Traditionally the Gamelan Gong Kebyar orchestra is fronted by an enormous 12 pan Reyong played by 4 players.
Thanks to Michael Tenzer for permission to use the following short extract from his excellent book ‘Gamelan Gong Kebyar’, published by Chicago University Press.
The Reyong (also Reong, Riong, and Riyong) extends across the upper registers of the ensemble with twelve kettles stretching from deng, the seventh tone of the Ugal, to dung, the eighth tone of the Kantilan. The four players are ordinarily confined to a limited number of tones ranging from two to four kettles, but depending on the musical context, players may temporarily overlap into a neighbour’s terrain, thereby expanding their range by one or two tones.
The positions are as follows;
- Penyorog (three kettles: deng, dung, dang)
- Pengenter (three kettles: ding, dong, deng)
- Ponggang (two kettles: dung, dang)
- Pemetit or Petit (four kettles: ding, dong, deng, dung).
They are played using beaters called pangul, two per player, and these are smaller versions of pangul Trompong. The Reyong kettles may be played melodically, on the boss; or agogically, in one of two ways. One is on the lower rim, producing kecek, a sound closely resembling that of the Ceng Ceng (cymbals). The Reyong component of the byar chord is obtained when kettles 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 12 are struck simultaneously. Referred to in terms of the Reyong alone the chord is called byong when allowed to ring. When quickly damped it is known as byot; when fully damped as jet.