Playing the Rindik

Created by 20th century rice farmers, the Rindik is part of the Balinese Gamelan Orchestra. This 12-keyed bamboo xylophone, tuned to a fairly even-tempered scale, conjures up images of breezy rice fields and sunny days. Last week, I tried playing this instrument with my husband when we visited the Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets in Ubud (Bali). Famous for its intensely coordinated up-tempo overtures, we have a long way to go…!

The rindik may look like a simple instrument that is easy to play, but in fact it takes years to master the technique. Rindik can be played with one or two beaters, the melody is played with the left hand and the right hand plays a complex pattern consisting of two parts. Rindik are tuned in pairs to slightly different frequencies, which results in the characteristic humming sound of the instrument. There are many different compositions for the rindik, which may vary between different villages and regions of Bali, and they are often inspired by flowers or animals.