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Images from The Beede Gallery

Rebab from the Javanese Gamelan Kyai Rengga Manis Everist

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Rebab on its stand

NMM 9870 and 9871. Rebabs. Teakwood body, neck, and tuning pegs. Strung with a single brass string that is wrapped around one peg, stretched down over the body, wrapped around a knob and ringlet at the foot, returned back across the body, and wrapped around second peg. Back of body covered with a red cloth decorated with gold-colored embroidery. Length: 111.8 cm. Teakwood stand decorated with flower and leaf pattern covered in gold leaf. Accessories include a bow (kosok), removable bridge (sreten), undecorated wooden case, block of rosin, and an extra coil of brass wire.

Front and Back Views

Click on any part of the rebabs below to see close-ups of that part

Front of rebab
Back of rebab

Function:  The rebab is, in many ways, the melody leader. It plays a more lyrical melody than that of the basic or skeletal melody instruments like the slenthem and it articulates the high and low tones that the slenthem and saron are not able to play because of their limited range. The rebab is often responsible for playing the introduction to a piece of music (buka), signaling the other players to move to different sections of melody within a piece, and in many instances, deciding which pieces to play. This is often done by simply playing the introduction, and the other musicians are expected to recognize the piece and follow along. The rebab and gender barung are closely related, often listening to each other for melodic variations and ornamentation. The rebab and gerong (vocal part similar to a choir) are also interdependent in establishing the lyrical melody of a piece.

Rebab Bow

Rebab bow

Rebab being played

Playing technique:  The rebab player sits cross-legged on the floor with the instrument held vertically—its spike resting on the floor in front of the player. The instrument is bowed at the point where the neck joins the body. The player’s left hand articulates the notes by pressing gently on the fretless wire, with the thumb remaining behind the neck.

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Go to The Arrival of the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan in Vermillion, July 15, 2000

Go to The Naming Ceremony for the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan, April 26, 2003

Go to Glossary of Terms Relating to the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan

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Most recent update:   April 3, 2014

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Left third of panel Center of panel Right third of panel Pegs Front of body Spike or lower end of rebab pegs Back of body Spike