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Gongs Suwukan and Kempul from the Javanese Gamelan
Kyai Rengga Manis Everist

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Gongs Suwukan and Kempul

Gongs (left to right):  9915B, 9917C, 9916E, 9916A, 9916C, 9916B, 9916D, 9917D, 9917B

NMM 9915B. Gong Suwukan in Laras Slendro "1." Medium-sized bronze gong with strong, thick cord through two holes in the rim. Diameter (backside): 54.6 cm. Three-piece teakwood stand decorated with nagas (dragons) wearing crowns ("dragon king") and flower and leaf pattern covered in gold leaf (view close-up of carving on stand leg). Mallet (tabuh) with a long handle and heavy, thick red cloth padding on one end wrapped in red cord.

NMM 9917C. Gong Suwukan in Laras Pelog "2." Medium-sized bronze gong with strong, thick cord through two holes in the rim. Diameter (backside): 50.8 cm. Three-piece teakwood stand decorated with nagas (dragons) wearing crowns ("dragon king") and flower and leaf pattern covered in gold leaf. Mallet (tabuh) with a long handle and heavy, thick red cloth padding on one end wrapped in red cord.

Function:  The gong suwukan is a structure instrument that plays in designated places within a composition, relative to the patterns played by the kempiang/kethuk, kenong, and kempul. In many compositions, there are multiple phrases ending with the playing of the gongs and the entire series of phrases can be repeated many times. This gong is used when there are multiple gongs within a piece of music and is not normally used at the beginning, end, or as the last gong of a repeated series of gongs. The gong suwukan can also be used to emphasize certain melodic phrases within a gong phrase.

Playing technique:  The gong suwukan is played by hitting the node with the soft end of the mallet.

NMM 9916E. Kempul in Laras Pelog "1." Small bronze gong. Diameter (backside): 33.2 cm. Three-piece teakwood stand decorated with nagas (dragons) wearing crowns ("dragon king") and flower and leaf pattern covered in gold leaf. Mallet (tabuh) with a long handle and heavy, thick red cloth padding on one end wrapped in red cord.

NMM 9916A. Kempul in Laras Pelog "6." Small bronze gong. Diameter (backside): 37.3 cm. Three-piece teakwood stand decorated with nagas (dragons) wearing crowns ("dragon king") and flower and leaf pattern covered in gold leaf. Mallet (tabuh) with a long handle and heavy, thick red cloth padding on one end wrapped in red cord.

NMM 9916C. Kempul in Laras Pelog "3." Small bronze gong. Diameter (backside): 43.5 cm. Three-piece teakwood stand decorated with nagas (dragons) wearing crowns ("dragon king") and flower and leaf pattern covered in gold leaf. Mallet (tabuh) with a long handle and heavy, thick red cloth padding on one end wrapped in red cord.

NMM 9916B. Kempul in Laras Pelog "5." Small bronze gong. Diameter (backside): 41.2 cm. Three-piece teakwood stand decorated with nagas (dragons) wearing crowns ("dragon king") and flower and leaf pattern covered in gold leaf. Mallet (tabuh) with a long handle and heavy, thick red cloth padding on one end wrapped in red cord.

NMM 9916D. Kempul in Laras Pelog "7." Small bronze gong. Diameter (backside): 36.1 cm. Three-piece teakwood stand decorated with nagas (dragons) wearing crowns ("dragon king") and flower and leaf pattern covered in gold leaf. Mallet (tabuh) with a long handle and heavy, thick red cloth padding on one end wrapped in red cord.

Function:  The kempul is a structure instrument. It plays in designated places within a composition depending on the structure of the music and relative to the patterns played by the kempiang/kethuk, kenong, and gong.

Playing technique:  The kempul is played by hitting the node with the soft end of the mallet.

NMM 9917D. Gong Suwukan in Laras Pelog "7." Medium-sized bronze gong with strong, thick cord through two holes in the rim. Diameter (backside): 53.7 cm. Three-piece teakwood stand decorated with nagas (dragons) wearing crowns ("dragon king") and flower and leaf pattern covered in gold leaf. Mallet (tabuh) with a long handle and heavy, thick red cloth padding on one end wrapped in red cord.

NMM 9917B. Gong Suwukan in Laras Pelog "1." Medium-sized bronze gong with strong, thick cord through two holes in the rim. Diameter (backside): 53.1 cm. Three-piece teakwood stand decorated with nagas (dragons) wearing crowns ("dragon king") and flower and leaf pattern covered in gold leaf. Mallet (tabuh) with a long handle and heavy, thick red cloth padding on one end wrapped in red cord.

Function:  The gong suwukan is a structure instrument that plays in designated places within a composition, relative to the patterns played by the kempiang/kethuk, kenong, and kempul. In many compositions, there are multiple phrases ending with the playing of the gongs and the entire series of phrases can be repeated many times. This gong is used when there are multiple gongs within a piece of music and is not normally used at the beginning, end, or as the last gong of a repeated series of gongs. The gong suwukan can also be used to emphasize certain melodic phrases within a gong phrase.

Playing technique:  The gong suwukan is played by hitting the node with the soft end of the mallet.

Gongs in performance


Details of Dragon Kings (Nagas) and Crown Carved on Top of Gong Stand


Carving on top of stand

Crown carving

Side view of Dragon King (Naga)

Profile of Dragon King (Naga)

Go to Checklist of Musical Instruments from Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan

Go to The Manufacture and Ceremonial History of the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan

Go to The Arrival of the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan in Vermillion, July 15, 2000

Go to The Naming Ceremony for the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan, April 26, 2003

Go to Glossary of Terms Relating to the Kyai Rengga Manis Everist Gamelan

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Most recent update:   April 3, 2014

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