Angklung is an Indonesian musical instrument consisting of two to four bamboo tubes suspended in a bamboo frame, bound with rattan cords.
The tubes are carefully whittled and cut by a master crafts person to produce certain notes when the bamboo frame is shaken or tapped.
Each Angklung produces a single note or chord, so several players must collaborate in order to play melodies. Traditional Angklungs use the pentatonic scale, but in 1938 musician Daeng Soetigna introduced Angklungs using the diatonic scale; these are known as angklung padaeng.
The Angklung is closely related to traditional customs, arts and cultural identity in Indonesia, played during ceremonies such as rice planting, harvest and circumcision.
The special black bamboo for the Angklung is harvested during the two weeks a year when the cicadas sing, and is cut at least three segments above the ground, to ensure the root continues to propagate.
Angklung education is transmitted orally from generation to generation, and increasingly in educational institutions. Because of the collaborative nature of Angklung music, playing promotes cooperation and mutual respect among the players, along with discipline, responsibility, concentration, development of imagination and memory, as well as artistic and musical feelings.
The Angklung and its music are central to the cultural identity of communities in West Java and Banten, where playing the Angklung promotes the values of teamwork, mutual respect and social harmony.
The Angklung is included in a national inventory maintained by the Centre for Research and Development of Culture of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and in several specialized inventories maintained by universities and Angklung associations.
The Angklung was inscribed in 2010 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
(sources: UNESCO, World Music Central)
Tujang Biru by Mas village gamelan angklung
Gamelan Music of Bali by Various Artists
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Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.