Get to Know the Javanese Gamelan

Instruments of the Javanese gamelan

Let's learn about percussion! 

A percussion instrument is something you hit to make noise. Have you heard of any of these percussion instruments before?

Fun facts about percussion instruments: 

  • Percussion instruments have been around for thousands of years. You can find different types of percussion in every culture around the world! 
  • Your body can be a percussion instrument! Any time you clap, snap, or make an interesting beat, you are your own instrument. 
  • The piano is considered a type of percussion instrument because it uses hammers to hit strings and create noise. 

Time to travel to Indonesia

If you ever visit Java, an island in Indonesia, you may find yourself listening to the unique and complicated music of the gamelan: a type of orchestra made up of percussion instruments! 

In the gamelan, there are many, many instruments, each which play their own unique part. Listen to some of these interesting instruments in this video:

When Debussy and other composers visited the World's Fair in 1889, they listened to Javanese musicians playing in a gamelan and were very inspired! They probably heard interesting music like this: 




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