Gamelan gong gede

Gamelan gong gede, meaning "gamelan with the large gongs", is a form of the ceremonial gamelan music of Bali, dating from the court society of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, associated historically with public ceremonies and special occasions such as temple festivals.[1]

Music of Indonesia
Kempul gongs from Java
Specific forms
Regional music


Usually performed by a temple orchestra of over forty musicians,[2] music written for the gong gede is sedate and graceful, following an andante tempo. It fluctuates in cycles, one fast, one slow, one loud, and one soft. The beat is provided by the largest gong.[3]


During their colonization of Bali in the late nineteenth century, the Dutch dissolved the courts. The use of the gong gede became limited to temple music.[4] It was later superseded in popularity by gong kebyar, a more up-tempo form of gamelan played with smaller gongs, that originated in Balinese villages in the late 19th century and became widely popular in the 1920s and 1930s.[5]


  1. Miller and Williams (1998), p. 390.
  2. Cooke (1998), p. xiii.
  3. "10 Facts about Balinese Gamelan". Fact File. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  4. Mantle Hood (2011), p. 9.
  5. McPhee (1966), p. xiv.


Examples of recordings of gamelan gong gede:

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