Gamelan, Another Balinese identity Gamelan, Another Balinese identity Gamelan, Another Balinese identity Gamelan, Another Balinese identity

Gamelan, Another Balinese identity

The beautiful of Bali can be found in so many ways. From the music, Bali brought the uniqueness to build its magnificent remark and signature of culture. Balinese music is iconic, unique, precious, and prestige. For those of you who’ve already visited Bali, probably you could listen how the traditional music can be heard so peaceful and melodious. Balinese music grows together by its culture. Bali shares the authentic traditional musical style through its popular instrument named Gamelan. Bali has it own techniques and styles to deliver its music. In Indonesia, the instrumental ‘gamelan’ is probably not only belonging to Bali. Java has also the gamelan.


Bali keeps the unique gamelan in any variation of style such as the gamelan jegog, gamelan gong gede, gamelan gambang, gamelan selunding and gamelan semar pegulingan, the cremation music angklung and the processional music bebonangan. In the development of gamelan musical style, it already passes the modern fusion, which is creating gamelan gong kebyar. Gamelan gong kebryar is actually a kind of dance music which developed during the Dutch occupation and 1950s era joged bumbung, another popular dance style.


Metallophones, gongs and xylophones are kind of instrumentals that coloring gamelan sound in Bali. You need to listen Balinese Gamelan and Javanese Gamelan, and then try to comparing them. Both actually has similar music. The music is in cycle too, however, it is usually faster. In Balinese gamelan music, one of the unique characteristic is a lot of sudden changes in tempo and dynamics. Like the Javanese gamelan, metallophones and gongs also can be found in Balinese instruments. The metal keys in Balinese metallophones are ticker than those of Javanese. These Balinese metallophones produce very bright sound.

Another characteristic of Balinese Gamelan music is the used of cymbals. These cymbals create fast rattling sound that usually cannot be found in Javanese Gamelan music. Like Javanese, Balinese gamelan music is a percussion-dominated musical ensemble. It is also known as a gong-chime musical ensemble. This musical ensemble consists of bronze gongs, metallophones, cymbals, and a time-beater. In Balinese Gamelan, there are more metallophones than gongs.


What does the gamelan means? The word od ‘gamelan’ is from the Javanese word ‘gamel’ that referring to a group of instruments meant to be played together (i.e. an ensemble). A gamelan is a set of instruments as a distinct entity, built and tuned to stay together. The instruments from different gamelan are generally not interchangeable. Gamelan passes through the cultural and historical development of Indonesian, especially Bali. In Bali, gamelan usually can be used to accompany the Hindu ceremony, dance, or puppet performances. Typically players in the gamelan will be familiar with dance moves and poetry, while dancers are able to play in the ensemble.

When you heard the instruments playing, it took our mind into the huge peaceful and sacred atmosphere. The melody and rhythm are truly ethnic and beautiful. Sometimes, it sounds dynamic and melodious. However, the tempo is playing the role in creating harmony and melody. The gamelan player always gives attractive performance.