Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Pelog is one of the two essential scales of Gamelan music native to Bali and Java, in Indonesia. The other is slendro. The Pelog scale can be constructed in the same way as the Western diatonic scale, as a chain of perfect fourths, except with very wide, out-of-tune fourths, between 515 and 535 cents. This is at the very extreme of the range of intervals that can be perceived as a fourth, and rapid beating between the upper harmonics (actually inharmonic overtones in the case of the metallophones which form the bulk of the gamelan orchestra) contributes to the unique shimmering sound of the gamelan. The full pelog scale has seven distinct tones (a stack of 6 fourths), but normally a composition would be written in a 5-tone subset of the full scale. The seven tones of the pelog scale, in circle-of-fourths order, are called "barang", "dada", "nem", "gulu", "lima", "bem", and "pelog" (yes, same as the name of the scale). Therefore, the tones of the scale in ascending order, with the two different kinds of step interval labeled L and S, are: gulu-S-dada-L-pelog-S-lima-S-nem-S-barang-L-bem-S-gulu. In this case S is about 110-150 cents and L is 250-300 cents.

External link