Instruments of Indonesia

  Indonesia supports an amazing culture of music and music making. The diversity is manifest in its home industry-mode of instrument production, in which each maker creates a product slightly different in make and tuning than his neighbor. In addition to the familiar bronze instruments, there are iron, bamboo, wood, and brass gamelans as well. Craftsmen also produce non-traditional instruments such as whistles, kalimbas, shakers, rain-sticks, digeridoos, and djembe drums.
  Most of this catalogue features gamelan instruments, sold individually for home use, or to fill out an ensemble. We offer two qualities: the so-called "iron" and bronze. "Iron" gongs and metalaphones are made of recycled, low-grade steel, welded and riveted together. They can have beautiful resonance. Bronze instruments are poured and pounded into shape, tuned by filing and hammering. Bronze metal takes years to "settle" and needs tuning once or twice in the first ten years or so.
  Drums and wood stands for the gamelan instruments are likewise stratified: teak for the stands and jackfruit drums are prefered. Other woods

are second best. Makers prefer the former for tone and resonance.
  As natural resources in Indonesia have waned, prices have risen. This not only includes wood, but the price of copper and tin that constitute bronze. Most copper is gathered from recycled wire. New teak wood, far from clear, is usually bi-colored and knotty, gathered from younger trees. But the economy of gamelan production is oriented toward export sales. It is the world market, not the local one, that influences the sale price of gamelan instruments. This accounts for the price disparity between "iron" and bronze instruments.
  Please peruse these pages and contact us with any questions.