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In Javanese gamelan, the Metallophones usually play the melody part.  Generally, the metallophones are a kind of "xylophone" with metal bars.  The Metallophone family is basically divided into two groups:

redbullet.gif (1005 bytes)  Saron

redbullet.gif (1005 bytes)  Gender Family

Because of it's look, the wooden Gambang is sometimes considered as a metallophone.

The metal bars used in Saron and Gender are of different kinds.  The Saron type has a thick and slightly curved bar.  All of the bars are mounted over a single trough resonator.  The mallets for Saron are made of hard wood or horn.  The playing may be loud or soft.  The Gender type has a thin and ribbed bar.  Each bar is suspended over a tube resonator which is tuned to the pitch of that particular bar.   The mallets for Gender have a head in the shape of disc which is covered by a detachable ring of padding, and the strokes are usually gentle. 

Pictures credit:  Neil Sorrell.  A Guide to the Gamelan, p.30

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a Saron metal bar                                a Gender metal bar

During playing, the player uses the right hand to grip the mallet, and uses the left hand to damp the metal bar.  The player would not damp the bar immediately after it was struck, but as the next bar is being struck.  To damp the sound, the player pinching the end of the metal bar between the thumb and forefinger.

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