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Gongs

Gongs of various sizes and design are used all over Southeast Asia. A Western term for large gongs is "tam-tam." Most gongs are usually hanging from a frame and struck with a padded beater but some are played horizontally on a frame and are struck with harder mallets. The gongs pictured here are all hanging gongs either from a frame by a cord or from the tips of the fingers. The large gong in the center is a tam-tam made in Europe by Paiste. On the upper left is a Chinese xiao-luo used in Beijing opera (also known as Peking opera or jingxi but there are many regional styles/names in China & Taiwan), which is hand held and struck with a flat wooden stick causing the pitch to bend up (this gong is known in the West as an "opera gong"). Just below that is a Chinese da-luo (also used in Beijing opera), which is suspended from a cord and struck with a flat wooden stick causing the pitch to bend down (this gong is also known in the West as an "opera gong"). On the bottom left is a flat metal plate known as a temple gong (or bell plate) made by the Italian company UFIP. On the upper right is a medium-sized hand-hammered gong from China. Below that is a Filipino "nipple gong" from a kulintang, which is a set of many such gongs all pitched differently. The raised center tunes the gong to a single pitch so that melodies can be played on sets of these types of gongs. Horizontally-played gongs with a raised centers like these are arranged on racks and used in the traditional musics of Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. On the bottom right is a hand-hammered South Korean gong known as kkwaenggwari, which is held from the finger tips and struck with a wooden mallet. This type of gong is used in Korean musics known as sangsoe/nongak, samulnori, and pungmulnori. The gong circle is a Thai khong wong yai (see entry for more).

 

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