The word gamelan in the Balinese context is thought to originate from the word ‘magambel’ which means “to hit”. A gamelan instrument is often percussive with keyed xylophones or pot gongs made of a variety of materials, gongs of various sizes, double-headed drums and cymbals.
However, not all Balinese gamelan instruments are percussive. There are also wind, bowed, plucked and strummed instruments.
There are nineteen gamelan orchestras at Mekar Bhuana: one antique seven-tone semara pagulingan set, one antique semara patangian (pelegongan) set, two sets of selonding (with different tunings), six antique gender wayang sets (all with different tunings), one antique baleganjur set, one pejogedan set, genggong, three antique angklung sets (with different tunings), one gambang set, one gong bheri and one antique Javanese pelog pakurmatan set.
Learn more about Balinese gamelan orchestras with ethnomusicologist, Vaughan Hatch, and his team of instructors by taking a workshop at Mekar Bhuana, either in Bali (not currently possible due to the covid 19 pandemic) or remotely via Skype.