SlenthemThe slenthem is a metallophone idiophone of the Javanese people of Java, Indonesia. It is a melodic instrument that is part of a Javanese gamelan. The iron gamelan to which the instrument pictured on this page belongs has two slenthem--one for each of the set’s tuning systems, laras sléndro and laras pélog. The slenthem is one of the few gamelan instruments that in times past might be played by women. A stylized representation of the mythological garuda bird decorates the caps of the instrument’s end boards

The slenthem (also called gendèr panembung) is a single-octave metallophone with seven thin rectangular keys (wilah) suspended by rope (pluntur) and posts (sanggan) over tuned tube resonators (bumbu). The keys of this slenthem are made from recycled sheet iron (besi), but brass and bronze are also commonly used metals for Javanese metallophones. Graduated in size, the keys are arranged in a horizontal plane from the longest, widest and thinnest one at one end to the shortest, narrowest, and thickest one at the other end. Holes to receive the rope by which a key is suspended are drilled at one-quarter of a key’s total length from each end, which are nodal (dead) points in the mode of vibration for rectangular keys.

The slenthem was most likely developed in the latter half of the 19th century as a functional replacement for the saron slentem (or slentho), an instrument still found in some 18th an 19th century gamelans but whose use has been usurped by the slenthem. Structurally the slenthem can be seen as simply an enlarged version of roughly the lowest octave of the gendèr barung given its own casing.