The saron is a metallophone with six or seven keys that rest on a wooden trough, which also serves as resonator. Three instruments belong to the saron family that employ different sizes and pitch registers: the largest size with the lowest register is called demung; the medium size with a medium octave range, saron barung; and the smallest size and highest register, saron panerus or peking. A full ensemble may have two demung, four saron, and two peking. Another instrument that musically falls in the saron family is slenthem, but physically it is built similar to the gender (i.e. suspended by a cord over tube resonators).
In the early history of gamelan, a single saron may have been part of a small ensemble. As the gamelan developed into an expansive ensemble, different sizes of saron were added. This development brought about the emergence of new styles of musical practice and repertoire: i.e., the creation of loud pieces in which bonang and saron are featured and performance styles involving the interplay between soft- and loud-playing styles.