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Kempiang and Kethuk from the Javanese Gamelan Kyai Rengga Manis Everist

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Kempiang and Kethuk

NMM 9888. Kethuk and Kempiang in Laras Slendro. Two bronze pots in teakwood frame. Squatter pot is the kethuk (left). Taller pot is the kempiang (right). Pots suspended by red cord attached to the frame. Decorated with flower and leaf pattern covered in gold leaf. Length (frame): 67.9 cm. Diameter of kethuk (at base): 20.5 cm. Diameter of kempiang (at base): 19.5 cm. Mallet (tabuh) with red cord wrapped very close to one end creating a soft, springy, oval shape that comes in contact with the pots.

Function:  The kempiang/kethuk is often referred to as a structure instrument. Its function is to play at specific places within a song depending upon the structure of that song. Some commonly played structures are lancaran, ketawang, ladrang, gendhing, srepeg, and sampak. In each of these structures the kethuk/kempiang has assigned places in which it is to play that are related to the patterns of the kenong, kempul, and gong. In some structures it also plays a variation on its pattern to cue the gong.

Playing technique:  The kethuk/kempiang can be played with one or two mallets. The player sits on the floor and strikes the node of the pot with the soft end of the mallet.

Detail of Decorative Panel

Detail of decorative panel

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Most recent update:   April 3, 2014

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