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Tihingan Village in Klungkung Regency Producing Gong Music Instrument

12 Januari 2009

Desa Tihingan is a Balinese village with a special craft, producing gong instruments. It is the only village in Bali with such a craft, which is a cause for pride amongst the people of Klungkung Regency. Located in Klungkung, it is about three kilometers west of Klungkung city, about 45 km from Denpasar.
Most people in Tihingan Village devote their time to produce gambelan, instruments of traditional music ensembles in what is a traditional home industry. One of the is Wayan Mustika, who is the father of four children. He has inherited the skill from his father who was active in the craft since the 1920s during the Dutch colonial period.
Speaking of the craft, Mustika said the basic materials used in making one complete set of gong instruments consists of bronze and tin procured from Yogyakarta and Solo in Central Java. Other materials used in the gong instrument industry are jackfruit wood (artocarpus integer) as the gamelan base and cord made from cow skin to attach the gamelan to its base. Transparent plastic cord is a permissible variation from cow skin.

The production process is as follows:

  1. Melting of tin and bronze in a furnace;
  2. Mixture is then put in a model made of bricks and stony soil, and the mixture coagulates within 10 minutes;
  3. Modeled formation of material like a plate taken Out of furnace;
  4. Modeled instrument to be refined by means of a mechanical apparatus and rubbing with sandpaper;
  5. Testing of melody to check the sound;
  6. Installing the tested modeled formation to the wooden base by means of cow skin cord.

Wayan Mustika added that a complete set of gong instruments needs more than 300 kg of bronze and tin, while the many partial jobs to finish production of a gong instrument set could take ten workers six months to complete. The price for a set of gamelan instruments ornamented with “prada” carving starts at Rp 140,000,000. The gamelan market includes Bali, Lombok, Nusa Tenggara, and Sulawesi (Celebes).
Buyers come to the instrument production site directly to order the traditional musical instruments. Overseas visitors from Germany, America and Australia have been among the purchasers, generally just to buy some elements of a gamelan ensemble set.

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