THE INSTRUMENTS USED IN REYOG PONOROGO.
It is known that there had been a usage of angklung in wayang beber, but the relationship between the angklung of wayang beber and that of reyog is not clear. Nevertheless, it cannot be ignored the possiblities of blends between the two arts, moreover when we look into the possibilities of relationship between the Panji Tales (Klono) in the wayang beber and the legend of Reyog Ponorogo. The story of Klono is included in both wayang gedog and the reyog art. Eventually it would also pertain the element of musical instruments of the wayang gedog which likely has great influence to the instruments of Reyog Ponorogo. For examples the angklung, the kendhang and the kenong.
Should we explore into the rural areas of Ponorogo we would find an art which instruments are kinds of angklung in their very primitive forms called gumbeng (people call this art gong gumbeng). There are only two places in Ponorogo which have gong gumbeng. Out of these two places only one still preserves this art, namely Dukuh (Sub-village) Banyu Uripan, Wringinanom Village, Sambit District. Dukuh Banyu Uripan is located on a hill, around 19 kilometers to the south of Ponorogo. When this book is written there is only one set (unit) of gong gumbeng left, and it is in a very old condition.
According to its history gong gumbeng is played only once a year, during the village cleansing ceremony (in the month of Selo of Javanese calendar). During the ceremony people have a communal feast on a bank of a pond, accompanied by gong gumbeng. They sing and dance. The gending (traditional metric songs) presented are specially traditional Javanese songs. The custom has the first song ‘Perkutut Manggung’ or ‘Pangkur’. Other songs are sung later after the first song is finished. It is a custom to obey.
Gong gumbeng is made of bamboo tubes. The shape is like an angklung of various sizes, of big, small and medium sizes. There are three groups (octave), and each group consists of five angklungs (with five different tones). The big gong is made of a large bamboo tube of two joints or around fifty centimeters long. To play the big gong is by blowing a long small bamboo tube placed inside the large bamboo while drawing it up and down along the large bamboo. Other instrument accompaniment is a kendhang.
The birth of gong gumbeng was possibly in a transitional time when there was an infiltration of court culture into laity life. The karawitan (traditional orchestra) art had been known and was to be developed. The cultural artists had not been able to provide iron as the material, however they were able to present beautiful art. From the bamboo material they created the gamelan.
Taking a look into the shape of gong gumbeng and how to play it, it is getting closer for us to recognize the meaning of the instruments which influenced and infiltrated the art of reyog. The infiltration is obvious in either the form of the angklung, which has a similarity to the gumbeng, or the usage of gumbeng itself connected to the birth of reyog (according to the second opinion), i.e the tradition of custom rites previously mentioned. Thus, it is very clear that angklung is close to gumbeng which was originated in the area where reyog was born. So that is, possibly gumbeng gave strong inspiration to the birth of angklung, one of the reyog instruments.