The lancaran is one of the gendhing structures used in Javanese gamelan music. It is the shortest of the gendhing structures that are not from the wayang repertoire. Gangsaran and bubaran are related structures that share the same colotomic structure.
Groupings of four are most common at all levels of this structure. The basic colotomic structure is a cycle of 16 beats (keteg) in the following order:
- TWTN TPTN TPTN TPTG
where T indicates the strike of the ketuk, P the kempul, N the kenong, and G the simultaneous stroke of the gong and kenong. The W indicates the wela, the pause where the kempul is omitted. Thus, the gong plays once, the kenong divides that into four parts, the kempul divides each of those in two, and the ketuk divides each of those further in two. Note that except for the kenong playing on the gong, the instruments do not play when the next one plays. The kendhang plays in kendhang kalih style. A typical lancaran has four gongs, at the end of which the larger gong ageng is played.
Lancaran are usually played fast, usually in irama lancar. Some lancaran have a separate section which can be played between repetitions of the four-gong ompak, known as the nyekar or lagu. Lancaran are often written in balungan nibani.
Bubaran are played more moderately, usually in irama tanggung, but are usually written in balungan mlaku. They also use a distinctive kendhang pattern. A bubaran is used as an ending piece, to be played while the audience is departing. The best-known bubaran is Udan Mas.
Gangsaran is a variety of lancaran which consists of simply a repeated tone. It originates from the wayang repertoire. It can appear at the end of a composition as well.
- Neil Sorrell. A Guide to the Gamelan. London: Faber and Faber, 1990. Page 67-68.