Naga Mas is a community group open to anyone interested in gamelan music and associated artforms, active in Glasgow since the arrival of the ‘Spirit of Hope’ instruments here in 1991. We meet weekly on a Thursday evening at Commonwheel’s premises in the grounds of Gartnaval Hospital, where the pélog instruments are currently housed. If you’re interested in learning to play gamelan, please get in touch: we run six-week beginners workshops several times a year.

What kind of music do you play?

Most of the music we are playing today is drawn from the traditional repertoire of Central Java and Bali. Each instrument in the gamelan has a definite role; some of the instruments only play the central melody of the piece, the balungan. Other instruments have the job of elaborating this melody with faster and/or higher notes, whilst another group of instruments, lower in pitch and slower moving, mark the rhythmic structure of the piece. A special importance is given to the ‘big gong’, as it is affectionately known; this slowest-moving of all the instruments is one of the most important, marking as it does the endings of melodic sections and entire pieces. Also important are the drums, which set the tempo and give signals to the players, functioning almost as a conductor.

Although the tradition of gamelan stretches back thousands of years, it is far from being a dead art-form. Gamelan music has spread all over the world, having an important influence on many Western classical composers. New music is being written for the gamelan all the time by members of the Naga Mas group, some of it drawing on traditional styles and some of it developing in new directions. This spirit of openness and experimentation is very much in accord with the approach to gamelan taken by the Javanese themselves.

Maps and Travel

The gamelan instruments are currently housed in Campbell House, Gartnavel Royal Hospital.

Campbell House
Gartnavel Royal Hospital
1055 Great Western Road
Glasgow G12 0XH

Visit Traveline Scotland for bus and train timetables.

Public Transport

The nearest train station is Hyndland. You can take the train to Hyndland from Glasgow Queen Street station or Glasgow Central station.

Bus service number 20 or 66 will stop at Gartnavel Hospital on Great Western Road. Campbell House is about 10-15 minutes walk from the train station or bus stop.


Visit Google Maps or click the map below for directions to Campbell House. (Actually this map is very slightly out of date! This takes you to Allender House, where we used to be, but they are right next door to each other.)

You need to click on the coloured path to read the walking/driving instructions.