Gendang Beriak – Similar to the traditional music of various other tribes in Southeast Asia, the Dayak music is also dominated by sounds produced by percussion instruments. Percussive music is music that was born from a culture that is closely related to nature. In other words, this music originates from an agrarian lifestyle, given that percussive musical instruments were born and inspired by plants.

Gendang Beriak
Gendang Beriak

Dayak has a variety of percussive instruments, such as togunggak, peruncong, sengkurung, Dayak Gendang, and others. Interestingly, one of the characteristics of the Dayak percussion instruments is that the tones complement each other, or in terms of the Dayak tribe called ngait or ngipa or ningka.

According to Willian Malm, an American ethnomusicologist, the scales in Dayak musical instruments are not the same as traditional Javanese musical instruments. The Dayak musical instrument has only five scales and does not have a half-tone range called anhemitonic-penthatonic – it can be seen from the sape instrument. Therefore, many consider Dayak music more complicated when compared to traditional Javanese musical instruments which have seven scales.

However, not all traditional Dayak instruments look complicated. Gendang Dayak for example. If other Dayak percussion instruments are played using ngait techniques, the Dayak Gendang in the performance of the rippling Gendang is actually played in a rampak manner. The sound of a Gendang rippling is almost the same as the sound of a Gendang in general. What distinguishes the rippling Gendang from the other Gendang is the tempo of the game. The wasp stomping but slowly adjusted to the movements of the dancers which rested on the stomping of the feet.

The rippling Gendang is a performance of original Dayak percussion instruments. This Gendang is usually played by more than two men wearing traditional Dayak clothing. The rippling Gendang performances are often held at major harvest events or when welcoming great guests. Based on its development, the performance of the rippling Gendang not only serves as a sacred performance, but also serves as a profane form.

Gendang Beriak
Gendang Beriak

What are the Gendang made of?

Anatomically, the Dayak Gendang has a long flat shape. The middle part narrows and then widens at the end. The shape is believed to produce a loud Gendang sound.

The Dayak Gendang uses pigskin or buffalo skin. The animal skin is linked using rattan. Rattan is then given a booster to be stronger and durable. Because the rippling Gendang performance can be played in a standing position, usually the Gendang is equipped with a supporting rope to the body which is also made of rattan. But if played in a sitting position, the rattan rope is connected to the big toe.
Read too:

Back to top