A General Guide To Gamelan Orchestras

 

Throughout the Indonesian Archipelago, there are many different types of gamelan orchestras which differ as to their composition. Furthermore, the instruments are given names, which are sometimes used too specifically or too broadly, leading to ambiguity and confusion.

 

This guide serves to simplify the types, terms and composition of the major types of gamelan instruments and to offer suggestions on how the pieces may be represented in a gamelan orchestra. Specifically, this guide focuses on the flat gong, kettledrums and xylophone instruments which are represented by Golden Chersonese Miniatures. It is a working draft based on continual research and discovery, and we would welcome any inputs for future revisions.

 

Flat gong

 

The most important instrument is the Gong ageng which is made in different dimensions. We use different gong castings to represent this variation in size. These gongs are hung in various ways on supports (gayor).

 

http://www.gcmtoy.com/up161108_1.jpg  http://www.gcmtoy.com/up161108_2.jpg  http://www.gcmtoy.com/up161108_3.jpg  http://www.gcmtoy.com/up161108_4.jpg

Production models of common gayor and different modes of hanging the gongs

 

Outside of the Kraton (palace) court, Gong ageng supports (gayor) are generally of simpler construction than the ornate court Raffles Gamelan Gong ageng gayor.

 

        

These simpler gayor will be featured in Sets A3 within Series A Bali. and Set B3c JAVANESE GAMELAN GENDER WAYANG ORCHESTRA.

 

Kettledrums

 

These are suspended singly (kenong or kajar) or in multiples (reyong or boning).

 

Xylophones

 

There are only two major types of gamelan orchestras:- Balinese or Javanese. The Balinese gamelan is typified by having the keys of their xylophones suspended over bamboo tubes (gangsa) whereas the Javanese gamelan xylophones have their keys placed on a wooden trough (saron). The gangsa section in gamelan gong kebyar is the largest section, consisting of 13 players.

 

One instrument, the gender is found in both Balinese and Javanese gamelan orchestras, and is the main metallophone in wayang kulit gamelan orchestras.

 

An instrument using wooden keys (gambang kayu) is sometimes found within the gangsa section.

 

Golden Chersonese Miniatures produces musicians with the following types of mallets:

 

Round mallet

Padded mallet

Rope-wound mallet

Horn or Wooden mallet

 

    

Round Mallet                         Padded Mallet                        Two Padded Mallets

 

    

Horn or Wooden Mallet        Rope-wound Mallet              Two Rope-wound Mallets

 

The musicians with the correct mallet should be placed before their respective instruments.

 

The table below summarises the three main types of flat gongs, kettledrums and xylophones and their common names as used in Balinese and Javanese gamelan orchestras. Where possible, the types and numbers of mallets used are also indicated.

 

Tabulation on the gangsa and gender instruments and type of mallets

 

Balinese

Javanese

Mallet

Numbers

Remarks

 

Flat Gongs

 

 

Hanging gong

Gong Ageng

Gong Ageng

Round

1

These gongs may be hung singly or with other gongs on a gayor

Gong Kempul

Gong Kempul

Round

1

Gong Kemong

Gong Klentong

Round

1

Horizontal gong

Gong  Kethuk

Gong Kempyang

Round

1

 

Kettledrums

 

Single kettledrum

Kenong

Kenong

Rope-wound

1

 

Kajar

Kajar

Rope-wound

1

 

 

 

Multiple kettledrums

Reyong

 

Bonang

 

Rope-wound

1-2

Several Balinese musicians each use 1 Mallet

In Gong Kebyar, a single musician uses 2 Mallets

A single Javanese musician use 2 Mallets

Xylophones

 

 

Gangsa

Saron

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Metal keys

Slenthem 7 keys

 

Padded

1

 

Gender Bamboo resonators

Gender Bamboo resonators

Padded

2

With/without  stool

Ugal (giying) 7-12 keys

 

Horn

2

stool

Pemade

7-12 keys

Saron

Bonang Barung

Horn

1

 

Kantilan

7-12 keys

Saron

Bonang Demang

 

Horn

1

 

Jegogan

5 keys

 

Padded

1

stool

Calung(Jublag)

5 keys

 

Padded

1

 

Penyacah

5 keys

 

Padded

1

 

Wooden keys

Gambang kayu

 

Gambang kayu

 

Padded

1-2

 

 

Golden Chersonese Miniatures produces complete sets of gamelan orchestras which have the basic and correct representation of musical instruments within each type of gamelan. A partial number of musicians are provided for each set. This basic representation is correct in that for various performances, not all the musicians are playing at the same time and some musicians are expected to double for other musical instruments.

 

Customers who have purchased any of the boxed gamelan orchestras may wish to add additional musicians to represent a full complement of musicians. The table helps them to identify the suitable musicians holding the correct mallet types and numbers to fill the gap.

 

Note also that the kendhang drummer may be obtained with one or two kendhang drums. Sometimes only one kendhang drummer is used; at other times, two kendhang drummers play together.

 

kraycom drum

DRUMMERS WITH EITHER LARGE OR SMALL KENDHANG

 

Some of these drummers have had two kendhang (drum) attached directly. This allows not only for the correct representation of a pair of kendhang drums for each type of gamelan orchestra, but also for the substitution of another musician in place of the second kendhang drummer in some gamelan sets.

 

kraycom drumplus 

DRUMMERS WITH TWO KENDHANG EACH

 

kRAYcom drumplus under

UNDERSIDE OF EACH PIECE

THE LARGE KENDHANG IS FIRMLY ATTACHED WITH PIN AND EPOXY GLUE

 

 

The inclusion of a singer (pesinden) is optional. The pesinden is usually part of a wayang gamelan orchestra.

 

Similarly, the celempung is an optional instrument in many gamelan orchestras. The celempung features in the fore of a gamelan siteran orchestra.

 

Set B3c JAVANESE GAMELAN GENDER WAYANG ORCHESTRA. will also feature a typical Javanese saron.

 

The Balinese typically use frog or turtle-shaped ceng-cengs. We offer the latter with all SET A3 Balinese Gamelan Orchestras.

 

   Availability of a recent coloured picture of a ceng-ceng in the Raffles gamelan has allowed us to upgrade this piece with a more realistic and satisfying paint job.

 

scanco                         P1040007                       P1040006

 

Original Ceng-ceng                                               Initial Production                                               Improved Production

               

Note that the ornate court Gamelan Gong ageng gayor and duck ceng-ceng castings will be restricted to sets Set B3a JAVANESE KRATON GAMELAN GONG ORCHESTRA and Set B3b JAVANESE KRATON GENDER WAYANG ORCHESTRA.

 

 

When ordering these additional musicians, please let us know your preference for a specific painting style, if any.  We will entertain requests as we produce musicians to represent the Balinese, Javanese or Javanese Kraton (Solo or Yogya), with no extra charge to the basic cost.

 

Finally, note that Indonesian gamelans are specifically produced and tuned to either of two scales: slendro or pelog. Many gamelan groups actually lay out two complete sets of instruments for a single performance which may include pieces to be performed in either scale. Thus the more adventurous collector possessing a gamelan orchestra may wish to order another complete set of gamelan orchestra to represent this feast. If so, note that the two sets of instruments are usually placed at right-angles to each other. Then depending on the specific music being played, the same musicians then orientate themselves to the appropriate set of instruments accordingly.

 

Please click on the below links to view the following sets:

 

SET A3 Balinese Gamelan Orchestras

 

SET B3 Javanese Kraton Gamelan Orchestras