SulingThe suling is an end-blown edge aerophone of the Javanese people of Indonesia. It is the only aerophone found in the Javanese gamelan (see Gamelan besi), but is also played solo throughout Java for personal entertainment. In the tourism marketplace, it has become an inexpensive and easily portable icon of Javanese culture that tourists can buy from vendors. The surfaces of such suling are oftentimes decorated with burned-on geometric designs to enhance their appearance.

A cylindrical bamboo endblown flute with a cylindrical bore, open at the bottom and closed at the top (blowing end) by a natural node (ros). The preferred type of thin-walled bamboo for this instrument is called pring wuluh (Kunst). A narrow and shallow notch is chiseled out of the ros and into the adjacent wall of the tube; the end of this notch is squared off and sharpened to create the edge (irung-irungan) against which the player's airstream is directed. A narrow bamboo ring (suh) is fastened around the ros in such a manner as to create a duct with the aforementioned notch; this duct ensures that the airstream will be directed against the irung-irungan to produce a sound.

The relatively wide distribution of ring flutes throughout Indonesia, Malaysia and the southern Philippines suggests that this instrument concept has been around for a long time--just how long is not possible to determine. Given its simplicity of construction, the ready availability of material, and ease of sound production, we can speculate that the suling is more likely to have started out as an instrument of the villager that was subsequently integrated into gamelan performance rather than the other way around. Unfortunately, this conjecture cannot be proven due to a paucity of dependable documentation.