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Samples of the Javanese gamelan of Museum Nusantara Delft

The Museum Nusantara in Delft, the Netherlands, displays a more than 100 yers old Javanese gamelan, Kyahi Paridjata. This gamelan was described by Ernst Heins after it was bought in 1968 [1]. The seller reported it to be 175 yeras old at the time. The tuning and some decorations point to the late 19th, early 20th century. It was last tuned 15 years ago, at that time a few of the instruments were also replaced.

We have made samples of most instruments using a large-membrane condensator microphone and CD recorder. Specifically, the sarons barung, demung and panerus (peking), slentem, bonang barung and panerus, kenongs, ketuk & kempyang, kempuls and gongs (note that the big gong, at 44.54Hz, is below the range of most computer speakers). The peking slendro was inexplicably skipped. We hope to sample it and other instruments next year.

We hope these samples will be useful for musicians and scholars. Full notes are available here, including the frequency of each note (accurate to about 0.1Hz). From the spectra, it seems that most notes have a split fundamental (saron keys, bonang kettles) or a split first harmonic (gongs, kempuls), giving rise to the beats that make the sound interesting.

These samples are made available here under the GPL, i.e., you can use them for whatever you want, but if you redistribute them in another form you should provide the original samples, and allow the recipient to redistribute these as well. The full text can be found here, see the GNU site for all the details. The samples on this page are in MP3 format (128kb). The full 16-bit 44.1kHz mono samples are here, soft or loud alternatives for many tones are here. Ogg-format samples will be posted as soon as I have time to make them.

Share & enjoy!

Geert Jan van Oldenborgh

[1] E. L. Heins, 1969. "Tempo (Irama) in de M.-Javaanse gamelanmuziek : ter introductie van Kjai Paridjata", Kultuurpatronen (patterns of culture); dl. 10, 1968 - dl. 11, 1969, pp 30 -57 (with english summary). Delft ethnographic museum.

These samples are copyright (c) 2002 Geert Jan van Oldenborgh and Paul van der Put. you can redistribute it and/or modify them under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307 USA


  6 12356 12356 12
Slentem x x x x x x x
Saron Demung x x x x x x x
Saron Barung x x x x x x x
Saron Panerus (Peking) unavailable
Gambang unavailable
Bonang Barung   x x x x x x x x x x x x
Bonang Panerus   x x x x x x x x x x x x
Kenong     x x x x x
Ketuk     x     x
Kempyang           x
Kempul       x x x x x
Gong Ageng Suwukan


  1234567 1234567
Slentem x x x x x x x
Saron Demung x x x x x x x
Saron Barung x x x x x x x
Saron panerus (Peking) x x x x x x x
Bonang Barung x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Bonang Panerus x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Kenong x x x   x x x
Ketuk           x
Kempyang           x
Kempul         x x
Gong Ageng Suwukan

The following instruments have been replaced when the gamelan was retuned in 1987.

Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, december 2002