Feb 20, 2010


gamelan picture by: www.ngeteh.wordpress.com
Gamelan is a traditional musical instrument of Indonesia. It’s a blend of the sound of alloy gongs, kenong and the others. Soft music from this Javanese musical instrument reflects the harmony of Javanese life, greeting and soothing the soul. The word of gamelan itself comes from Javanese language, which means hitting / beating (gamel) , followed by a suffix that makes it a  noun. Gamelan are widely known and played on the island of Java, Madura, Bali, and Mataram in a variety of sizes, shapes, and ensembles.
Historically, Gamelan first appeared in the Hindu-Buddhist period in Indonesia. The description of this instrument can be found at the Borobudur temple which stood since the 8th century. Musical instruments such as bamboo flute, bells, kendhang in various sizes, lute, and other musical instruments can be seen in the relief at the largest Buddhist temple. However, relief of the instrument is said to be the origin of the gamelan.
Although this traditional musical instrument has been known in many countries, today in Indonesia, gamelan is already scarce. Only in a few special events such as weddings ceremony and art performances can this gamelan be enjoyed. Ironically, many kinds of gamelan are developed by students from abroad like from Australia, Dutch, Danish, and Japanese. There are only a few of Indonesian students who are interested to pursue this high-art-value musical instrument.
Currently, Gamelan in Indonesia adorns many museums and the hall of government offices but is very rarely played. One question that may arise is: Will Gamelan disappear in the country where it was born? This is a reflection that the Indonesian should really think about before this nation lost one of its very precious treasure: gamelan.


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