Gambang

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Gambang
COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Xylofoon met twintig toetsen onderdeel van gamelan Slendro TMnr 500-9.jpg
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Developed Indonesia

A gambang, properly called a gambang kayu ('wooden gambang') is a xylophone-like instrument used among people of Indonesia in gamelan and kulintang, with wooden bars as opposed to the metallic ones of the more typical metallophones in a gamelan. A largely obsolete instrument, the gambang gangsa, is a similar instrument made with metal bars.

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Gambang kayu

The bars of the instrument are made of a se wood, generally teak. It also found in ironwood (kayu besi). The bars mounted in a deep wooden case that serves as a resonator. Instruments typically have 17-21 keys that are easily removed, and are kept in place by having a hole through which a nail is placed. Generally a full gamelan has two sets, one gambang pelog and the other one gambang slendro.

A pair of long thin mallets (tabuh), made of flexible water buffalo horn tipped with felt, are used to play the instrument. Gambangs are generally played in parallel octaves (gembyang). Occasionally, other styles of playing are employed such as playing kempyung which are playing two notes separated by two keys. Unlike most other gamelan instruments, no dampening is required, as the wood does not ring like the metal keys of other instruments.

The gambang is used in a number of gamelan ensembles. It is most notable in the Balinese gamelan Gambang. In Javanese wayang, it is used by itself to accompany the dalang in certain chants. Within a full gamelan, it stands out somewhat because of the high speed of playing, and contrasting timbre because of its materials and more because it has a wider melodic range than the other instruments.

In Javanese gamelan, the gambang plays cengkok like the other elaborating instruments. However, the repertoire of cengkok for the gambang is more rudimentary than for other instruments (for instance, the gendér), and a great deal of variation is accepted.

Gambang gangsa

The gambang gangsa has a similar construction, although it generally has fewer keys (typically 15) and is thus somewhat smaller. It has largely been replaced by the saron family of instruments. It was formerly thought to have been a forerunner of the one-octave saron, although more recent evidence, including the appearance of the saron in reliefs at Borobudur in the 9th century, indicate that the instruments are of the same age or that the one-octave saron is older.

In early 19th century writings on the Javanese gamelan, it seems to have been played like the gambang kayu; that is, as an elaborating instrument. Later, by 1890, it seems to have merely substituted for a saron, and have been restricted to a small range. Mantle Hood associated this use of limited range to a preference for certain octave arrangements of the cadences in various pathet.

See also

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Bonang Indonesian musical instrument used in Gamelan

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Balungan

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Siter Indonesian musical instrument used in Gamelan

The siter and celempung are plucked string instruments used in Javanese gamelan. They are related to the kacapi used in Sundanese gamelan.

Notation plays a relatively minor role in the oral traditions of Indonesian gamelan but, in Java and Bali, several systems of gamelan notation were devised beginning at the end of the 19th century, initially for archival purposes.

Panerusan Indonesian musical rhythmic structure used in Gamelan

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Céngkok are patterns played by the elaborating instruments used in Indonesian Javanese gamelan. They are melodic formula that lead to a sèlèh, following the rules of the pathet of the piece.

Imbal or imbalan is a technique used in Indonesian Javanese gamelan. It refers to a rapid alternation of a melodic line between instruments, in a way similar to hocket in medieval music or kotekan in Balinese gamelan. "A style of playing in which two identical or similar instruments play interlocking parts forming a single repetitive melodic pattern."

This imbal is a method of playing in which the nuclear theme is played by one of the nyaga's 'broken up' into half-values, what time another player beats alternately with the first, but in such a way that his tones, each of which comes between two of his colleague's, are always one step lower than the nuclear theme tone immediately preceding it. From practical considerations this imbal is, if possible, divided over two demungs; if only one such instrument is available, the two players sit facing each other. The player who beats the nuclear theme tones is said to play the gawé (...); the other one, the nginţil (...).

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