Javanese Musical Terms
- Balungan: "skeleton", the basic melodic framework of a piece.
- Buka: introduction to a piece by a solo instrument.
- Cengkok: "pattern".
- Gadon: the "chamber" style, featuring the soft instruments.
- Gatra: basic metric unit, usually 4 balungan beats.
- Gendhing: a musical composition; in a formal context, a multi-
sectional work, usually with sections composed using
the larger structures.
- Gembyang: playing in octaves.
- Gongan: a section of a piece, the time from one gong to
- Imbal: interlocking pattern of two like instruments.
- Inggah: one of the sections of a gendhing.
- Irama: the rhythmic relationship of the elaborating
instruments to the balungan.
- Karawitan: gamelan music.
- Kenongan: a section of a piece, from one kenong to another.
- Lagu: melody.
- Laras: tuning system, either pelog or slendro, lit.
- Merong: one of the sections of a gendhing.
- Mipil: pattern for breaking up the balungan into smaller
- Ngelik: one of the sections of a gendhing.
- Ompak: introductory or transitional section in a multi-
- Pathet: one of six Javanese "modes", in slendro the three
pathets are Nem, Sanga, and Manyuro.
- Sekaran: "flower", a set embellishment pattern, usually used in
alternation with imbal.
- Wayang Kulit: shadow puppet play.
- Wela: a silence at what would have been a structural/
Western Musical Terms
- Beat: the basic rhythmic unit against which we perceive the
- Measure: a grouping of beats.
- Octave: a frequency relationship of 2:1.
- Pitch: the frequency at which an instrument is vibrating.
- Rhythm: the relative temporal relationship between two or more
events; i.e., when things happen in relation to other
- Tempo: the absolute temporal relationship between events;
i.e., is the piece of music slow or fast?
Structural ("colotomic") instruments
- Gong: large, hanging gong with boss in the center, often
in several sizes.
- Kempul: smaller hanging gongs, often one for each pitch in
- Kenong: bossed "pots" suspended over wooden boxes, boss
- Kethuk and
- Kempyang: small pots, suspended on a box.
- Slenthem: bass of the gender family, thin keys over tube
resonators, played with soft, wheel-like
- Saron Family: set of thick bronze keys over a trough
resonator, played with heavy wooden "hammer".
- Demung: low.
- Saron: medium.
- Peking: high.
Bonang: double row of bossed pots, suspended boss up on a
- Bonang barung or "Bonang": medium.
- Bonang panerus or "Panerus": high.
Elaborating ("soft") Instruments
- Gender: multi-octave, thin keys over tube resonator,
played with two soft, wheel like mallets.
- Gender panerus: an octave higher than the gender.
- Gambang: multi-octave wooden-keyed xylophone on a
- Rebab: two-stringed fiddle.
- Suling: bamboo flute.
- Siter: double-strung zither, plucked with thumbs.
- Gerong: male chorus.
- Sinden: female vocalist.
Kendang: drums, usually three different sizes.