The gambang is a wooden xylophone with seventeen to twenty-one keys with the range of two octaves or more. The keys rest on a wooden box that also functions as resonator.
Evidence of a gambang type instrument, with either wood or bamboo bars, can be found in the drawings on the walls of old temples, such as in the 9th century Buddhist Borobudur monument in Central Java and the 14th century Panataran temple in East Java. The variety and wide distribution of this type of instrument in Java (and all of Indonesia, for that matter) indicate its popularity. The melodic range of these instruments varies, spanning from one octave to more than two-octaves. The choice of a multi-octave gambang to be incorporated into a full set of gamelan may be because of its suitability to accommodate a wider melodic range of gendhing.