K.K. Panji

Acquired: during the Reign of Sultan Hamengku Buwana V
Type of Gamelan: common practice–modernized
Tuning: pélog

One of the two gendèr barung of the gamelan K.K. Panji.

K.K. Panji (“flag” or “high ranking military title”) was acquired, probably commissioned, during the reign of the Fifth Sultan. It is unique among the gamelans currently in the palace in that all of the gongs that are original to this set have faceted surfaces that the Javanese call blimbingan (“starfruit-like”). I have only seen one other gamelan in Yogyakarta with this type of patterning on its gongs, another gamelan pélog currently owned by the government radio station (R.R.I. Yogyakarta) and that very well might have originally been a palace set itself by the name of K.K. Puspanadi (“flower river”), which also entered the palace context during the reign of the Fifth Sultan.

During the reign of the Sixth Sultan, K.K. Panji came to be paired with the newly acquired gamelan sléndro K.K. Harjanegara and used for entertainments to mark the Sultan’s weton (the coincidence of days in the 5- and 7-day Javanese weeks on which a person is born; this coincidence recurs every thirty-five days), for entertainments celebrating life-cycle ceremonies of the Sultan’s children other than the crown prince, to welcome guests, and to accompany dance theatre (ringgit tiyang or wayang wong) rehearsals and performances. During the reign of the Eighth Sultan K.K. Harjanegara was modernized and paired up with a different palace gamelan pélog, K.K. Tumenggung.[1] K.K. Panji probably went into storage at that time, where it stayed until its modernization in 1996. Even after being modernized it is not paired with a gamelan sléndro, and until it is its contexts of use in the palace will be limited. I do know that in April 2007 it was used to accompany the performance of a palace bedhaya dance[2], and that this performance was being considered the reintroduction of K.K. Panji to active duty in the Kraton Yogyakarta. So I was surprised in 2016 when G.B.P.H. Yudhaningrat informed me that K.K. Panji was stored away once again. Apparently there is an issue with its tuning and/or with the condition of its bronze that needs to be resolved. I am not sure what this means in regard to this impressive set’s future in palace life.

K.K. Panji is special in a number of ways. As mentioned above, it is the only current palace gamelan with blimbingan gongs. In 1982, R.M. Sastropustaka described the bronze of this gamelan as “putih” (“white”), by which he meant that its bronze was less yellowish (i.e., paler) than that of other gamelans. This most likely resulted from a unique recipe of constituent materials that went into making its bronze. Finally, it is the only post-First Sultan gamelan to have a larger than normal saron section of four saron demung and eight saron ricik. Along with its other original loud-sounding instruments (gambang gangsa, slentho, and all three sizes of bonang), this set must have originally had a robust sound when played soran (in loud style). When the modernization of this set began in the mid-1990s, the set possessed the typical restricted pre-modern phrase marking instruments (one kenong jaler, one kenong japan, one kethuk, one bendé, and a kempyang; the set’s two gong ageng and its one kempul had been lost or were damaged beyond the possibility of repair). Only one of its original gendèr barung existed, but both of its gambang kayu were intact. To this historic core of the ensemble were added: one gendèr barung, one gendèr panembung, two gendèr penerus, one clempung, five kenong jaler, six kempul, four gong siyem (one originally from another palace gamelan, K.K. Mikatsih), and two gong ageng. Several replacement gong racks and new instrument casing had to be manufactured and carved and painted to blend with surviving cases. Quite an undertaking, but with impressive results.

K.K. Panji is painted a dark green (ijem sepuh) with gold highlight. Some of this highlight is set off against a background of dark red. Open spaces on the instrument casings are bordered with a flame pattern. A few instrument side boards have carved into them three tendrils with stylized blossoms at their ends, probably lotus. Though I did not see the pre-modernization style of gendèr casing for K.K. Panji, it now has been given mataraman style ones. This seems to be a style detail, probably modeled on the gendèr casings of the archaic gamelan K.K. Guntursari,  present in all the gamelans that have been modernized or purchased under the watchful eye of G.B.P.H. Yudhaningrat since the early 1980s.[3]

Inventory:
gong ageng (?)
gong siyem/suwukan (4)
kempul (6)
kenong jaler (6)
kenong japan (1)
kethuk (1)
kempyang (1)
bonang penembung (1)
bonang barung (1)
bonang penerus (1)
saron demung (4)
saron ricik/barung (8)
slentho (1)
gendèr penembung/slenthem (1)
gendèr barung (2)
gendèr penerus (2)
gambang gongsa/gangsa (1)
gambang kayu (2)
clempung/celempung (1)
kendhang ageng/gendhing (?)
kendhang ketipung (?)
kendhang alit/batangan (?)
suling (1)
bendhé (1)
bedhug (general use instrument shared with other gamelans)
rebab (general use instrument shared with other gamelans)
siter (general use instrument shared with other gamelans)
kemanak (general use instrument shared with other gamelans)
kecèr (general use instrument shared with other gamelans)
keprak (general use instrument shared with other gamelans)
tambur (general use instrument shared with other gamelans)