The gendèr (pronounced gen - DARE) is a soft instrument with multioctave range. The thin metal bars are suspended by cords above tubular resonators that amplify and sustain the sound. There are two sizes of gendèr: gendèr barung (lower) and gendèr panerus (higher). Each plays an elaborate melody derived from the main melody of a piece of music, or balungan.
Gendèr are played with two hands, each holding a mallet with a padded disk-shaped head. Because the instrument has incredible sustain, the sound must be dampened with the wrists after striking the next note (or notes).
Gendèr come in threes (unlike most instruments, which come in pairs). One gendèr is for the sléndro scale, and there are two pélog gendèr for different pathet, or modes. One pélog gendèr has pitches 1 2 3 5 6, while the other has pitches 2 3 5 6 7. (Read more about the Javanese scales and cipher notation.)
More Javanese gamelan instruments.Author: Bern Jordan.