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Know Our Music Gendang Melayu

VOI KNOW OUR MUSIC, 28-07-2015 

Hello listeners, welcome to KNOW OUR MUSIC, a weekly segment introducing you to Indonesian traditional music and musical instrument from across Indonesia. This week we’ll invite you to know more about Malay traditional musical instrument from North Sumatra, namely Gendang. 


Listener, Gendang Melayu is a typical musical instrument of Malay tribe especially in North Sumatera. This musical instrument is made of animal leather, such as bufallo, goat or ox. This musical instrument belongs to  genderang or drum instruments. Gendang can be made into various sizes and for various uses. Gendang is used for various occasions such as to accompany martial art and dance performances or to welcome a celebration and certain events. In general, gendang consists of two kinds, namely common gendang and hadrah gendang. Common gendang is also called Gendang Tiong or Gendang Campak. This gendang has 20 to 40 centimeter long Tawangan or cylinder tube, while its diameter is in accordance with the length of the cylinder tube or tawangan. The shape of tawangan is straight with equal size on the tip and the base. On one of tawangan tips, a membrane from goat leather is installed. And to get bass voice, usually cow leather is installed on the big tawangan or cylinder tube. This gendang membrane is not installed permanently but is tied with rattan so that the bond can be tightened or loosened accordance with the desire. 


Now, we talk about gendang Hadrah.  Gendang Hadrah has tawangan or cylinder tube with the size between 15-30 centimeters. Its membrane uses goat skin which is permanently nailed on the tube. Around the circle of tawangan, there are 3 holes to install  bells from metal.

This gendang can be played  at least by using 3 gendang or drums which produce different sound. Gendrang hadrah is usually played during wedding parade, welcoming guest etc.  Actually, making and using Malay gendang is not different from other gendang. To make gendang is not difficult, only making a hole on the wooden part by using traditional tool. It takes energy because it must refine raw material in order to make the good sound. Therefore, it chooses wood with large circle, then cut 30/35-45 cm. The wood is holed by chisel until thin. To play gendang is also quite easy. Because it does not need special tone.  It is just beaten by using hand or stick. In the performance, Gendang can be accompanied by other traditional instruments.  Well listener, that was a glimpse of gendrang. Thank you for listening and sampai jumpa.




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