Instruments of the
Balinese Gamelan

Gong Icon

Cave Hand

Further study on this subject: Ancient Traditions–Future Possibilities:
Rhythmic Training Through the Traditions of Africa, Bali and India.

By Matthew Montfort. Ancient Future Music (1985).
ISBN 0-937879-00-2. Book/CD Set- 74.95. SALE! $53.95:

30 Minute Online Lesson.
Custom private lesson via Skype or other service. $44:


A Balinese gamelan, which translates as orchestra, is an ensemble normally composed primarily of percussion.

The Balinese Gamelan as a MIDI Map

The Balinese rhythm exercises from the book Ancient Traditions–Future Possibilities are arranged for General MIDI vibraphones in this Internet presentation of music for the Gamelan Semar Pegulingan,  the "gamelan of the love God." To set up playback on a MIDI synthesizer or sampler, use this MIDI map of the of the instruments of the Balinese gamelan to map the MIDI data to the appropriate sound.


The gènder  is a metallophone having a two-octave or wider range, with bronze keys suspended over bamboo resonators. There are two sets of instruments, one for polos  (the part of an interlocking figuration that follows the basic melodic line most closely), and one tuned slightly higher for the nyangsih  (the generally offbeat part of an interlocking figuration). This difference in tuning creates a shimmering chorus effect.

Suggested substitutions: gamelan or vibraphone samples. Tune the polos instrument slightly flat and the nyangsih slightly sharp.

MIDI map:

channel 2 = gènder 1 (nyangsih)

channel 3 = gènder 2 (polos)


The jegogan  is a bass metallophone with keys resting over resonators.

Suggested substitutions: gamelan, vibraphone, or low steel drum sample.

MIDI map:

channel 4 = jegogan


Small, medium, and large gongs are used in Balinese gamelan ensembles.

Suggested substitutions: low tubular bells or Chinese gong samples.

MIDI map:

channel 5 = gong

channel 6 = gong


Further Resources

Ancient Rhythms–Future Grooves

Ancient Rhythms–Future Grooves: Audio and MIDI Percussion Groove Tracks from the Traditions of Africa, Bali, and India. Want more audio and MIDI files? Get this complete collection of groove tracks from the book Ancient Traditions–Future Possibilities. For a limited time, get both the book and the enhanced audio CD set with MIDI files for only $53.95 (SALE! Normally $74.95): Add 1 to Cart. Buy 1 Now.

Skype School

Skype online music lesson guitar pick icon carved in Bali for Matthew Montfort

Further instruction on this material is available through private Skype lessons with the author, Matthew Montfort.