28 November 2012

Karo Gendang

Gongs of the Karo Gendang

The Karo gendang sarunei is generally played by a sarunei, two gendang, and two gongs, a very large one called gung and a very small one called penganak, the latter being derived from 'anak', meaning 'child'. To name the smallest instrument within a set of instruments as anak/child is very common, not only within the Batak terminology but also in other Indonesian cultures. To give some examples of size, some gung measured 100, 68 and 60 cm in diameter, while the penganak measured 18, 16 and 15 cm.

Two examples of rhythmic patterns, generally used for slow and fast tempi respectively, are given here:

Karo Gendang

The music is played by two drummers on two gendang called gendang anakna ("child" gendang) and gendang indungna ("mother" gendang). The gendang anakna is actually a pair of drums, consisting of a main drum, baluh, and a small drum, gerantung ("hanging"), which is attached to the side of the larger drum. The Karojahe or 'lowlands Karo', whose drums are considerably larger, use as gendang anakna two main drums, merely turning the second one upside down as the lower head has a much smaller diameter. The musical function of the gendang anakna is to provide an accompanying or steady rhythmic pattern, with little or no variation. The second drummer plays the indungna, whose shape is the same as the main drum of the anakna pair. The function of this 'mother' drum is to improvise rhythmic sequences with great virtuosity. The playing of the gendang is called singanaki and singindungi respectively.

The Karo keteng-keteng

This group consists of one kulcapi and/or belobat as melody instrument, two tube zithers keteng-keteng and one mangkuk.

The parts for gendang drums and gongs are played on zithers and mangkuk. The keteng-keteng has two strings. The one tuned to the lower pitch is provided with a special sound mechanism: a certain piece of bamboo is attached to the string and vibrates over a sound hole when the string is beaten with a stick. The resulting low and slightly longer sounding tone is the substitute for the big gong of the gendang sarunei-ensemble. The mangkuk (usually a bowl made of porcelain), beaten with a stick, provides the sound of the small gong penganak. On the second string of the keteng-keteng which passes over a bridge, the parts of the gendang drums are beaten, differentiated according to the two gendang parts:

1. keteng-keteng anakna, the accompanying instrument, and
2. keteng-keteng indungna, varying "solo" instrument.

Each of the two keteng-keteng players beats his special rhythm and the regular metrical beats of the gung.

Source : 
The Terminology of Batak Instrumental Music in Northern Sumatra
Author(s): Artur Simon
Source: Yearbook for Traditional Music, Vol. 17, (1985), pp. 113-145
Published by: International Council for Traditional Music

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