THE INSTRUMENTS USED IN REYOG PONOROGO.
In the art of reyog, the big gong has slendro (pentatonic) scale. The gong is made of easily available material and cheap in price. It, of course, requires good quality of material to produce good sound, that it can make a thunderous sound to be able to thrill every heart, and to be heard from far away. When the musical instruments of reyog are played, it is only the sound of the kempul (big gong) that can be heard from a far. Its sound has a firm rhythm like a command of bringing forth of war enthusiasm.
It was told when mysticism penetrated strongly into the art of reyog, also when a system of ‘opposing one reyog group to another’ influenced reyog groups, the challenging instrument used as a warfare was the big gong kempul beaten repeatedly. Its sound could be heard from a distant place. The opponent who heard the sound would soon match the sound with their big gong as the answer of the challenge.
Example: the following is an excerpt taken from the book Babad Ponorogo by Purwowijoyo. On page 26 it is mentioned that when the warriors from Kutu (the warriors of Ki Ageng Suryongalam) would make an attack to Ponorogo, they preceded it by beating of musical instruments of reyog, which was accentuated by the sound of the big gong. The first purpose was a sign of a warfare and the second one was to generate enthusiasm and spirit of war to the warriors.
“Jam sewelas wis tekan watesing kutha, sakidule kali. Gamelan reyog tinabuh ngungkung tanda perang”.
At around eleven they reached the border of the town, at the south of the river. The gamelan of reyog were beaten repeatedly as a sign of warfare.
2. Traditional trumpet
In terms of military the sound of a trumpet means an order to obey. The trumpet has an important role, either in a battle, in marches or other occasions. In the past the Ponorogans also used the trumpet as a command in a war. The trumpet was a complement in generating enthusiasm and inflaming spirit of struggle.