Gamelan Music

Gamelan is a traditional musical form originating in Indonesia. It is ensemble music that is based around groups comprised of predominantly metal percussion instruments, as well as the occasional flute, stringed instrument, or vocalist. The early origins of Gamelan are not clearly recognised however by the 12th century Gamelan music had an important role in court music. The Gamelan style was influenced by some other traditions, with the most notable change being the introduction of the gong which is now central to the musical style. The music is based around a central nuclear theme that is the core of the piece. Different instruments layer on top of each other playing embellished or altered versions of this nuclear theme in what is known as heterophony. 

There are three main instrument families in Gamelan that fulfil different functions: the balungan instruments play the nuclear theme, which is called the balungan, interpunctuating instruments divide the phrases and mark new sections, and the panerusan instruments play embellished variations of the theme. The balungan instrument is commonly a metallophone or more specifically the saron which is a single octave instrument of seven metal bars. Important interpunctuating instruments are the gong ageng (a large gong), the kempel (a collection of medium sized gongs), and the kenong (a smaller, horizontal kettle-like gong). Panerusan instruments include the gambang (a wooden, xylophone-like instrument), the bonang (collection of small, horizontal gongs), and the celempung (a plucked zither-like instrument).

Notable artists:

Suara Parahiangan

Gamelan Pacifica

Gentra Pasundan

Ujang Suryana

If you want to commission your own music in this style, or would like more information or help, please contact us.