Home Indonesian Culture 5 Unique Facts of Angklung, Traditional Musical Instrument

5 Unique Facts of Angklung, Traditional Musical Instrument

Angklung is a traditional musical instruments that come from the Sundanese community in West Java, Indonesia. This traditional has been known worldwide, Angklung have been in demand by many people in other parts of the world.The sound that comes from this instrument is very beautiful. The sound is derived from the bamboo pipe bump that is shaken. You will be fascinated by the beauty of the sounds generated by Angklung.

Get to know unique facts about Indonesian traditional musical instrument, Angklung!

1. Meaning of the Name “Angklung”

Angklung as part of Indonesian culture, was born from Sundanese civilization and has a very high philosophical value. Angklung teaches humans about the importance of cooperation, discipline, responsibility and mutual respect. The ancient Sundanese people used angklung as a musical instrument in ritual and worship activities. The word Angklung is said to have originated from the Sundanese language ‘Angkleung-angkleungan’ which describes the gestures of angklung players swinging along with the rhythm being played. In addition, there are also those who believe that angklung originates from the Balinese language, namely ‘numbers’ and ‘lung’. Number means the tone while lung means broken, so angklung means broken tone or incomplete tone.

2. Instrument to Accompany War in the Past

Angklung was regarded as the spirit of music in the battlefield during the Sundanese kingdom. At the very beginning in the past, only those of royal bloods were allowed to play angklung for various royal activities. Then various wars between Sundanese kingdom and the dutch strated to happen and the royal family would then in the attack for their battlefields accompanied it by the sound of angklung. No only the Sundanese kindom,  angklung as a war accompanist was also used by the Pajajaran royal forces in the past.

The reason the royal family would uses Angklunng to acompany their war was that Angklung sound played together is considered to be able to arouse people’s war spirit and to pump people’s enthusiasm against colonialism. A reason why the Dutch East Indies government at that time, forbade people to use angklung, which caused its popularity to decline.

3. Not Made by Just Any Bamboo

Angklung is a musical instrument made of bamboo pipes, which that were cut at the end of each pipes, like in an organ. Tied together in a frame, then vibrated to produce sound. The bamboos then were arranged accordingly so that when shaken it produces a distinctive and melodious sound. A set of angklung consists of 7 pieces, each representing a scale that are Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, and Si.

Generally, the most common bamboo that were used to make Angklung are black bamboos, actually there are several types of bamboo that can be used to make angklung, including black bamboo, rope bamboo and spotted bamboo. But, according to research and comparison, black bamboo can produce the best angklung sounds.

In order not to be easily attacked by pests and to produces good quality sounds, the bamboos that were used to make angklung must be 4-6 years old and completely dry. After being cut down, bamboo cannot immediately become angklung. But, the bamboo must be winded until it is completely dry. It should not be dried in the sun, because it can make the bamboos crack. In order for the water content to completely disappear or dry, the bamboos must be air-winded for 6 months or more.

4. Instrument that Travelled Around The World

To preserve Indonesian traditional culture and arts, angklung is often sent by Indonesian embassies to various countries to be performed in various international events. Since Angklung music are now have developed rapidly, not only traditional songs that can be performed using angklung, but also various other types of music, such as rock, jazz, pop, country, and many other types of music. From this rapid development and the beauty of the melody combined with beautiful Indonesian traditional sound, it has attracts the international world.

Angklung has been performed in many country around the world for the past years. overseas stages such as in Australia, the Netherlands, the United States, and many other countries. Country like Germany that even has has formed an angklung orchestra group called the Angklung Hamburg Orchester. In early July 2011 the Indonesian Embassy visits the Washington DC Ambassy,  there they performed Angklung with  five thousand more multicultural participants from various nations in the world, together in Washington, United States. They performed a song popularized by Michael Jackson called “We Are The World”. The Harmonization of thousands of angklung made a world breaking exposure for the Indonesian traditional instrument and successfully impressed the American public with angklung. Not only managed to introduces angklung to the world, but that event has managed to carve a world record that is recorded by the Guiness Book of World Records.

Now Angklung peformances with that series of achievements would get a special invitations directly from the big embassy of friendly countries to perform in their countries. like in 2018, In 2018, when a group of angklung performancer travelled to Tokyo, Jepang in the framework of 60 Years of Indonesian-Japanese Diplomatic Relations.They also have appeared as champions in various festivals, and helped raise the name of Indonesia in various festival events abroad, ranging from Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria and Japan. They also often hold concerts in order to popularize angklung in foreign countries. They have even touring around Europe in 2015.

5. World Angklung Day

Not many people realize that November 16 is celebrated as World Angklung Day. Angklung has been recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as one of the national identity and culture of the Indonesia. Angklung is included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, because it contains the basic values of cooperation, mutual respect and social harmony. Angklung is no longer seen as an ancient or outdated tool but as a traditional Indonesian tool that has begun to be recognized internationally. Even today many art students from France and America deliberately come to Indonesia to learn more about Indonesian culture, even from the exchange of lessons many students from various friendly countries who are highly interested to come and learn directly Indonesian culture in Indonesia.

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