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> INSTRUMENTOLOGY > PERCUSSION > Gong > Sound Characteristics

Sound characteristics

Metallic, soughing, brilliant, mighty, majestic, exotic

The gong has an exotic timbre and is used especially as an ‘effects’ instrument. It lends the orchestra an exotic flavor in Giacomo Puccini’s "Turandot" and Richard Strauss’ "Die Frau ohne Schatten".

The gong has a precise pitch, a dark timbre and a very full, round sound.

The pitch can be easily determined at every dynamic level. If the attack is too hard, however, the sound can “overshoot” and become unpleasant, the pitch not becoming apparent until later. Resonance in this case can be shorter than that of a mezzoforte attack.