bonang, Siter, Rebab, Flute, and many other musical instruments.


A Gendang or Kendang in Javanese is a musical instrument that functions as a regulator of the rhythm and tempo.

How to play it? by beating or hitting it.

Raw leather, either goat or cow skin is the material of Kendang.

In the hands of a reliable drum player, you will hear a beautiful harmonic sound.


The Gambang consists of an arrangement of 18 wooden or bamboo slats set on a resonator rack.

This bar wood is compiled in a row from smallest to largest to produce varied notes.

The Gambang function is for songwriters, to embellish the song with twists, and open xylophone songs.

This tool is beaten with percussion.


A gong made of brass metal and hung.

When it is played, the gong is held by five fingers and then hit with a short stick.

This tool functions as a rhythm holder, to strengthen the drum in determining the shape of the Gending (Instrumental )


The Rebab is like a typical Javanese stringed instrument similar to a violin or Erhu (Chinese instrument) which has three or two metal (copper) strings.

The Rebab is round with a long handle.

In Javanese gamelan, the Rebab not only serves as a complement to accompany the Sinden ( Javanese singer ) song. But also to guide the direction of the Sinden song.


The Suling serves as a song filler.

Usually made of bamboo it gives a hole as a tone determinant.

There are two Suling namely Slendro and Pelog (two scales of gamelan music ).

Slendro has 5 (five) notes per octave, namely 1 2 3 4 5 (C- D E+ G A) with the same interval.

Pelog has 7 notes per octave, namely 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (C+ D E- F# G# A B) with large interval differences.


Saron or commonly known as Ricik is one of the gamelan instruments that include the Balungan class or metal blade type musical instrument.

The Saron has 6 or 7 (1 octave) metal blades overlapped on a wooden frame that acts as a resonator.

Usually, there are 4 Sarons in gamelan with Pelog and Slendro barrel types.

The History of Gamelan

These traditional musical instruments have a long history. most people believe before the Hindu influence came.

But there is also an opinion that says since the kingdom in the 8th century to the 11th century.

The emergence of gamelan developed from the Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms in Sumatra, Bali, and Java.

This can be seen in the Borobudur temple monument which contains relief images of gamelan ensembles during the Srivijaya kingdom in the 6th to 13th centuries AD.

The development of gamelan then continued after the entry of Islam into the archipelago which used the arts in spreading its religion.

Gamelan Aesthetic Value

Gamelan has aesthetic values ​​in line with the life of the Javanese people such as social, moral, and spiritual values.

Other aesthetic values ​​in gamelan have a number of functions in Eastern society as traditional and cultural identities, especially in Javanese people

It can also function as a means of education, accompanying dances, enlivening events, and welcoming important guests.

Indonesia plans to propose gamelan instruments as intangible cultural heritage to UNESCO

Because Since the 19th century, gamelan has been famous abroad. Many famous composers in Europe have created beautiful symphonies because they heard the beautiful sound of the gamelan.

Types of Gamelan

Gamelan consists of several types and it has some differences.

The thing that distinguishes usually them is the composition of the traditional musical instruments used and their needs


This type of ensemble is used to accompany puppet shows.

In addition to the Slendro barrel, the Pelog barrel is also using this ensemble to accompany the wayang Madya and wayang Gedog performances.


Gamelan Cokekan is a type that is used for singing,

the musical instruments in this gamelan only consist of Siter, Drums, and Gongs or gongs made of wood.


This type of Sekaten will be used once a year.

Namely to commemorate the birth of Prophet Muhammad SAW on 6-12 Mulud (Javanese calendar)

And gamelan Sekaten plays in the courtyard of the Great Mosque. usually held in the palaces of Yogyakarta and Solo


The Gedhe type consists of a complete Ricikan, from the slendro barrel to the pelog barrel.

This type is usually in use in concerts musical performances or Uyon-uyon.


There are three types of Pakurmatan, namely Monggang, Caribbean, and Kodhok Ngorek.

This ensemble functions as an accompaniment for honorary events in Javanese culture, such as Grebeg Mulud, welcoming guests, and circumcision or wedding ceremonies for royal families.


The Gadhon type consists of the composition of Kendang, Siter, Gender, Slentem, Rebab, and Gongs.

This type is usually for the needs of people who have a simple event, namely circumcision, after the birth of a child, moving house, birthday, and so on.


The type of Senggani that made of iron and brass in the form of blades with a smaller size and is more practical.

This ensemble consists of Bonang, Barung, Bonang’s successor, Demung, Sarin, Slenthem, Kendang, Kempul, and Kenong.

This type of ensemble is usually for musical practice in villages to accompany the dance






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