Jeffrey H. Vick

Music Educator, Timpanist/Percussionist, Private Percussion Studio

Bali: Gamelans


The term “Gamelan” refers to the group of instruments used, much like the word “Orchestra” or “Band”.  The instruments themselves are mostly percussion idiophones and membranophones, although winds (Suling – bamboo flute) and strings (Rebab – a two-string spike fiddle) are also found.  There are about twenty-five different types of Gamelan of various sizes and instrument combinations in Bali, and each village owns at least one gamelan if not several.

May 31, 1999: Belaganjur (“Marching Gamelan”), Peliatan, Bali

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June 1, 1999: Ramayana Ballet at Ubud Palace, Bali – Semara Winagun, a combination of Gamelan Gong Kebyar, Gamelan Gong Gde, and Gamelan Semar Pegulingan.

Bali110Gongs (largest two), Kempur, Kemong (smallest)

Bali111Gangsa Kantilans

Bali112Gangsa Kantilans, Gangsa Pemades, Kendang (double headed drums)

Bali113Gangsa Pemades

Bali114Ugal (largest metallophone – top center), Kempli, Gangsa Kantilan, Gangsa Pemade

Bali116aTop of photo: two Jegogans (back row right); not visible are two Calungs (back row left), Reong

Three Drums: Kendang

Foreground: Kempli, Gangsa Kantilan, Gangsa Pemade

Bali117Kempli –  the ensemble “Timekeeper”

Ubud PalaceUbud Palace

Bali119Ramayana Ballet

Bali121Players dampen the previous played tone with their left hand when a new note is struck.

Bali123Ramayana Ballet

Bali126Ramayana Ballet

Bali129Ramayana Ballet

June 4, 1999: Legong Keraton and Barong Dances in Peliatan, Bali – Gamelan Semar Pegulingan

Bali218Calungs

Bali219Reong and Trompong

Bali220Kendang, Kempli; Metallophones small to large: Gangsa Pemade, Gangsa Kantilan, Calung; Gongs

Bali221Calung, Gongs

LegongLegong Keraton (or Legong) is the classical dance of the princely courts of Bali, with origins in the south-central courts of Sukawati and Blahbatuh during the late 19th century.  It features two identically dressed Legong dancers, and a similarly dressed Condong, or servant.  The three perform all of the roles in the story.  The Lasem story is the most popular, which tells of the kidnapping of a princess and her abductor’s confrontation by a bird of ill omen while on the way to do battle for his honor.

Legong dancers begin training as early as age five, and begin to perform between the ages of eight and twelve, retiring at the onset of puberty.

BarongBarong – the protector of mankind and embodiment of good; in the Barong dance, the Barong battles Rangda, the witch or demon queen. A group of men are Barong’s supporters, each armed with a keris, the traditional sacred sword.

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Barong followers

RangdaRangda the witch or demon queen and the embodiment of evil

KerisIn battling Rangda, the men turn the Keris (daggers) on themselves, as a sign of devotion and the protection provided by the Barong, and are protected from injury due to the trance state which they have entered.

June 5, 1999: Gamelan Gong Kebyar at the Agung Rai Museum, Ubud, Bali

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Gamelan Gong Kebyar instruments

Bali246jcw/Alan Leech, Montana State University Professor

Bali247at  the Agung Rai Museum of Art, Ubud

Bali248at  the Agung Rai Museum of Art, Ubud

June 11, 1999: Belaganjur, on the road to Mt. Batur, Central Bali

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June 12, 1999: Gamelan Gong Kebyar at SMKI

Bali381SMKI: High School of Performing Arts, Denpasar, Bali

Bali382SMKI: High School of Performing Arts, Denpasar, Bali

Bali383SMKI: High School of Performing Arts, Denpasar, Bali

Bali384SMKI: High School of Performing Arts, Denpasar, Bali