My Relationship with Terompong

Terompong was not really my choice to engage a relationship with. From the very first beginning I saw, it had intimidated me successfully. A more or less 2,5 m gold sculpture wood frame for the place of ten bronze knobs, it has to be played by one person with two panggul terompong (paddle or stick-like). It is usually placed at the front row of the whole gamelan (Balinese traditional orchestra). However, as I had no other choice of instruments, I just faced my ‘fate’ with this melodic instrument. You could read how my relationship began here.


Face to face with the music teacher. Learning by imitating his movement. Note: that chessboard was nothing to do with this process.

We (the women gamelan players) have performed our gamelan once, in the night of Galungan day. I was nervous, could not sleep even 4 days before. It was not just the fact that it would be my first being a gamelan player but also because the whole gamelan music would be started by me. What if was my primary worries that days. What if I started wrongly? What if I finished it wrongly? What if I forgot the whole melody because of this nervous feeling? What if?

If I hit the knobs wrongly in the beginning (the community hall must be silent at that starting point), the false sound would be heard clearly. That-makes-me-nervous.


But, I was OK. Our performance was OK. For almost none of us were professional gamelan players (only one who was a graduate of a music college), people appreciated our gamelan. Probably, much more to our (very) hard effort to play two simple gamelan music: Sekar Gadung and short Panyembrahma (a welcome dance) in just 2 months.

I still play Terompong at home, practice my new art skill, understanding it. Striking its ten different knobs, listening by my ears and heart. And love every second of it.

Post to Daily Prompt: Strike a Chord


10 thoughts on “My Relationship with Terompong

  1. Everything in the picture looks so exquisite I can imagine how sweet the music must’ve been. Reminded of a quote by Lao Tzu ~ “Music in the soul can be heard by the universe”. 🙂
    Thank you Indah.


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