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Glossary of Terms Relating to the
Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan

The USD Gamelan Ensemble rehearses with a selection of slendro instruments from the gamelan, Kyai Rengga Manis Everist, by Ud Soepoyo, Surakarta, Central Java, 1999

The USD Gamelan Ensemble rehearses with a selection of slendro instruments from the gamelan, Kyai Rengga Manis Everist by Ud Soepoyo, Surakarta, Central Java, Indonesia, 1999, in the Beede Gallery. Purchase funds gift of Margaret Ann Everist, Sioux City, Iowa, 1999.



What does the NMM's gamelan sound like? Listen to musical excerpts from the CD, Sayuk: Together in Harmony, recorded at the NMM in 2007 by The Sumunar Gamelan Ensemble of the Indonesian Performing Arts Association of Minnesota.

Ladrang, Sri Wibowo-Srepeg, Laras Slendro Pathet Songo (1904)
Lagu, Pemut, Laras Pelog Pathet Enem by Joko Sutrisno (2007)
Lancaran, Sayuk-Sampak, Laras Pelog Pathet Barang by Marto Pengrawit (1950), arr. by Joko Sutrisno


Glossary of Terms Relating to the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan

Balungan
Bedhug
Bonang Barung
Bonang Panembung
Buka
Celempung
Colotomic Structure
Dhalang
Elaborating Instruments
Engkuk
Gambang
Gatra
Gender Barung
Gender Panerus
Gendhing
Gendhing Bonang
Gerong
Gong Ageng
Gong Siyem
Gong Suwukan
Irama
Irama Dados
Irama Tanggung
Kecer Wayang
Kemanak

Kemong
Kempiang
Kempul
Kendhang Ageng
Kendhang Ciblon
Kendhang Kalih
Kendhang Ketipung
Kendhang Satu
Kendhang Wayang
Kenong
Kenong Japan
Kenthogan
Keprak
Ketawang
Kethoprak
Kethuk
Klenengan
Kotak Tabuh
Ladrang
Lancaran
Laras
Laras Pelog
Laras Slendro
Naga
Ngelik

Pelog
Pesinden
Racikan
Rebab
Sampak
Saron Barung
Sarong Demung
Saron Nyacah
Saron Panerus (Peking)
Saron Wayang
Sekaten
Selamatan
Seleh
Siter
Slametan
Slendro
Slenthem
Slentho
Srepeg
Suling
Tabuh
Tari
Wayang
Wayang Kulit


BALUNGAN

Definition:  lit., 'skeleton,' 'frame.' The basic or skeletal melody in gamelan music. This basic melody is an abstraction of the melody played by the elaborating instruments. The balungan is played by the slenthem, demung, and saron barung.


BEDHUG

Function:  In gamelan Sekaten, the bedhug gives the cues for tempo changes, acts as a phrase divider and emphasizes the strong seleh (resolution notes) during the racikan (long introduction), and performs a colotomic function similar to the kempul once the introduction is over and the actual piece of music has started. In other kinds of music, the bedhug can be used to emphasize the strong tones of the kendhang ageng.

Link to description of bedhug in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  the bedhug is played using a soft-tipped mallet hit at the center of the drumhead.


BONANG BARUNG

Function:  The bonang barung is both an elaborating, as well as a leading instruments. Similar to the rebab and gender barung, the bonang barung can play the buka or introduction to a piece of music. As in the case of the buka rebab and gender, players are expected to know the introduction and be able to follow without being told in advance what piece will be played. In a special kind of music known as gendhing bonang, the bonang barung plays a prominent role in leading the melody. In this type of music the rebab and gender are not played. The patterns that are played by the bonang barung depend on the irama or tempo structure. The patterns can be derived from the balungan or basic melody of the saron; however. it is more appropriate to say that the balungan is derived from the bonang patterns (and also the melody of the rebab and gender barung) and not the other way around. Similar to the gander barung, there is a changing of the number of beats played by the bonang in relation to the balungan (basic melody) played by the saron and slenthem when the irama (tempo structure) changes. For example, in irama tanggung there are eight bonang beats for every four of the saron, whereas, in irama dados, there are sixteen bonang beats for every four of the basic melody. It is the basic melody tempo that slows down to accommodate these further elaborations of the melody by the bonang barung. The upper row of pots is considered to be female, while the lower octave is male.

Link to description of bonang barung in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  the bonang barung is played with the soft end of two mallets. The player sits on the side with the lowest octave pots. The previous note will be dampened as the next is played using the malletís soft end unless the instrument is mature enough that the pots only ring briefly, or unless the music is too complex for all the notes to be dampened effectively.


BONANG PANEMBUNG

Function:  The bonang panembung is traditionally played almost exclusively in ceremonial music. This includes weddings and ceremonial court music. Its role is to reinforce the basic melody or balungan played by the saron and to signal the gong. The upper row of pots is considered to be the female, while the lower octave is the male.

Link to description of bonang panembung in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  the bonang panembung is played with the soft end of two mallets. The player sits on the side with the lowest octave pots. The previous note is dampened as the next is played using the malletís soft end.


BONANG PANERUS

Function:  The bonang panerus plays patterns that are derivative of the bonang barung patterns, usually twice as fast and occurring on what in Western musical terms might be considered the off beat. The bonang panerus player must follow the lead of the bonang barung player even though it often begins its patterns slightly before the bonang barung player. The patterns that are played by the bonang panerus depend on the irama or tempo structure, similar to the bonang barung. The upper row of pots is considered to be the female, while the lower octave is male.

Link to description of bonang panerus in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  the bonang panerus is played with using the soft end of two mallets. The player sits on the side with the lowest octave pots. The previous note is dampened as the next is played using the malletís soft end unless the instrument is mature enough that the pots only ring briefly, or unless the music is too complex for all the notes to be dampened effectively.


BUKA

Definition:  the opening phrase or introduction of a gamelan composition (gendhing).


CELEMPUNG

Function:  The celempung is an elaborating instrument. Its role is similar to that of the siter—filling in with ornate patterns based on the balungan (basic melody) and the irama (tempo structure). The clempung, siter, and gambang all play the same number of beats in relation to each measure of the balungan melody.

Link to description of celempung in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  the celempung is played the same way as the siter—sitting on the floor facing the smaller end of the instrument, the player plucks the strings with the nails of both thumbs. Long thumbnails are essential.


COLOTOMIC STRUCTURE

Definition:  (from Greek, kolon: 'section' or 'limb')  A term used by ethnomusicologist, Jaap Kunst (1934), to describe the phrase structure of a gendhing, or composition, for gamelan. Gongs are played to mark the major sections of a gamelan composition, such as at the beginning and the end, as well as at various subsections and phrases. According to "Colotomic structure [colotomy]," Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy (Accessed 05 May 2006), "Over a dozen different colotomic structures are in regular use, each with its own name such as ladrang and ketawang. A specific drum part is associated with each colotomic structure."


DHALANG

Definition:  the puppeteer in the wayang kulit (shadow puppet) performance.


ELABORATING INSTRUMENTS

Definition:  The instruments providing melodic elaboration in the Javanese gamelan include the bonang barung, bonang panerus, gambang, gender barung, gender panerus, celempung, and siter.


ENGKUK / KEMONG

Function:  The engkuk/kemong is not frequently used in gamelan music today. It is a structure instrument similar to the kempiang/kethuk and the kenong. Its function is to play at specific places within a composition depending upon its structure.

Link to description of engkuk in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  the engkuk/kemong is played with mallets like the kethuk/kempiang or kenong. The player sits on the floor and strikes the node (or highest point) of the pot with the soft end of the mallet.


GAMBANG

Function:  The gambang is an elaborating instrument. Its role is similar to that of the siter or gender panerus—filling in with ornate patterns based on the balungan (melody) and the irama (tempo structure). The gambang, celempung, and siter all play the same number of beats in relation to each measure of the balungan.

Link to description of gambang in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  the player sits on the floor in front of the instrument with the high octaves (shorter keys) to the right. One mallet is held in each hand and the bars are struck with the soft end.


GATRA

Definition:  lit., 'embryo.' Metrical unit of a gamelan piece (gendhing), consisting of four beats.


GENDER BARUNG

Function:  The gender barung is one of the most important and, at the same time, one of the most difficult instruments to play in the Javanese gamelan. Its role is to fill in the basic melody with more elaborate and ornamental parts, but, it may also serve as a leader in playing the buka (introductory phrase) to a piece of music and signaling transitions to different melodic sections in a composition. The gender barung player must pay close attention to the rebab. The relationship between the rebab and the gender barung is complex: it both follows and leads the rebab in articulating the movement of the melody. There are many styles of playing the gender barung depending upon the region and the individual player. The rhythmic relationship of the gender barung to the basic melody (balungan), played by the saron barung, saron demung, and slenthem, varies from 8 beats per 4-beat measure (gatra) of the basic melody, to 16, to 32, to 64, and so on. These different rhythmic relationships (irama) are accompanied by a slowing of the tempo of the basic melody. For example, when the gender barung plays 16 beats for every four beats of the basic melody, the tempo of the basic melody is twice as slow as when the gender plays 8 beats for every four of the basic melody.

Link to description of gender barung in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  The gender barung is played with both hands, holding the thin end of the mallet and striking the keys with the padded end. The right and left hands play different notes and rhythms. The previous note is dampened after the next note is played. The left hand dampens the note by using the padding of the hand below the small finger, while the right hand dampens using the thumb and small finger.


GENDER PANERUS

Function:  The gender panerus is one of the gamelanís elaborating instruments. It is similar in its appearance to the gender barung but its range extends one octave higher. Unlike the gender barung, the gender panerus does not serve as a melody leader but simply as ornamentation. Its rhythm is usually even and without syncopation and it fills the spaces between the basic melody notes of the balungan played by the saron barung, demung, and slenthem.

Link to description of gender panerus in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  The gender panerus is played with two hands, each note dampened when the following note is played.


GENDHING

Definition:  generic term for any gamelan composition. It can also be used to refer to a specific type of formal musical structure in gamelan music. Listen to a musical excerpt from the gendhing, Titipati, Kethuk 2 Kerep Minggah 4, Laras Slendro Pathet Enem (ca. 1820-1823), recorded on the NMM gamelan in 2007 by The Sumunar Gamelan Ensemble of the Indonesian Performing Arts Association of Minnesota.


GENDHING BONANG

Definition:  a gamelan composition in which the bonang both plays the introduction and is the principal melodic instrument. In gendhing bonang, the other usual elaborating instruments do not play.


GERONG

Definition:  a unison male chorus that sings with the gamelan.


GONG AGENG

Function:  The gong ageng is considered the father or master of the gamelan. This particular gong is treated with great respect, including the offering of flowers and food during performances and ceremonies. Music usually begins and ends with the gong ageng.

Link to description of gong ageng in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  The gong ageng is played by hitting the node of the instrument with the soft end of the mallet.


GONG SIYEM

Function:  The gong siyem is a structure instrument that plays in designated places within a composition and relative to the patterns played by the kempiang/kethuk, kenong, and kempul. This gong can be used in place of a gong ageng.

Link to description of gong siyem in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  The gong siyem is played by hitting the node with the soft end of the mallet.


GONG SUWUKAN

Function:  The gong suwukan is a structure instrument that plays in designated places within a composition, relative to the patterns played by the kempiang/kethuk, kenong, and kempul. In many compositions, there are multiple phrases ending with the playing of the gongs and the entire series of phrases can be repeated many times. This gong is used when there are multiple gongs within a piece of music and is not normally used at the beginning, end, or as the last gong of a repeated series of gongs. The gong suwukan can also be used to emphasize certain melodic phrases within a gong phrase.

Link to description of gong suwukan in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  The gong suwukan is played by hitting the node with the soft end of the mallet.


IRAMA

Definition:  tempo structure and relationships in a gendhing (gamelan piece).


IRAMA DADOS

Definition:  In the tempo structure, irama dados, there are sixteen bonang beats for every four of the basic melody.


IRAMA TANGGUNG

Definition:  In the tempo structure, irama tanggung, there are eight bonang beats for every four of the saron.


KECER WAYANG

Function:  The kecer wayang is most often used in music for the wayang kulit, the Javanese shadow puppet theater. It is usually played in a steady, but rapid rhythm.

Link to description of kercer wayang in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  The kecer wayang is held with two hands, one holding each of the free cymbals that are used to strike the cymbals attached to the frame. The hands never move far away from the frame.


KEMANAK

Function:  The kemanak is used primarily in ceremonial music. Its role is somewhat similar to the structure instruments such as kempiang/kethuk. Although its role is considered that of one instrument, two kemanaks are usually played together.

Link to description of kemanak in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  Players hold the kemanak in one hand and strike it near the slit. The kemanak is then swung upward in an arcing motion while players press their thumbs against the opening, near the base, to mute the sound.


KEMONG (see ENGKUK)


KEMPIANG AND KETHUK

Function:  The kempiang/kethuk is often referred to as a structure instrument. Its function is to play at specific places within a composition depending upon the structure of the music. 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.

Link to description of kempiang in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

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.


KEMPUL

Function:  The kempul is a structure instrument. It plays in designated places within a composition depending on the structure of the music and relative to the patterns played by the kempiang/kethuk, kenong, and gong.

Link to description of kempul in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  The kempul is played by hitting the node with the soft end of the mallet.


KENDHANG AGENG

Function:  The kendhang player shoulders a great deal of responsibility in the gamelan, for the role of the kendhang is to establish and maintain the tempo, to lead the gamelan through all tempo changes within a piece of music, to decide whether or not to move immediately from one piece of music into another without stopping, and to signal the end of each piece. The kendhang ageng can be played together with the kendhang ketipung by the same player, an arrangement known as kendhang kalih, or it can be played alone by one person, known as kendhang satunggal or kendhang satu. Compared to the ciblon and wayang, this kendhang is played with relatively little ornamentation and is characterized by very deep, resonating sounds.

Link to description of kendhang ageng in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  The kendhang ageng is a hand drum played by using a variety of strokes on both heads.


KENDHANG CIBLON

Function:  The kendhang ciblon, capable of producing a wide range of tones and volume, is frequently used to accompany Javanese dance, or tari, and is also used in concert music known as klenengan. There is a specific style of playing this drum for traditional dance that is very ornamental and elaborate, like the kendhang wayang; however, the kendhang ciblon can also be used to play the kendhang ageng patterns.

Link to description of kendhang ciblon in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  The kendhang ciblon is a hand drum played by using a variety of strokes on both heads.


KENDHANG KALIH

Definition:  lit., 'two drums.' Describes the playing of two drums by the same player, as the kendhang ageng with the kendhang ketipung.


KENDHANG KETIPUNG

Function:  The kendhang ketipung can be played together with the kendhang ageng by the same player, an arrangement known as kendhang kalih, or it can be played alone by one person accompanying the kendhang ageng player. Compared to the ciblon and wayang, the kendhang is played with relatively little ornamentation.

Link to description of kendhang ketipung in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  The kendhang ketipung is a hand drum played using a variety of strokes on both heads.


KENDHANG SATU or SATUNGGAL

Definition:  lit., 'one drum.' Used to describe one player playing one drum.


KENDHANG WAYANG

Function:  The kendhang wayang is used in the wayang kulit or Javanese shadow puppet theater, an art form always accompanied by a gamelan. This drum is used to create sound accompaniment for the movements of the puppets by the dhalang or puppeteer. It can be played quite loudly and is capable of producing a very wide range of tones and dynamics. There is a specific style of playing this drum for shadow puppet theater, which can be very ornamental and elaborate like the kendhang ciblon; however, the kendhang wayang can also be used to play kendhang ageng patterns. The kendhang wayang can also be played in venues other than shadow puppet theater.

Link to description of kendhang wayang in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  The kendhang wayang is a hand drum played using a variety of strokes on both heads.


KENONG

Function:  The kenong is often referred to as a structure instrument. The function of the kenong is to play at specific places within a composition depending upon the structure of that composition. Some commonly played structures are lancaran, ketawang, ladrang, gendhing, srepeg, and sampak. In each of these structures the kenong has assigned places in which it plays that are related to the patterns of the kethuk, kempiang, kempul, and gong. In modern Central Javanese gamelan music, the kenong also follows and anticipates the movements of the melody, paying close attention to areas of repeated notes and transitions into the ngelik, or higher melodic section.

Link to description of kenong in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  The kenong is usually played with one mallet, but can be played with two if the music is very fast. The player sits on the floor and strikes the node (or highest point) of the pot with the soft end of the mallet.


KENONG JAPAN

Function:  The kenong Japan is not often used in gamelan music today. It is a structure instrument similar to the kenong. Its function is to play at specific places within a composition depending upon its structure.

Link to description of Kenong Japan in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  The kenong Japan is played with a mallet like the one used for the kenong. The player sits on the floor and strikes the node (or highest point) of the pot with the soft end of the mallet.


KENTHOGAN

Function:  In the gamelan, the kenthongan is used in the kethoprak, a Javanese dance drama. It signals the cues for the drummers and dancers. Outside the context of gamelan, the kenthongan is used for announcing messages within villages and neighborhoods, such as the death of a villager or the presence of intruders.

Link to description of kenthogan in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  The kenthogan is played by striking the wood near the slit with a stick.


KEPRAK

Function:  The keprak is used in Javanese wayang kulit (shadow puppet theater) by the dhalang (puppeteer) to give sound effects to puppet movements. It can also be used to cue the musicians to start, stop, and speed up the music.

Link to description of keprak in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  The keprak is played by hanging the plates on the hook from the puppet box. The dhalang (puppeteer) manipulates the plates with the foot while seated cross-legged.


KETAWANG

Definition:  one of the formal structures of a gamelan composition (gendhing).


KETHOPRAK

Definition:  a Javanese historical dance drama that derives its story lines and characters from real or semi-mythical personalities.


KETHUK (see KEMPIANG)


KLENENGAN

Definition:  A type of Javanese gamelan concert music, played in a soft and contemplative style, used for listening entertainment rather than for the accompaniment of a dramatic theatrical event.


KOTAK TABUH

Function:  Box in which mallets are stored.

Link to description of Kotak Tabuh in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.


LADRANG

Definition:  one of the formal structures of a gamelan composition (gendhing). Listen to a musical excerpt from the ladrang, Sri Wibowo-Srepeg, Laras Slendro Pathet Songo (1904), recorded on the NMM gamelan in 2007 by The Sumunar Gamelan Ensemble of the Indonesian Performing Arts Association of Minnesota.


LANCARAN

Definition:  one of the formal structures of a gamelan composition (gendhing). Listen to a musical excerpt from the lancaran, Sayuk-Sampak, Laras Pelog Pathet Barang by Marto Pengrawit (1950), arr. by Joko Sutrisno, recorded on the NMM gamelan in 2007 by The Sumunar Gamelan Ensemble of the Indonesian Performing Arts Association of Minnesota.


LARAS

Definition:  refers to a tuning system or a pitch. Listen to a musical excerpt played in the laras tuning system: Sayuk-Sampak, Laras Pelog Pathet Barang by Marto Pengrawit (1950), arr. by Joko Sutrisno, recorded on the NMM gamelan in 2007 by The Sumunar Gamelan Ensemble of the Indonesian Performing Arts Association of Minnesota.


LARAS PELOG (see PELOG)


LARAS SLENDRO (see SLENDRO)


NAGA

Definition:  The naga (dragon) is a traditional royal symbol from Central Java. Many of the frames for the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan are carved with nagas, their crowned heads facing outward and their tails coiled together at the center. The nagasí mouths are typically open and individual teeth are carved, along with a forked tongue. Each naga has what appears to be a collar or stylized hair and beard curling out from under the head. The body arches into an arc twice before the tails coil and meet.


NGELIK

Definition:  melodic movement to a higher register in gamelan music.


PELOG

Definition:  the Javanese tuning system in which the octave is divided into seven intervals. A full gamelan set employs both tuning systems—slendro and pelog—although the two sets are never played simultaneously. The Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan is such a full gamelan set. Listen to a musical excerpt played in the pelog tuning system: Sayuk-Sampak, Laras Pelog Pathet Barang by Marto Pengrawit (1950), arr. by Joko Sutrisno, recorded on the NMM gamelan in 2007 by The Sumunar Gamelan Ensemble of the Indonesian Performing Arts Association of Minnesota.


PESINDEN

Definition:  a solo female singer in the gamelan.


RACIKAN

Definition:  a long introduction. In gamelan Sekaten, the bedhug gives the cues for tempo changes, acts as a phrase divider and emphasizes the strong seleh (resolution notes) during the racikan (long introduction).


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.

Link to description of rebab in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

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 playerís left hand articulates the notes by pressing gently on the fretless wire, with the thumb remaining behind the neck.


SAMPAK

Definition:  one of the formal structures of a gamelan composition (gendhing).


SARON BARUNG
SARON DEMUNG
SARON PANERUS (PEKING)

Function:  The saron instruments play the basic or skeletal melody of the music—the balungan. This basic melody is an abstraction of the melody played by the elaborating instruments. Usually the notation for any piece of music will be limited to the part played by the saron instruments.

Link to description of saron barung in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  The saron instruments are played by striking the bar in its center with the oval end of the mallet and dampening the previous bar when the next is played. The player sits on the side with the pitches ascending to the right.


SARON NYACAH

Definition:  The saron wayang is used to play special patterns that other saron do not play, because of its larger range. These patterns are called saron nyacah and occur mostly in music for wayang (Javanese puppet and mask theater).


SARON WAYANG

Function:  The saron wayang is used to play special patterns that other saron do not play, because of its larger range. These patterns are called saron nyacah and occur mostly in music for wayang (Javanese puppet and mask theater).

Link to description of saron wayang in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  The saron instruments are played by striking the bar in its center with the oval end of the mallet and dampening the previous bar when the next is played. The player sits on the side with the pitches ascending to the right.


SEKATEN

Definition:  a pelog gamelan ensemble played in Indonesia during the Muslim holy week or Sekaten (which celebrates the birth of the prophet Muhammad), after which the ensemble is named.


SELAMATAN

Definition:  A Javanaese ritual meal. According to Javanese custom, the selamatan (or slametan) may be performed in order to mark many special occasions, including rites of passage such as birth, marriage, and death, as well as other transitions, such as harvest, recovery from illness, name-changing, or embarking on a journey. Whatever the occasion, it is meant to produce a propitious sense of well-being and security. The ceremony is believed to ensure that all possible auspicious influences are brought to bear on any future undertakings. This process of perfecting intent and potential is known in the Javanese language as slamet or sometimes salamet. At a slametan, food that differs from everyday fare is offered. These special foods have symbolic meanings. The yellow rice mountain, for instance, symbolizes success, high aspirations or hope. On its peak are garlic, red onion, and hot chili, all of which are meant to ward off evil. The yellow rice stands for love, and the white, purity. At the base, the whole chicken represents unity, while the whole egg means new life. The long green beans signify long life, and the mixed vegetables, diversity. These foods all rest on a platter of folded banana leaves, representing strength.

Three selamatans (slametans) were celebrated for the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan: 1) before it left Java; 2) after its arrival in Vermillion; and 3) at its naming ceremony.


SELEH

Definition:  resolution notes or phrases. The suling plays a role similar to the pesinden (female solo vocalist) by emphasizing strong seleh or resolution phrases.


SITER

Function:  The siter is an elaborating instrument. Its role is similar to that of the celempungófilling in with ornate patterns based on the balungan or basic melody and the irama; however, the octave range of the siter is higher than that of the celempung. The siter, celempung, and gambang all play the same number of beats in relation to each measure of the balungan melody.

Link to description of siter in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  The siter is played like the celempung—the player sits on the floor facing the smaller end of the instrument and plucks the strings with the nails of both thumbs. Long thumbnails are essential.


SLAMETAN (see SELAMATAN)


SLENDRO

Definition:  the Javanese tuning system in which the octave is divided into five intervals. A full gamelan set employs both tuning systems—slendro and pelog—although the two sets are never played simultaneously. The Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan is such a full gamelan set. Listen to a musical excerpt from the ladrang, Sri Wibowo-Srepeg, Laras Slendro Pathet Songo (1904), recorded on the NMM gamelan in 2007 by The Sumunar Gamelan Ensemble of the Indonesian Performing Arts Association of Minnesota.


SLENTHEM

Function:  The slenthem usually plays the basic or skeletal melody in Central Javanese traditional music, referred to in Javanese as the balungan. Its scale, an octave below the demung, is the lowest of the basic melody instruments. Because its large bars are played with a soft mallet and resonate over hollow tubes, the tone of the slenthem is smooth and mellow. Although its sound is less piercing than that of the other basic melody instruments such as the saron barung and demung, the slenthem has a central role in supporting the melody.

Link to description of slenthem in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  The player sits on the side with the bars ascending in pitch from left to right. The bars are struck with the padded end of the mallet. The free hand dampens the previous note at the same time that the next note is struck with the mallet.


SLENTHO

Function:  The slentho plays the basic or skeletal melody of the music. In cases where the slenthem deviates from the basic melody, the slentho follows the slenthem.

Link to description of slentho in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  The slentho is played by striking the bar in its center with the oval end of the mallet and dampening the previous bar when the next is played. The player sits on the side with the pitches ascending from left to right.


SREPEG

Definition:  one of the formal structures of a gamelan composition (gendhing).


SULING

Function:  The suling is an elaborating instrument. Its role is similar to the pesinden (female solo vocalist) in emphasizing strong seleh or resolution phrases. It also has considerable freedom, as does the female vocalist, in its interpretation of these melodic phrases in terms of when it begins to play, what patterns it plays, its rhythm and ornamentation, and when it chooses to end its phrase.

Link to description of suling in the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist gamelan.

Playing technique:  The suling is an endblown flute with an external duct and is held vertically in front of the player.


TABUH

Definition: a mallet for striking instruments of the gamelan.


TARI

Definition:  Javanese classical dance.


WAYANG

Definition:  lit., 'shadow.' May refer to the wayang kulit—the shadow puppet performance—or it may be used generically to refer to any traditional, dramatic performance accompanied by the gamelan.


WAYANG KULIT

Definition:  Javanese shadow puppet performance, traditionally accompanied by a slendro gamelan.

Go to The Manufacture and Ceremonial History of the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan

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 Checklist of Musical Instruments from Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan

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Most recent update: April 3, 2014

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