Gambang kromong

Last updated
Gambang Kromong Gambang Kromong Betawi.jpg
Gambang Kromong
Music of Indonesia
Traditional indonesian instruments04.jpg
Kempul gongs from Java
Specific forms
Regional music

Gambang kromong is a traditional orchestra of Betawi people which is a blend of gamelan, Western music and Chinese-style pentatonic base tones. Gambang kromong is closely associated with the Chinese Betawi community, especially the Chinese Peranakan. It was popular in the 1930s.



Gambang kromong orchestral instruments consists of: gambang kayu (a xylophone-like instrument), kromong (a set of 5 toned bonang), two Chinese rebab-like instruments called ohyan and gihyan with its resonator made out of a small coconut shell, a diatonic pitched flute that is blown crosswise, kenong and gendang drums. Western instruments such as trumpets, guitars, violins, and saxophones may also be included. [1]


Nie Hoe Kong, Kapitein der Chinezen, a musician and Dutch-appointed leader of the Chinese community in mid 18th-century Batavia, is considered one of the early figures who developed the Gambang kromong. [1]

In its first appearance in Batavia, the orchestra was called gambang . Later in the beginning of the 20th-century, they began to use additional instruments, the bonang or kromong, so it is called gambang kromong. During that period, almost every part of Batavia had a gambang kromong orchestra. [1]

Gambang Kromong reached their peak of popularity around 1937. One of the popular groups was Gambang Kromong Ngo Hong Lao, whose players were all ethnic Chinese people. The instruments used in the orchestral group were considered to be the most extensive. For the wealthy Chinese, it was a custom to liven up a party by calling a gambang kromong orchestra, usually accompanying a song. Gambang kromong was also performed during the Cap Go Meh festival, sometimes with plays. [1]


Gambang kromong used the Chinese scale instead of the local slendro typical in Javanese, Sundanese, or Balinese gamelan. The set appears in the xylophone-like instrument gambang, used in the orchestra. [1]

In addition to accompanying songs, Gambang Kromong usually accompanies social dances such as the Cokek dance, a newly created performance dance as well as in Lenong theatre. [1]

Related Research Articles

Xylophone musical instrument of the family of mallets

The xylophone is a musical instrument in the percussion family that consists of wooden bars struck by mallets. Like the glockenspiel, the xylophone essentially consists of a set of tuned keys arranged in the fashion of the keyboard of a piano. Each bar is an idiophone tuned to a pitch of a musical scale, whether pentatonic or heptatonic in the case of many African and Asian instruments, diatonic in many western children's instruments, or chromatic for orchestral use.

Gamelan Indonesian traditional ensemble

Gamelan is the traditional ensemble music of the Javanese, Sundanese, and Balinese peoples of Indonesia, made up predominantly of percussive instruments. The most common instruments used are metallophones played by mallets and a set of hand-played drums called kendhang which register the beat. The kemanak and gangsa are commonly used gamelan instruments. Other instruments include xylophones, bamboo flutes, a bowed instrument called a rebab, and even vocalists named sindhen.

Music of Indonesia Music and musical traditions of Indonesia

The music of Indonesia demonstrates its cultural diversity, the local musical creativity, as well as subsequent foreign musical influences that shaped contemporary music scenes of Indonesia. Nearly thousands of Indonesian islands having its own cultural and artistic history and character. This results in hundreds of different forms of music, which often accompanies by dance and theatre.

Gamelan degung Indonesian musical instrument

Gamelan degung is a Sundanese musical ensemble that uses a subset of modified gamelan instruments with a particular mode of pelog scale. The instruments are manufactured under local conditions in towns in West Java such as Bogor. Degung music is often played at public gatherings in West Java, such as at local elections, as well as many other events. There is international interest in degung as well among communities in other countries interested in Indonesia and gamelan music.

Gamelan surakarta Indonesian traditional musical instrument

Gamelan surakarta A typical large, double gamelan in contemporary solo (Surakarta) will include, in the sléndro set, one saron panerus, two saron barung, one or two saron demung, one gendér panerus, one gender barung, one slenthem, one bonang panerus and one bonang barung, one gambang kayu, one siter or celempung, one rebab, one suling, one pair of kethuk and kempyang, one set of three to five kenong, one set of three to five kempul, one to three gong suwukan, and one gong ageng.

Angklung Indonesian musical instrument made of two-three bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame

The angklung is a musical instrument from West Java, Indonesia made of a varying number of bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame. The tubes are carved to have a resonant pitch when struck and are tuned to octaves, similar to Western handbells. The base of the frame is held in one hand, while the other hand shakes the instrument, causing a repeating note to sound. Each performer in an angklung ensemble is typically responsible for just one pitch, sounding their individual angklung at the appropriate times to produce complete melodies.

Beleganjur Indonesian musical instrument

Gamelan beleganjur is one of the most popular styles of gamelan music in Bali. Its closest Western analogue is probably the Western military band.

Betawi people Indonesian ethnic group

Betawi people, or Betawis, are an Austronesian ethnic group native to the city of Jakarta and its immediate outskirts, as such often described as the native inhabitants of the city. They are the descendants of the people who inhabited Batavia from the 17th century onwards.

Gambang Indonesia xylophone-like instrument

A gambang, properly called a gambang kayu is a xylophone-like instrument used among peoples of Indonesia and also the southern Philippines 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.

Gamelan gambang Indonesian musical instrument

The gamelan gambang is a type of gamelan ensemble in Bali which uses four gambangs, a wooden xylophone-like instrument, as well as two sarons. It is considered an ancient and sacred ensemble, and is used for temple and funeral rites. It uses seven tones.

Kroncong Indonesian musical style

Kroncong is the name of a ukulele-like instrument and an Indonesian musical style that typically makes use of the kroncong. A kroncong orchestra or ensemble traditionally consists of a flute, a violin, at least one, but usually a pair of kroncongs, a cello in pizzicato style, string bass in pizzicato style, and a vocalist. Kroncong originated as an adaptation of a Portuguese musical tradition, brought by sailors to Indonesian port cities in the 16th century. By the late 19th century, kroncong reached popular music status throughout the Indonesian archipelago.

Kemayoran District in Special Capital City District of Jakarta, Indonesia

Kemayoran is a district of Central Jakarta, Jakarta in Indonesia. The area was best known as the location of the former Kemayoran Airport, although the area of the former airport itself is actually located in two district, the northern part lies on the district of Pademangan, North Jakarta while the southern part lies on the district of Kemayoran, Central Jakarta. Jakarta International Expo is built on 44 hectares of land of former airport, where Jakarta Fair is held annually. Kemayoran has been transforming as a new CBD area of Jakarta.

Gamelan melayu Indonesia origin musical instrument

The Gamelan Melayu which exists today in Riau province in Indonesia and Malaysia is basically from royal passed down through heritage. The Malay gamelan has developed an identity that is distinct from the Javanese, Balinese and Sundanese gamelan.

Benteng Chinese

Benteng Chinese are a Chinese-Indonesian community of 'Peranakan' or mixed descent, native to the historic Tangerang area in the modern-day Indonesian provinces of Jakarta, Banten and West Java.

Gandrung Indonesian traditional folk dance

Gandrung is a traditional dance from Indonesia. Gandrung has many variations and is popular in Bali, Lombok and East Java among the Balinese, Sasak and Javanese. The most popular variation is gandrung from the Banyuwangi region in the eastern peninsula of Java, so much that the city is often referred as Kota Gandrung or "the city of gandrung".

<i>Lenong</i> Indonesian traditional theatrical form of betawi people

Lenong is a traditional theatrical form of the Betawi people in Jakarta, Indonesia.

A kongahyan is an Indonesian musical instrument played by drawing a bow across one or more strings. Kongahyans are similar to the rebab, which can be found in Java, Bali and Sunda Islands. This musical instrument is played for shows on those islands. The kongahyan is smaller than two other Indonesian instruments, the tehyan and sukong.

Betawi cuisine Cuisine of Betawi people of Jakarta, Indonesia

Betawi cuisine is rich, diverse and eclectic, in part because the Betawi people that create them were composed from numbers of regional immigrants that came from various places in the archipelago, as well as Chinese, Indian, Arab, and European traders, visitors and immigrants that were attracted to the port city of Batavia since centuries ago.

Roti gambang Javanese traditional bread

Roti gambang or ganjel rel is an Indonesian rectangular-shaped brown bread with sesame seeds, flavoured with cinnamon and palm sugar.


Tanjidor is a traditional Betawi musical ensemble developed in Jakarta, Indonesia. This musical ensamble took form of a modest orchestra, and was developed in the 19th century, pioneered by Augustijn Michiels or better known as Major Jantje in the Citrap or Citeureup area on the outskirt of Batavia.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Gambang Kromong". Jakarta Encyclopedia. Department of Communication, Informatics and Public Relations of Jakarta Capital City. 2012. Retrieved May 29, 2013.