Purworejo's Kyai Bagelen, Indonesia's Largest Mosque Drum

Purworejo's Kyai Bagelen, Indonesia's Largest Mosque Drum

187-year-old Kyai Bagelen or Pendowo drum hung at Kauman Grand Mosque of Purworejo regency, Central Java. | Photo credit: Dahayu.

BEDUG, a Javanese/Indonesian term, refers to wooden drum, is often double-ended, and large-sized.

The reason why this instrument is called bedug, is that it producing sound of "dug-dug-dug" when it is struck.

A bedug drum is, traditionally, used as additional apparatus of a mosque in Java Island.

To be hung horizontally, bedug will be banged just a few minutes prior to adzan, the call for prayer.

Not every mosque is equipped with bedug, but many others have.

A wooden mallet or beater is needed to make a bedug emitting sound.

A bedug mallet is, in general, larger in size than that of other types of drums.

It has, normally, a diameter of between five to seven centimeters.

Drumheads (batter head and resonant head) are made out of calfskin or goatskin. 

There are also parts such as counter hoop and tension rods in a bedug.

The drum shells are usually made of teak wood or falcata/sengon wood.

A BEDUG drum situated at Kauman Grand Mosque of Purworejo, Central Java, is considered the biggest one in Indonesia.

The wooden, double-ended drum measuring 2.92 meter wide (its batter head), and 1.94 meter wide (resonant head). Its front counter hoop circumference is 6.01 meters and its rear hoop perimeter measures 5.54 meters.

The giant bedug was created in 1834, and was the idea of Cokronegoro I, the first regent (government head) of Purworejo.

The mosque drum was subsequently called "Kyai Bagelen", a name that relates to a legend in Purworejo history.

The Kyai Bagelen's drumheads were created out of bull hide leather, while its solid wood shell was carved from a giant old growth teak tree trunk that had five branches.

Based on that five-branched tree, the mosque drum was then also nicknamed after "Pendowo", meaning five siblings in the classic story of Javanese wayang (puppet drama) mythology, 

The historical bedug will be in use shortly before noon on Friday, reminding Muslims to prepare for Friday prayer.

The bedug also to be struck when a public holiday is coming, including commemoration of Indonesia's Independence Day on August 17.[sahrudin]
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