Javanese Gamelan.

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The Saron (Demung, Barung, and Peking)

Saron instruments

The saron form the backbone of the Javanese gamelan ensemble. Typically, they play the melody along with the slenthem. This melody line, the balungan (literally "skeleton"), is the part from which all of the elaborating instruments (like the bonang and gendèr) derive their parts.

Because Javanese gamelan has two scales, pélog and sléndro, each saron of a large set come in pairs. When playing the saron, one strikes the metal bars with a hammer in one hand and dampens notes with the other.

Demung (sléndro).

The Demung

The demung is the largest and lowest of the saron. It is played with a hammer with a wooden head.
Saron (barung) in pélog.

The Saron

The saron (also known as saron barung) is somewhat smaller than the demung. Its bars sound an octave higher than those of the demung.
Peking (sléndro).

The Peking

The peking (also known as the saron panerus) is small and plays high notes (an octave higher than the saron). When playing the peking, one uses a hammer made from an animal horn. The peking usually playes an elaboration on the basic melody.

More Javanese gamelan instruments.

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Author: Bern Jordan.
Created: 11 April 2002
Last updated: 28 May 2002
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