from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An Indonesian orchestra composed mainly of tuned percussion instruments such as bamboo xylophones, wooden or metal chimes, and gongs.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A genre of music of Indonesian origin typically featuring metallophones, xylophones, drums, gongs and a bamboo flute (called a siuling).
  • n. The name of the ensemble performing this style of music.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a traditional Indonesian ensemble typically including many tuned percussion instruments including bamboo xylophones and wooden or bronze chimes and gongs


Javanese, from Old Javanese gamĕlan, percussion instrument, ensemble of percussion instruments, from gamĕl, to play a percussion instrument.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Malay gamelan, from Javanese gamelan. (Wiktionary)


  • Western keyboard and hammered instruments have go from low to high as you move to the right — I believe the xylophone-like instruments in gamelan orchestras are like this too — which means that the more technically difficult lines are more often played with the right hand.

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  • And it's wonderful because the gamelan is like a microcosm of how the Balinese live.

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  • A gamelan is a musical instrument from Indonesia - typically from the islands of Bali or Java - featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums and gongs, bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings. - News

  • The skeleton rehearsal orchestra started up: a double-sided drum, a gamelan which is a sort of oriental xylophone and a big wooden wheel festooned with tinkling bells.

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  • Brisbane (ANTARA News) - Konsulat RI di Darwin memperkenalkan permainan "gamelan", alat musik kas Jawa, kepada siswa dari sejumlah sekolah di Australia, melalui sebuah lokakarya seni budaya Nusantara.

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  • For instance, anyone who has heard Balinese gamelan knows that it is fast and furious compared to Malay (Terengganu) gamelan which is more stately, relaxed and melodious.


  • The last time gamelan hit the headlines was when some rabble-rousers accused Malaysia of "stealing" cultural heritage, such as gamelan, from Indonesia.


  • John Cage's "Amores" joined the gamelan-like sound of prepared piano, played by Lin, with parts for three percussionists.

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  • Touring opposite the reliably charming Penguin Cafe is the chillout, gamelan and Steve Reich-influenced Portico Quartet – another popular engaging bunch of mavericks.

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  • "Biophilia" is built in large part on instruments Björk and her team invented, including a bronze keyboard that's a cross between a celesta and a gamelan, a digital pipe organ, a Tesla coil that replicates rumbling bass, and a series of 30-foot-tall sound-producing pendulums.

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