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Published on Jul 6, 2011
The gamelan is a musical ensemble from Indonesia, typically from the islands of Bali or Java, featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums and gongs; bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings. Vocalists may also be included.
The term refers more to the set of instruments than to the players of those instruments. A gamelan is a set of instruments as a distinct entity, built and tuned to stay together - instruments from different gamelan are generally not interchangeable.
The word gamelan comes from the Javanese word gamels, meaning "to strike or hammer", and the suffix an, which makes the root a collective noun. It is mostly played by traditional people.