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date: 08 December 2019

Gender (instrument)locked

  • Margaret J. Kartomi,
  • Ruby Ornstein
  •  and Jeremy Montagu


Multi-octave metallophone of Java and Bali. In the Central Javanese gamelan it has 12 to 14 thin, bevel-edged bronze bars, each suspended on two cords that pass through a pair of hooks between each bar, over individual tube resonators. The tubes were originally of bamboo but are nowadays usually of metal painted yellow to resemble bamboo. The bars are struck with two padded disc-shaped mallets. A complete gamelan always has three gender barung (lower-pitched gender, approximately 105 cm long) and three gender panerus (higher-pitched, approximately 90 cm long), one of each for the slendro tonality and two for the pelog tonality. The 14-bar gender barung ranges from pitch 6 of the second octave (62) to pitch 3 of the fifth octave (35). The 14-bar gender panerus ranges from 63 to 36. None of the pelog gender has a pitch 4.

The gender is rare in West Java, where it consists of a series of ten rather flat bars suspended over resonating tubes. It is used to accompany the chanting of a puppeteer, and is found in some ...

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