The hypnotic sounds of the gamelan

Singa Nglaras Klenengan

Last friday, I hanged out with my friend Mus, who invited me a Klenengan, which I found out later, is actually and Indonesian Gamelan music.

It was a very cooling evening when I reached the faculty of the arts and social science in NUS, with no difficulty, I was able to find the gamelan room (which is surprising as I get lost easily) and I said hello to the friendly people in the group who were coincidentally having their break.

Singa Nglaras Klenengan

I then saw Mus, who looked genuinely surprised to see me (hehehe) and he showed me around and the different types of instruments. Many of them looked like xylophones. I was curious to see that there were different types of hammers used to hit the instruments – I noticed at least 4 different types. I’m sure that this effects the resonance and sound.

Singa Nglaras Klenengan

They group started their practice session and I find myself fascinated while listening to the hypnotic sounds as they hammered away happily on their gamelan. Sitting in the middle of the room, it was an experience to not only hear the sounds but to also feel the sound. This was something new to me!

The gamelan, in particular, the selemtem, which looked like a xylophone didnt looked too difficult to play. Mus explained that each panel was actually a number from 1 – 7 and you hit the panel according to the score. It was much easier to understand if compared to a piano.

It was so much fun! I was tempted to hammer the selemtem myself if not for the fact that I’d probably be disturbing the others.

Singa Nglaras Klenengan

Cant wait for the next session. Mus! Quick! When is the next one?

Here is a quick video :

view on youtube

Singa Nglaras Klenengan

Links :

Updated : Too funny! Eileen, a fellow pingster was there at the session but we didn’t recognize each other!

15 Replies to “The hypnotic sounds of the gamelan”

  1. 12/01/2007


    Nice! Very soft!

    I heard temple bells being played at the collage that my son attended and ever since have been trying to find some on the net!

    As I said before thank you for sharing!


  2. I love the sounds and rhythms of the gamelan, which has a very nice earthy and natural feel to them. Some similarity to the other percussion and wind instruments like the angklungs (also from Indonesia). At Asian Civilisations Museum, there is a performing arts gallery on level 3 where a few 19th century gamelan sets take centrestage.

  3. Hisyam

    Yup, my first experience upclose with a gamelan to be honest. The only times I’ve heard gamelan is usually on tv or radio 😀

    It looks like such a lot of fun to hammer the thing, but if it was me, it wont be music coming out .. more like noise 😛


    Aww … its our lucky day then 🙂


    I didnt know SIM had a gamelan ensemble? When are you guys playing?


    For me, I find the constant sound and the reverb quite hypnotic. An earthy sound, that fits the description 🙂

    When is the angklung playing, by the way?


    Is it? Still better than me though … hehehe. Anyway, to what I know of, this was their first gathering, trying out a new song.

    They were supposed to jam till the next day, but I didnt stay that long. I’m sure they will sound pretty spiffy at the end of the session 🙂

  4. rinaz, oey I’m from SMU laa 😀

    Hmm we’re going to have GAYA, this musical thing and the gamelan will be playing there! I’ll send you an invite when the venue and the date are confirmed. Okie dokie? 😀

  5. argh!!!!!!!! so i tot u look familiar!!! oh my gosh … I was wondering could it be you….’s really you!?!?!?

    i was there my dear!!! …………..hahaahhah..

  6. The last time I played the angklung was in… PRIMARY SCHOOL! I recalled that they were these bamboo sections fastened together that you rattle in unison. Like violins and wind instruments, they have different sized ones for different pitches.

  7. Sylv

    Whoops! My mistake! They both start with S … Hehehehe 😛


    Gosh, a fellow pingster and we dont even know it! *slaps forehead*

    Next time we’ll wear nametags so we’ll never miss each other .. hehehehe! You left early I think, about 11pm or something.


    It was fun, I’m surprised 🙂 It was awesome to see friendly people there too!


    The angklung is another beautiful instrument. Like mus said, it cannot be played solo, but needs to be played in a family 🙂

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