sflib/gamelan

(notes by Chris Bailey and A.S.)

I. Glossary

  • anklung (also spelled angklung): tuned wooden rattles.
  • jegogan, gangsa, kantil, chiring: tuned mettallo/xylophones; listed here from lowest to highest in register
  • saron : a metallic xylophone or lombek
  • cheng-cheng: a bunch of little cymbals.
  • klenang, tawa-tawa: tiny gongs, traditionally used as timekeepers for the ensemble.
  • kendang: a drum
  • reongs: little tuned button gongs, laid flat and played with a wooden mallet
  • suling: small flute/recorder

II. Pitches

Most of the gamelan is theoretically tuned to one four-tone "scale," consisting, of scale degrees 1, 2, 3, and 5 of a diatonic major scale. However, the actual pitch may vary from, say, A major in the low register, to Bb in high registers, with all sorts of microtones along the way. Hence I have labeled the tuned instruments from 1 to 4, indicating only their place in the 4-note scale. If you need to know the actual pitch of a particular instrument, a list follows: Note also that on many of the instruments the pitch has a beautiful, but possibly annoying, habit of slowly rising a bit, so take this list of pitches with a grain of salt.

  • anklung.1 a4 [1/6 tone flat] Wooden rattles
  • anklung.2 b4
  • anklung.3 s5
  • anklung.4 e5

The 16 shorter angk (angklung) soundfiles include a complete diatonic major scale of single shakes from df5 to df6 and also a short roll on each of these notes.

  • chiring.1 a6 [1/6 sharp] High metaalo/xylophones
  • chiring.2 b6 [1/6 sharp]
  • chiring.3 c7 [3/4 sharp] (or d7, 1/4 toneflat)
  • chiring.4 e7 [1/4 sharp]
  • gangsa.1 a4 [1/4 sharp] Medium low pitched metallo/xylophones
  • gangsa.2 b4 [1/4 sharp]
  • gangsa.3 cs5
  • gangsa.4 e5 [1/6 sharp]
  • gong.hi a4 [1/4 flat]
  • gong.lo e2
  • gong.md gs3
  • jegogan.1 a3Low pitched metallo/xylophones
  • jegogan.2 b3 [1/6 sharp]
  • jegogan.3 c4 [1/6 sharp]
  • jegogan.4 e4 [1/6 sharp]
  • kantil.1 a5 [1/4 sharp]Medium high pitched metallo/xylophones
  • kantil.2 b5 [1/4 sharp]
  • kantil.3 c6 [4/6 sharp]
  • kantil.4 e6 [1/6 sharp]

A total of twenty one short saron (metal xylophone) soundfiles, in two timbral groups (saron1 and saron2) are pitched between cs5 and fs6.

  • klenang a6 [4/6 sharp] small gongs
  • reong.1lo bf4 Button gongs
  • reong.2lo b4 [1/4 sharp]
  • reong.3lo c5 [3/4 sharp]
  • reong.4lo e5 [1/4 sharp]
  • reong.1hi a6 [1/4-sharp]
  • reong.2hi b6 [1/4-sharp]
  • reong.3hi c7 [3/4-sharp]
  • reong.4hi d7 [3/4-sharp] (This particular reong was not in good shape)
  • reongs.all All four in a register smacked at once.
  • suling: The names of these bamboo flute soundfiles indicate their approximate pitches, which often deviate from Western tuning.
  • tawa.tawa d4 [1/4-sharp] Small gong.