Gamelan: characteristics, price, and history of the ethnic musical instrument


Gamelan is an instrument of traditional Indonesian and Malaysian music. Gamelan ensembles are made up of various metal percussion instruments. The name “gamelan” comes from the hammer-type Javanese gamel used by blacksmiths. It has a long history and has already appeared in the 8th century Borobudur Temple. This instrument is now world-famous and has players outside of Southeast Asia.


This instrument was born in Indonesia and Malaysia.

About the price

The price ranges from a few thousand yen to several tens of thousands of yen.

Gamelan history

Gamelan has a long history and has already appeared in the 8th century Borobudur Temple. From the 12th to the 15th centuries, Gamelan began to remain in historical documentary records. Since we have developed unique styles for each region, there are three main styles: Java, Sunda, and Bali. The Javanese style is from Central and East Java, originally developed in connection with the court and used for various ceremonies, dances and shadow puppet shows. The Sunda style is the style of Sunda in West Java, and there are two types, the gamelan pélog saléndro, which has almost the same organization as the Java style, and the smaller gamelan dugun g. Děgung, which is unique to Sunda. The Balinese style is a Balinese style, based on the tone rows Sai Lima saih lima and Sai Pitu saih pitu that match Javanese slendro and pero, but unlike Java, gamelan with various forms and music is used. Various types coexist for each. Currently, gamelan performances are actively performed all over the world, and some of them have their own development in each region.

Gamelan features

Gamelan is ensemble music and has no sheet music. While repeating the basic tune, each instrument chops the rhythm and incorporates the melody to play. In addition to percussion instruments that play tunes, the instruments used in gamelan include drums, gongs, and stringed instruments. There are various types of gamelan, and there are various combinations of musical instruments used, but there are typical musical instruments among them. Gansa is a metallophone with a bronze keyboard and a bamboo resonance tube. Kendang is a drum made by hollowing out a Nanka tree and putting cow skin on both sides. Gongs play a role in audible repetitive milestones. Rayon is a musical instrument like an inside-out “kettle” with a scale.

Gamelan song

Gamelan is often used in traditional Southeast Asian music. It is also often used in games, animation and movies.


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