Imbal or imbalan is a technique used in Javanese gamelan. It refers to a rapid alternation of a melodic line between instruments, in a way similar to hocket in medieval music or kotekan in Balinese gamelan.
In Javanese gamelan, it is used especially for the sarons and the bonangs. On the bonangs, an imbal pattern is divided between the bonang panerus and bonang barung, in the octave or so of range that both instruments have. When played on sarons, generally two of the same instrument are used. Both bonang and saron patterns generally are made of scalar passages that end on the seleh at the end of the gatra. Each key is dampened as soon as the other instrument plays, and it allows the melody to be played faster or more smoothly than is possible by a single performer.
On the bonangs, an imbal passage is usually followed by a sekaran.