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Gandingan musical instrument of Kulintang

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Gandingan musical instrument of Kulintang
The gandingan is a Philippine set of four large, hanging gongs used by the Maguindanao as part of their kulintang ensemble. When integrated into the ensemble, it functions as a secondary melodic instrument after the main melodic instrument, the kulintang. When played solo, the gandingan allows fellow Maguindanao to communicate with each other, allowing them to send messages or warnings via long distances. This ability to imitate tones of the Maguindanao language using this instrument has given the gandingan connotation: the “talking gongs.

The instrument is usually described as four, large, shallow-bossed, thin-rimmed gongs, vertically hung, either from a strong support such as a tree limb or housed in a strong wooden framed stand. The gongs are arranged in graduated fashion in pairs with knobs of the lower-pitched gongs facing each other and the higher-pitched gongs doing the same. Normally, the lower-pitched gongs would be situated on the left side and the higher pitched gongs on the right side of the player if he/she were right-handed. This arrangement in fact is similar to the arrangement of gongs on the horizontally laid kulintang – so much so, in fact that master musicians say it duplicates the pattern of intervals used on the four lower-pitched gongs of the kulintang.

Gandingan gongs placed one inside the other

The gongs, themselves, although variable in pitch, are relatively similar in size. Diameters range from 1.8 to 2 feet and 5 to 8 inches (including the boss) in width for the smallest to largest gongs respectively. Because of their slight differences, smaller gongs could be placed into larger gongs, making transport of these gongs more portable than an agung’s, whose turned-in-rim eliminates that possibility.

Traditionally, the metal used for the gandingan was bronze but due to its scarcity, gandingans are more commonly made of less valuable metals such as brass and even iron. Recently, galvanized iron sheets have been used where different parts of the gong (the knob, body and rim) would be made from separate sheets and welded together, then grinded out to produce a finished product.[4] Comparatively, these newer gongs have a higher pitch and are smaller in size than those made in older times.

Item Number: GMIK

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