PargonsiBatak ensemble music called gondang  performanced in  all cultural practice and most in ritual Batak traditional religion in the past , to deliver pray to God ( Ompung Mulajadi Nabolon ) they ought to play gondang .  When the music was played the player of Sarune and Partaganing usually believed as transform of Batara Guru ( the god of sky ) , then this pray easy to acces to God ( Ompung Mulajadi Nabolon ) place in heaven . Well, sounds like Bali belief but don't know if we have relationship with Balinesse .
Well , this story might help you to understand how strong this music can hipnotize somebody :
" As a student of etnomusicology , it was the first tiime for me introduced to Gondang Batak Toba music in 1993 in Washington University, Seattle, USA . This music is very unique and beautiful , has complex melody played by the Sarune Bolon and taganing weave with gondang rhythm , ogung and hesek with hipnotized way "  Mark Kneyton ( a writer from University of  Washington Seatle, USA ) .

Old Pargonsi on pose .
batak dancerAfter early century 20th Dutch tried to invade Batak land and saw how the Gondang music have became  the spirit in all activities of the Batak people so Dutch try to stop it trough  Europe missionaries who already started  taken root in some part of Batak land .  So Ducth thought to defeat Batak people is to stop their spirit source/dynamo : gondang . Missionaries said that in Christianity gondang is prohibited because can make people inconcious , as part of animism , idolic of death spirit of ancestor . Even Nommensen the well known missionarist in Batak land also agreed with Dutch to stop Batak people follow Batak religion and to separate their collective memory with their leader and also their spiritual Batak traditional  religion leader Sisingamangaraja is must stop Gondang . ( Literal source :  Daniel Perret in book tittled : "Kolonialisme dan Etnisitas: Batak dan Melayu di Sumatera Timur Laut " ) . This announcement really-really beaten Batak traditional religion so great means also the Gondang performance is rare to find till now , only in adat/tradition practice , most is  because it is expensive so only the rich can call them to perform in their traditional party but in formal occasion they are still used . Yes, some body can not take the root of spirit who have lived in our heart , our tradition , God have made it to coloring the world .
I think finally Nommensen aso felt sad to know that cultural art show is rare to find or even almost vanished then he build many schools , university , hospital , orphan and disable house in Batak land , maybe he felt quilty to us for this .This mission now continued by the missionaries from German , their center in Pematang Siantar . Then in 1938 gondang hasapi can played in church that is why this ensemble use diatonic chord like Western chord but gondang sabangunan use pentatonic chord .

Unique Batak Chord

The chord in Gondang Batak arranged in unique way . The chord arranged in almost same way but not presist same with first chord to fifth Diatonic
mayor as well as you find in Western music :do, re, mi, fa, sol . This chord form pentatonic unique chord that can not be found in other place in this world . System chord in Gondang Batak varied in each ensemble , this variation depends on estetic of Sarune player and Partaganing . In other place in Batak land the sub tribe also same just they add their own variation .

Well , Mark Kneyton ( a writer from University of  Washington Seatle, USA ) also  agree with the unique of Gondang chord :
" As a student of etnomusicology , it was the first time for me introduced to Gondang Batak Toba music in 1993 in Washington University, Seattle, USA . This musci is very unique and beautiful , has complex melody played by the Sarune Bolon and taganing weave with gondang rhythm , ogung and hesek with hipnotized way "  .

Gondang has 3 meaning in literally :
    1. As music of Batak Toba
    2. Composition that found in the music , there is Gondang Mula-mula , Gondang Hora-hora  , etc .
    3. As instrument music  .

According to book of Sitor Situmorang , a well known poet and writer : Toba Na Sae: Sejarah Lembaga Sosial Politik Abad XIII-XX  telling about many  activities of Batak people always start with Gondang performance so there are:

1. Gondang tomu-tomu is welcoming gondang , to start a performance
2. Gondang Songgot performance in griefing time .
3. Gondang Tonggo-tongo is played when they have something to ask/to pray to God and need to fulfilled/help .
Gondang Simonang-monang is played to welcoming the win or in happiness .
5 . Gondang performance always closed with Gondang sitio-tio  and many more .

Batak ensembles are :

  1. Gondang Sabangunan comprise of sarune bolon (a kind of ”obo , idio-aerophone ), taganing ( Batak Batak melody drum set /drum-chime ) , gordang ( big Batak drum to feature rhytm , 4 gongs  and hesek ( a kind of percusion , usually a bottle that struck with a wood or metal to strengthening the rhytm . Most is used for ritual or traditional ceremony , Parmalim religion  still use this in their ritual ceremony , their centre is in Huta Tinggi , Balige .
  2. Gondang Hasapi comprise of Hasapi Ende , Hasapi Doal  , Sarune Etek  , Garantung , Hesek , and Sulim , most is used for entertaining to accompany opera Batak , Tor-tor ( Batak dance ) and Tumba ( youth dancing ) . 
  3. Uning-uningan consist of garantung to bring melody , sarune etek ,  taganing  , gordang and hesek ( struck idiophone ,  as base hit which must be followed by the pargonsi to harmonize the ensemble ) .
Batak ensemble player called Pargonsi ( read Pargocci ) or Panggual Pargonsi . Ok , if you want to buy Batak  instruments music  , the list and price are below  and you can order to this addres : or dil thi number 081973434717
sigarantung Price Rp 1.500.000
Garantung ( Read garattung ) is a percusion classified to xylophone made from hau ingul (Cedrella toona) and dosi . Garantung consist of 7 pieces or more called bilahan that hung on a box which is also has function as a resonator . Every piece has tone like 1 ( do ) , 2 ( re ) , 3 ( mi) , 4 ( fa ) , 5 ( sol ) , 6 ( la ) and 7 ( si ) . Every piece is connected and hung with rope .
Resonator box also has handled which is hit as a basic rhythm and pieces of bilahan as melody . This percusion played with 2 sticks , stick on the left hand has function to play rhytm and melody then stick on right hand has function to hit handled of garantung and pieces of bilahan in playing a music or song . Garantung can play solo or ensemble .

  Sulim ( Batak flute )
Batak flutePrice Rp150.000
Sulim ( side blown flute) is made of bamboo but different with other suling or seruling . The different is this flute is slide blow flute and produce vibration sound  because between the blow hole and rhythm hole made a hole width 0,5cm that closed with a plastic .
Sulim length is according to which basic rhythm to wish , sulim has 6 holes , to make holes is measured with traditional measurement . According to melody that sulim produced sulim also play minor song even most is mayor scale with diatonis rhythm .

Taganing .

taganingPrice : Rp6.500.000
Taganing ( read : tagading )  is Batak melody drum set has form like drum that is why Horn von Bostel and Curt Sach classified this instrument as Drum-chime .
It comprise of
five gendang that hung in a rack  ,  has 2 sticks called palu-palu , the player called Partaganing .
Technically , Taganing plays the melody to accompanying sarunes wriggle and also control the repertoire .
Taganing serves as a conductor , as carriers of melody and rhythm as well as a variable in some songs.
It looks almost same shape with gordang in Batak Mandailing instrument music but the function is different  .
Each drum has its name accordingly : tingting, paidua tingting, painonga, paidua odap, dan odap-odap . Some Partaganing also use 7 taganing except those 5 drums , they add gordang and odap , it is depend the style of the Partaganing .

taganingTaganing are made from tree with different size and intonation voice . Most they use tree from jack fruit (Artocarpus integer/pohon nangka/cubadak or jack fruit ) , ingul (Cedrella toona) , jering or joring (phitecolobium lobatu/pohon jengkol), hau ampiras, hau antuang dan hau sitorngom. The others we don't know its Latin or Indonesia name because only can be found in Batak area , ancient and extinct tree . Each taganings has each size usually start from  18 till 24 cm,  40 till 55 cm .

gordangPrice :

Gordang is almost similar to taganing but it is much bigger and set to bring about a constant and variable rhythm for the ensemble. It is known as the ‘bass’ for Gondang Sabangunan ensemble .

In batak Mandailing , it is must be 9 drum called Gordang Sambilan that fenomenal because Malaysia claimed this as their traditional mussic because people in Pahang alsi use this in their traditional ceremonies .

Fact , people in Pahang who use this also come from Mandailing ( around Padangsidimpuan ) hahahhahh..who have lived there many generations .

gordang is made from hau pinasa , when hhit the membran must hit the side of the gordang also to produce certain rhythm  over and over . usually played same with taganing . Sit ton the right side of the Pargonsi .

hasapi Price Rp500.000
Hasapi Ende (plucked lute) is an instrument which bring melody and the main instrument in ensemble Gondang Hasapi. Classified to chordophone. Tune or stem from the strings are interval mayor that played with plucked it .
  1. Hasapi Doal (plucked lute), is bigger than hasapi ende and serves to play  constant rythm and to bring tempo .

ogungPrice : Rp6.000.000
Ogung is Batak gong serve to bring tempo and control legs movement in Tor-tor ( Batak traditional dance ) Ogung different with other gong because Batak gong must comprise of 4 gongs . They are :
Ogung Oloan
Ogung Oloan ( means must followed ) serves a low-pitched sound of the rhythm and is acts the base that remains to be followed by another ogung . It will also lead all other ogung rhythm. Oloan greeted by Ogung Ihutan.
Ogung Ihutan
Ogung ihutan means the next because it follows the sound of Ogung Oloan with the same rhytm but never fall on the same rhytm ( canon rhytm ) . It is also known as Ogung Pangalusi ( The replier ) and has a higher pitch than Ogung Oloan.
This constant rhytm and answering each other with ogung oloan called 'polol-polol ' .

Ogung Panggora
Ogung Panggora means greeter , this instrument is one of the different type of Ogung that exist in the Batak community because produces loud and blaring sound compared to other types of ogung . This is the biggest gong between the others gong , this gong produce sound "pok " because when hit the pencu ( round top on the middle of ogung ) the player of panggora hold and muted the side of Panggora with his hand .

Ogung Doal
Ogung Doal adds variation and additional rhythm to the whole ensemble.

Doal played answering each other with Panggora which produce sound 'kel' so in gondang their sound will be heard as 'pok – kel – pok – kel' with the same rhythm till the end of a song or music composition .

SaruneSarune or Serunai or Batak clarinet has 2 kinds :
    - the small ( Sarune etek )  has single reed , price Rp 400.000
    - the big one ( sarune Bolon ) has doubld reed , price Rp 2.000.000
Sarune (idio-aerophone) is played to bring the main melody which has single reed has 5 holes ,  4 on the upper side and 1 on the lower side , played with ' mangombus marsiulak hosa ' ( circular breathing  ).
The player called Parsarune .


Sordam is a kind of Sulim but usually played during  magic ritual ceremony like healing a sick man by magic  , to find a lost man  , to seduce some body you love to , etc .
Other ancient instrument music and rare to find :

Saga-saga or jews harp is classified to idiophone . It is made of made of bamboo played with quiver the reed of instrument and box play as resonator .

Talaoit ( transverse flute ) made of bamboo , some called it Salohat and in Batak Mandailing called Tulila , also a side blown flute , classified to aerophoneThis flute has 2 holes for the left hand and 2 holes for the right hand  and for blown in the middlethis instrument is for melody's and rhythm song .
jenggong is made of metal and has the sam concept as saga-saga ( double headed drum ) serve to bring vvariable rhythm Often use during parade , classified to membranophone .
Jenggong is made of metal and has the sam concept as saga-saga .

Odap ( double headed drum ) serve to bring variable rhythm . Often use during parade , classified to membranophone .

Mengmung ( bamboo idiochordo ) serve to bring constant melody which has 3 strings . The string made of bamboo, Tangggetang is made of rottan and wood box as resonator  , this playing  rhytmic  like ogung or mung-meng  , tanggetang classified to chordophone .

Tangggetang is made of rottan and wood box as resonator  , this playing  rhytmic  like ogung or mung-meng  , tanggetang classified to chordophone .


Ole-ole (Aerophone : multi-reed) is included to solo instrument music  .
Ole-ole made of a stem of paddy after harvest , on the edge of end stem near the stem joints divided orderly then this splinters become air
vibrator to produce multi reed sound . If need to produce high sound , on the front stem they fold leaf of sugar cane or coconut as resonator . Some peoeple add more hole on stem , the quantity of hole depend on the player  how many tunes he wanted to reach .



Other  Chordofon instruments :

1. Sidideng ( Harp )

2. Panggepeng


Mark Kneyton (penulis adalah kandidat doktor di Universitas Washington Seatle, AS)