The Standard Gamelan range is brilliant value and perfect for KS2/KS3 as well as other groups or projects. It makes for a visually pleasing ensemble when a whole set of Standard instruments is presented to an audience.
The instruments are all made in Bali and have excellent sound quality. The Standard range has all seven keys suspended by wire and held aloft by metal V holders to maintain a consistent height across the board, allowing them to evenly interact with the bamboo resonator tubes which are found under each key. The instruments are tuned to a traditional Balinese scale of the modern Gamelan Gong Kebyar, which is a modern style that translates as ‘the process of flowering’. It refers to the explosive changes in tempo and dynamic which have become characteristic of this particular style. It is the most popular form of Gamelan in Bali and is its most identifiable musical export.
There are 7 notes to each instrument and the ‘Slendro’ tuning is consistent with our 7 note Premium metallophones, making them interchangeable. Gong Kebyar music is based on a five-tone scale called ‘Pelog Selisir’ (tones 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 of the 7-tone Pelog scale), and is characterised by brilliant sounds, syncopations, sudden and gradual changes in sound colour, dynamics, tempo and articulation, and most crucially complex, complementary interlocking melodic and rhythmic patterns called Kotekan.
Almost every instrument in a Gong Kebyar ensemble is paired, with a male and female counterpart in each grouping. Each instrument in a pair is tuned differently from its counterpart, one higher and one lower. Played at the same time, the higher instrument (known as the ‘Pengisep’ or "Inhaler") and the lower instrument (known as the ‘Pengumbang’ or ‘Exhaler’) produce a beating effect (‘Ombak’), creating an overall shimmering, pulsating quality.
The female instrument is tuned lower, while the male instrument is tuned higher. For example, one note on a female Gangsa Pemadé might be tuned to 220 Hz, while the male Gangsa Pemadé might be tuned slightly higher to 228 Hz. A Gong Kebyar ensemble is usually tuned so that the number of beats per second stays consistent throughout the range of the ensemble, although sometimes an ensemble is tuned so that the beats are slightly faster for higher frequencies.