Gamelan instrument with flat keys

This instrument with flat bronze keys is called a 'saron' and it belongs to the gamelan ensemble of instruments. A saron is a metal xylophone consisting of six keys resting on a rectangular wooden resonator. The higher pitched keys are smaller and thicker than the lower oitched ones. The saron comes in three different octaves: the lowest is called 'demung', the middle, the 'barung' and the highest is the 'pekin'.The term 'gamelan' refers to the action ('an') of hammering ('gamel') bronze instruments such as gongs and drums among several other types of instruments with beaters. The bronze instruments play the main melody and are accompanied by softer wind, wood and string instruments. The practice of taking off shoes and not stepping over the instruments is a sign of respect and it is believed that the correct manner of playing results in refinement of one's character. Today, gamelan music remains an important part of court and village life in Java. Many sets are kept as royal heirlooms (pusaka) and are played at important ceremonies.

Indigenous Name
Probably mid 20th century
Object size: 34 x 91.5 x 23.5 cm
Accession No.
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum
Musical Instruments