Monday, April 28, 2008

Kendang a.k.a Gendang

Kendang (Javanese: Kendhang) is the primary drum used in the Gamelan ensembles of Java and Bali as well as various Kulintang ensembles in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and the southern Philippines. They usually are placed on stands horizontally and hit with the hands one either side while seated on the floor. One side is generally larger than the other, with the larger, lower-pitched side usually placed to the right. The skin is typically made of goat or buffalo, stretched on y-shaped leather or rattan strings, which can be tightened to change the pitch of the heads. The kendhang is smaller than the bedug, which is placed inside a frame, hit with a beater, and used less frequently. In archaic gamelan ensembles, the kendhang may be hit with a stick.

The kendhang usually has the function of keeping the tempo and changing irama, and signalling 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 is also used to keep the tempo of Gamelan Degung. Kendang is also used as main instrument for Jaipongan dance. There is also another composition where a group of kendang players play in kendang harmony, called Rampak Kendang.

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