Siter

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Celempung at the Indonesian Embassy in Australia


The siter and celempung are plucked string instruments used in Javanese gamelan. They are related to the kacapi used in Sundanese gamelan.

The siter and celempung each have between 11 and 13 pairs of strings, strung on each side, between a box resonator. Typically the strings on one side tuned to pélog and the other to slendro. The siter is generally about a foot long and fits in a box (which it is set upon while played), while the celempung is about three feet long and sits on four legs, and is tuned one octave below the siter. They are used as one of the elaborating instruments (panerusan), that play cengkok (melodic patterns based on the balungan). Both the siter and celempung play at the same speed as the gambang (which is rapidly).

The name "siter" comes from the Dutch word "citer," which corresponds to the English word "zither." "Celempung" is related to the Sundanese musical form celempungan.

The strings of the siter are played with the thumbnails, while the fingers are used to dampen the strings when the next one is hit, as is typical with instruments in the gamelan. The fingers of both hands are used for the damping, with the right hand below the strings and the left hand above them.

Siters and celempung of various sizes are the characteristic instrument in Gamelan Siteran, although they are used in many other varieties of gamelan as well.

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Instruments and vocals used in Javanese gamelan
Colotomic instruments:
Balungan instruments:
Panerusan instruments:
Unpitched instruments:
Vocals and clapping:
  Kempyang and ketuk | Kempul | Kenong | Gong
Saron panerus | Saron barung | Demung | Slenthem | Slentho
Bonang | Gendr | Gambang | Siter | Celempung | Suling | Rebab
Kendang | Bedug | Kecer | Kemanak | Kepyak
Gerong | Sindhen | Alok | Senggakan | Keplok
gamelan is a kind of musical ensemble of Indonesia typically featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophoness, xylophones, drums, and gongs; bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings, and vocalists may also be included.
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Kacapi is a zither-like Sundanese musical instrument played as the main accompanying instrument in the Tembang Sunda or Kacapi Suling genre, or an additional instrument in Gamelan Degung performance.
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Sundanese may refer to:
  • Sundanese people
  • Sundanese language
  • Sundanese script

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Pelog is one of the two essential scales of gamelan music native to Bali and Java, in Indonesia. The other scale commonly used is called slendro. Pelog has seven notes, but many gamelan ensembles only have keys for five of the pitches.
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Slendro (called salendro by the Sundanese) is a pentatonic scale, one of the two most common scales (laras) used in Indonesian gamelan music, the other being pélog. Its five pitches are roughly equally spaced within the octave.
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The panerusan instruments or elaborating instruments are one of the divisions of instruments used in the gamelan. Instsead of the rhythmic structure provided by the colotomic instruments, and the core melody of the balungan instruments, the panerusan instruments play
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Cengkok (old orthography: chengkok) are patterns played by the elaborating instruments in the Javanese gamelan. Typically they are melodic patterns that lead to the seleh, following the rules of the pathet of the piece.
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The balungan (Javanese: skeleton, frame) is sometimes called the "core melody" of a gamelan composition. This corresponds to the view that gamelan music is heterophonic: the balungan is then the melody which is being elaborated.
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A gambang, properly called a gambang kayu ('wooden gambang') is a xylophone-like instrument of Indonesian origin used in gamelan, with wooden bars as opposed to the metallic ones of the more typical metallophones in a gamelan.
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Dutch}}} 
Writing system: Latin alphabet (Dutch variant) 
Official status
Official language of:  Aruba
 Belgium
 European Union
 European Union
 Netherlands Antilles
 Suriname
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English}}} 
Writing system: Latin (English variant) 
Official status
Official language of: 53 countries
Regulated by: no official regulation
Language codes
ISO 639-1: en
ISO 639-2: eng
ISO 639-3: eng  
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Celempungan is a Sundanese musical genre that includes several musical instruments such as Kacapi, Kendang, Goong/Gong, and Suling or Rebab (optional), and Juru Kawih (singer). kendang, the drum, controls the tempo of the ensemble and reinforces the meter.
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Gamelan Siteran is a casual style of gamelan in Java, Indonesia, featuring portable, inexpensive instruments instead of the heavy bronze metallophones of a typical gamelan.
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gamelan is a kind of musical ensemble of Indonesia typically featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophoness, xylophones, drums, and gongs; bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings, and vocalists may also be included.
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For the surgical operation, see colostomy.


Colotomy is a term coined by the ethnomusicologist Jaap Kunst[1] to describe the rhythmic patterns of the gamelan.
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The balungan (Javanese: skeleton, frame) is sometimes called the "core melody" of a gamelan composition. This corresponds to the view that gamelan music is heterophonic: the balungan is then the melody which is being elaborated.
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The panerusan instruments or elaborating instruments are one of the divisions of instruments used in the gamelan. Instsead of the rhythmic structure provided by the colotomic instruments, and the core melody of the balungan instruments, the panerusan instruments play
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The kempyang and ketuk (Javanese: kethuk) are two instruments in the gamelan, generally played by the same player, and sometimes played by the same player as the kenong. They are important beat-keepers in the colotomic structure of the gamelan.
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kempul is a type of hanging gong used in Indonesian gamelan. It is often placed with the gong suwukan and gong ageng, hanging on a single rack, at the back of the gamelan, and these instruments are often played by the same player with the same mallets.
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The kenong is one of the instruments used in the Indonesian gamelan. It is technically a kind of gong, but is placed on its side and is roughly as tall as it is wide. It thus is similar to the bonang, kempyang and ketuk, which are also cradled gongs.
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gong ageng (Kromo Javanese meaning large gong, ngoko is gong gedhe) is the largest gong in a Javanese and Balinese gamelan. It is used as to mark the largest phrases in the structure.
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saron is a musical instrument of Indonesia, which is used in the gamelan. It typically consists of seven bronze bars placed on top of a resonating frame (rancak). It is usually about 20 cm (8 in) high, and is played on the floor by a seated performer.
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saron is a musical instrument of Indonesia, which is used in the gamelan. It typically consists of seven bronze bars placed on top of a resonating frame (rancak). It is usually about 20 cm (8 in) high, and is played on the floor by a seated performer.
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saron is a musical instrument of Indonesia, which is used in the gamelan. It typically consists of seven bronze bars placed on top of a resonating frame (rancak). It is usually about 20 cm (8 in) high, and is played on the floor by a seated performer.
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The slenthem (also spelled slentem) is an instrument in the gamelan. It is similar to the family of sarons, in that it usually has seven keys and a range of about an octave, pitched below the saron demung (the lowest saron), and generally the same as the slentho.
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The slentho (also spelled slento) is a musical instrument of the gamelan. It is similar to the saron family of instruments, and would be its lowest member (pitched one octave below the saron demung).
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bonang is a musical instrument used in the Javanese gamelan. It is a collection of small gongs (sometimes called "kettles" or "pots") placed horizontally onto strings in a wooden frame (rancak), either one or two rows wide.
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A gambang, properly called a gambang kayu ('wooden gambang') is a xylophone-like instrument of Indonesian origin used in gamelan, with wooden bars as opposed to the metallic ones of the more typical metallophones in a gamelan.
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A suling is an Indonesian/Philippine flute made out of bamboo. It is used in gamelan ensembles.

Depending on the regional genre, a suling can be tuned into different scales.
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The rebab , Arabic الرباب or رباب (also rebap, rabab, rebeb, rababah, al-rababa
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