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Gamelan Giri Jaya - Toowoomba, Australia.


A Balinese gamelan is a large ensemble of mainly metallic percussion instruments. These instruments are usually grouped in pairs consisting of a male and female instrument, deliberately tuned slightly out of tune. This gives the gamelan its characteristic ‘shimmer', as the sound waves interconnect. The gamelan players perform complex interlocking rhythms, showing a sense of balance - that all things work toward harmony.

Gamelan Giri Jaya consists of:
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2 Gender (or Gangsa) - These metallophones have 14 keys each and are played with wooden mallets (pangel), with various damping techniques after striking depending on the colour required. The gangsa play the melody and in some pieces they play differing patterns, producing intricate, interlocking melodies called 'kotekan'.

2 Calung - These metallophones are pitched lower than the gender and have five keys each. They play the skeleton melody and are in some ways the ‘heartbeat’ of the Gamelan. They are played with padded wooden mallets, the keys are damped after striking.
2 Kendang - These drums lead the gamelan, set tempo, define the dynamics and provide signals to change sections. They are struck with the bare hand, and with round-headed hammers (pangel).
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2 Jegogan – The base instruments of the gamelan have 5 keys each. They are played with padded mallets and punctuate the melody in a lower octave.

Suling – These bamboo end-blown flutes are tuned to the gamelan and work with the main tune, also providing decorative overlay.

1 Cengceng - This set of cymbals provides extra percussive outbursts and generally adds colour.
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1 Kempli - This instrument is a single bronze kettle which follows the beat of the drum and maintains the tempo.

1 Reong - This instrument comprises 12 bronze kettles, suspended on a wooden frame. It is played by four musicians, each using two sticks. The kettles are struck on the top and also on the rim, either with a ‘stopped’ or ‘ringing’ blow. The reong players produce interlocking patterns, intricate rhythms, and explosive chords. At times a solo player plays melodies on the horizontal pots. The instrument is then called a trompong.
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3 Gong - These different sized instruments have the function of punctuating the phrases and cycles of the music.

2 Penyacah - 10-keyed gangsa.

2 Kantilan - Higher-pitched gangsa with 10 keys that often play kotekan over the melody.

Not all instruments are used in each performance.


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