Page contents not supported in other languages.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

earlier comments[edit]

The numbers add up to 99.98. What's the 0.02? Was one of the numbers misscanned? -phma

Probably due to rounding. --Brion

other comments[edit]

I am a Taiwanese and have never heard of the "Chinese" name of "gong-gong or tam-tam" that 1911 Britannica claims. It sounds like some obscure theatrical jargon or baby talk (Motherese). Have any Chinese heard of it? If not, I think "luo" and lo4 (Cantonese) will suffice, because that is how I have always heard it. --Menchi 23:00 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)

"tam-tam" is a pretty common term in European classical music for a large, unpitched gong (the usual one used in classical orchestras). According to the Concise Grove Dictionary of Music, "tamtam" is a Malay word, but most other dictionaries say it's Hindi. "Gong-gong" I don't know about. --Camembert
Britannica says "(Chinese, Gong-gong or Tam-tam)". Since it's not Chinese like what EB says, it should be noted so (as an English variant, or even that Gong is just a sub-type of Tam-tam). Now, gong-gong? I just checked Merriam-Webster, and it says it's Malay & Javanese too. Stupid EB.... --Menchi 23:27 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Fixed. --Menchi 23:32 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)

As both a long-time percussionist and worker in metal manufacturing, my take on the WORD for GONG may not be revelatory, but it seems to me that if anything it was pidgin Chinese to call a gong a tam-tam--and, that said, probably also onomotopoetic because it could've referred to the ancient "sacred process" whereby, nearly alchemically, a sheet of bronze was beaten by an individual or crew to form the gong, over a form and/or into sand or other media. No gong worth hearing was ever created in a minute in the old days. I hope others will link to sites/pages that discuss some more sublime religious applications they've had over centuries.
How they make gongs now is probably far more efficient, although arguably the tone may or may not be 'better' using production machinery. Mass-produced or not, gongs have a very long history in the east, however, and I'm sure that this page will evolve over time to discuss that. Open-minded percussionists can make decent 'gongs' out of stainless steel mixing bowls or (Turkish/common drummer's) cymbals and close-miking (I have). The name is irrelevant (if you've ever had to select one to play with an orchestra and make it sound great); conductors wanting to sound academic often call them tamtams, less-snooty band directors say gongs.
My own experience is that handmade gongs from China vary widely, and always have (for obvious reasons). If you want one with a depth of character, it should have many hammer marks (dents), be made from tempered bronze of a good bell alloy (hard yet durable, not brittle; neither too thick nor too thin), and size does matter if you want impressive total volume. However, depending on how skilfully they're made, some smaller gongs could fool listeners if played behind a veil. --fjeinca 02:15 29 Dec 2005 (UTC)

The article seems to be mainly about one particular type of gong, the chau gong or "bull's-eye" gong. Large chau gongs used in orchestras are called tam-tams. But there are also other traditional types such as wind gongs, tiger-voice gongs, bowl gongs, nipple gongs, and opera gongs, and modern types such as Paiste's World gongs and Planet gongs. So it's not nearly so simple as the article makes out! I'll write about these when I have time unless someone else wants to. Try for some information. Andrewa 01:24 17 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Done. Needs a refactor now, but the information is there. Andrewa 10:28 17 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Cleanup tag[edit]

I have removed the cleanup tag, it seems inaccurate and pointless to me. The Wikipedian who posted it has given no reason, didn't list it on the cleanup page, and has asked for no comments to be posted on their user page, so it's not obvious how they expect us to find out what they don't like about the article. They have some eccentric views on other aspects of Wikipedia as well, and have made many contributions despite periodically saying they are leaving permanently. Anyway, my conclusion was that the tag was merely detracting from a good article for no reason. Comments welcome, preferably on my talk page. Andrewa 14:14, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)

What's the story with the drum in the intro?[edit]

This has been in the intro "forever".

Primitive drums are known as Tam Tams or slit drums. The people of Vanuatu in particular, cut a large log with 'totem' type carvings on the outer surface and hollow out the centre leaving only a slit down the front. This hollowed out log gives the deep resonance of drums when hit on the outside with sticks.

It seems to have started out as an explanation of the word derivation, but that's lost now ("slit gong" used to appear next to "slit drum"). I'm removing it (Be Bold....). --Alvestrand 22:50, 9 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Rem another tag[edit]

Removed the following tag:

The neutrality of this article is disputed. This article is largely based on text from the the out-of-copyright 11th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, which was produced in the U.K. in 1911, and it may express a worldview specific to that time and place. It needs extensive editing to bring it up-to-date and to put it in compliance with Wikipedia's neutral point of view policy. Gong Gong

Frankly, that's a load of utter rubbish. The current article is not largely based on the 1911 article at all. It was once, long, long ago, and there's still a small section of unmerged material. But if you bother to check, you'll find that most of the current article is my work. Perhaps we should remove the remaining 1911 section entirely?

If you have disputes with the article, please describe them here. Putting misleading and inaccurate tags on articles and leaving no clue on the talk page as to why you've done this doesn't exactly improve the encyclopedia! Andrewa 09:06, 8 March 2006 (UTC) --~~~~Insert non-formatted text here--~~~~--~~~~Reply[reply]


The gongs described in this article are for wimps. A proper gong is ten feet in diameter, made of bronze, and struck with a battering ram. --Carnildo 22:49, 31 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Why is the "Gongs - general" section at the bottom? Shouldn't it be at the top/merged into the introduction? Laogooli 13:58, 20 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Gongs and Tam-Tams are not the same instrument[edit]

Why, then, is the tam-tam article a redirect to gong? zero stuko 11:30 22 Sept 2006 (GMT)

The "nipple-gong" is a term I have never heard before, but it looks a hell of a lot like a tam tam! Especially since it is described as having a definite pitch. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:23, 16 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Nipple gong" is a common term in organology, it's been around for hundreds of years. Nipple gongs have a definite pitch; tam-tams do not. Also, they do not look alike. Nipple gongs are more bell shaped and have a distinctive hemispherical protrusion in the middle (the nipple) -- tam tams are flat.
A tam-tam is not a gong. To treat a tam-tam as a gong, is like treating an mbira as a piano, just becasue some people refer to it as a "thumb piano".
There should probably be a separate tam tam article. (talk) 23:58, 9 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

References to Gong in theater, radio time stamp[edit]

  • re information on German radio - would be nice to make it more detailed
  • re Theater references - it is so well-known fact that it is actually hard to find a better reference than just a few snippets from local newspapers saying "...audience was impatient for gong to start first show in remodeled theater." Couldn't find some formal reference in etiquette manual. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Voxhumana (talkcontribs) 19:20, 25 April 2007 (UTC).Reply[reply]

Modern Orchestral Gongs[edit]

"The 38" Earth Gong vibrates at a frequency of 136.10 Hz/C# and affects the Heart Chakra" - What is this? Why is there new age metaphysics in an article about gongs? Vanilor 23:47, 19 June 2007 (UTC)VanilorReply[reply]

Kind of Gong[edit]

What is a Long Gong or a Lon Gong? This is a science experiment that supposedly uses a cup of some sort that is suspended by a piece string and a wire hanger is connected to that. You put the cup to your ear and some strikes the hanger and sound is filter in. Is this a true gong or something else? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:05, 21 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Gong at Sumo?[edit]

I am from Japan. I have never seen or heard of gongs used to start Sumo wrestling matches. As far as I am aware, a referee (holding a fan) starts them. To mark the start of tournaments, drums may be played but no gongs.

In the popular French TV game show Fort Boyard, a man dressed as a Sumo wrestler used to strike a large hanging gong, so perhaps that is where the idea has come from. (talk) 06:01, 11 June 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Tam tams are not gongs, nor are they members of the "bell family". Their construction, sound, use, and the physics of their vibration is completely different.

Bells have a quiet central node, and the area of greatest vibration is around the rim. There is a relationship between pitched gongs -- e.g., center bossed gongs and bells, in that they may be placed or suspended to maximize vibration around the rim, but the center boss may also be struck, producing it's own tone, and this is distinctive from the bells.

Tam tams, on the other hand, are quiet around the rim -- from which they are suspended -- and their maximum vibration is from the center outwards -- essentially the opposite configuration from a bell.

Tam tams are considered unpitched or indefinitely pitched instruments; gongs have a definite pitch. Gongs are designed to maximize a particular fundamental, whereas tam tams are designed to produce a rich splash of non-specific high harmonics. Gongs have a short sound envelope with a rapid decay; tam tams have a very long envelope with a great deal of sustain. Gongs are excited by striking the rim or shoulder; tam tams are excited by striking near the center.

The "orchestral usage" section confuses the two terms repeatedly. Gongs are rare in western orchestral usage; tam tams are common. One will find a tam tam in almost any orchestra from high school level on up; one will rarely find a gong in any but the largest western orchestras.

You will find a lot of gongs in an Indonesian gamelan, though, but no tam tams.

The material on tam tams here should be removed to a separate article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:56, 30 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Do you have reliable sources to support this sharp distinction? James Blades, James Holland, and Alan Thrasher's article in the New Grove says "Gongs, which are classified by Hornbostel and Sachs as idiophone percussion vessels (see Idiophone), are made in various sizes and shapes, being either flat, or with the edge turned over (sometimes called 'kettle gong' or 'metal drum'), or with a turned-down rim and central boss". It goes on to say, "The instrument seen most frequently in the Western orchestra is the large flat gong with a shallow lip and of indefinite pitch. Instruments of this type were originally imported only from China and are universally known by the original name ‘tam-tam’. (It should be noted that composers frequently prescribe a gong when obviously a tam-tam is intended, the terms 'gong' and 'tam-tam' being synonymous in Western music.)" Clearly, they think of the tam-tam as one type of gong, not a completely separate classification.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 17:18, 30 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Your own source belies your interpretation, viz.: "It should be noted that composers frequently prescribe a gong when obviously a tam-tam is intended...". That the terms have become somewhat "synonymous" in Western music through misuse does not alter the fact that is is a misuse.
As to the connection with bells, any decent book on acoustics will support this -- for example: "The Acoustical Foundations of Music" (John Backus); "Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics" (Arthur Benade); "Musical Acoustics" (Donald Hall); "Gongs and Tam Tams" (Philip McNamarra); and a host of others. (talk) 00:11, 10 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Houston, we have a problem.[edit]

The gong traces its roots back to the Bronze Age around 3500 BC.

The bronze age didn't reach asia until 600 BC. And this weird interchange with bell and gong is confusing. I've been on many ships, none of them were required to carry a gong. -- (talk) 17:25, 29 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No problems. I'm always a bit skeptical about anything to do with China on Wikipedia given they have entire call centres devoted to 'China did it first.' stuff online. And the dates of things rarely match up. Like claims that they had iron in 12000 BC is a common one because of a meteorite that an academic had his arm twisted to claim was 'slag' and 'proof' they had iron. It's difficult given that China did invent so many things, that it is so easy to just let it slide and not question it. I thought I'd just ask given it didn't seem to make sense. Like all the claims of where they're used and the odd crossover between gong and bell. Nicely spotted though btw! -- (talk) 09:34, 30 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For reference, the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (usually called the "colregs") are both described in WP and available in Wikisource: International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea  – via Wikisource. See, in particular, rules 33 and 35 along with Annex III §2. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 06:54, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Commons files used on this page or its Wikidata item have been nominated for deletion[edit]

The following Wikimedia Commons files used on this page or its Wikidata item have been nominated for deletion:

Participate in the deletion discussion at the nomination page. —Community Tech bot (talk) 19:44, 23 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why is this limited to Asian gongs only?[edit]

I am finding some non-formal references to a Roman gong excavated in England, which item dates from about 100 AD/CE, although I haven't yet turned up an image of it. It also seems hard to believe that any metal-working culture wouldn't have noticed the sound qualities of dropping or striking metal objects, but the tone of the article is very culture-centric. Can there please be some effort to expand the scope of the article, perhaps?

Corgi (talk) 22:02, 5 November 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]