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Kendang of Java
Kendang of Bali

Kendang (Javanese: Kendhang, Malay: Gendang, Tausug/Bajau: Gandang, Maranao: Gandangan) is a two-headed drum and one of the primary instruments used in the Gamelan ensembles of Java and Bali as well as various Kulintang ensembles in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines. Constructed in a variety of ways by different ethnic groups.

Among the Javanese, Sundanese, or Malay peoples, the kendang has one side larger than the other, with the larger, lower-pitched side usually placed to the right, and are usually placed on stands horizontally and hit with the hands one either side while seated on the floor. Among groups like the Balinese, Tausug, or Maranao, both sides are of equal size, and are played on either one or both sides using a combination of hands and/or sticks.

Within Gamelan, the kendhang is smaller than the bedug, which is placed inside a frame, hit with a beater, and used less frequently. The kendang usually has the function of keeping the tempo and changing irama, and signaling some of the transitions (paralihan) to sections and the end of the piece (suwuk). In dance or wayang, the kendhang player must follow the movements of the dancer, and communicate them to the other players in the ensemble. In West Java, kendang are used to keep the tempo of Gamelan Degung. Kendang are also used as main instrument for Jaipongan dance. In another composition called Rampak Kendang, a group of drummers play in harmony.

Good kendang are said to be made from the wood of jackfruit, coconuts or cempedak. Buffalo hide is often used for the bam (inferior surface which emits low-pitch beats) while goatskin is used for the chang (superior surface which emits high-pitch beats). The skin is stretched on y-shaped leather or rattan strings, which can be tightened to change the pitch of the heads. The thinner the leather the sharper the sound.

In Gamelan Surakarta, four sizes of kendhang are used:

  • Kendhang ageng, kendhang gede (krama/ngoko, similar to gong ageng in usage), or kendhang gendhing is the largest kendang, which usually has the deepest tone. It is played by itself in the kendhang satunggal (lit. "one drum") style, which is used for the most solemn or majestic pieces or parts of pieces. It is played with the kendhang ketipung for kendhang kalih (lit. "two drum") style, which is used in faster tempos and less solemn pieces.
  • Kendhang ciblon is a medium-sized drum, used for the most complex or lively rhythms. It is typically used for livelier sections within a piece. The word ciblon derives from a Javanese type of water-play, where people smack the water with different hand shapes to give different sounds and complex rhythms. The technique of this kendang, which is said to imitate the water-play, is more difficult to learn than the other kendang styles.
  • Kendhang batangan or kendhang wayang is also medium-sized, and was traditionally used to accompany wayang performances, although now other drums can be used as well.
  • Kendhang ketipung is the smallest kendang, used with the kendang ageng in kendhang kalih style.

References

  • Sumarsam. Javanese Gamelan Instruments and Vocalists. 1978-1979.

See also

External links

Instruments and vocals used in Javanese gamelan

Colotomic instruments:
Balungan instruments:
Panerusan instruments:
Unpitched instruments:
Vocals and clapping:

 

Kempyang and ketuk | Kempul | Kenong | Gong
Saron panerus | Saron barung | Demung | Slenthem | Slentho
Bonang | Gendér | Gambang | Siter | Celempung | Suling | Rebab
Kendang | Bedug | Kecer | Kemanak | Kepyak
Gerong | Sindhen | Alok | Senggakan | Keplok

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