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Jakarta Post

For the love of music

  • Retno K. Djojo

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, January 29 2010   /  01:15 pm

Pounding the music: Blacksmiths hammer a red-hot iron rod that will later form part of a slendro, or xylophone, at a foundry in Bogor, West Java.The dust and the din of hammer on anvil are overwhelming. Inside the dark shack, four muscled men are sweating, forging metal for traditional musical instruments. The moment the one sitting by the fire places a flaming iron rod on the anvil, the three others start hammering on it until the sparks fly.The iron bar they are working on will later be assembled to become a note on a xylophone or slendro.  Meanwhile, another worker sitting near the doorway of the foundry cleans a small gong-shaped instrument that is part of another pentatonic instrument known as a bonang. The slendro, bonang, gong, saron and degung are all part of the larger gamelan orchestra. They are indispensable at traditional events, such as wayang performances, wedding cere...