Traditional Musical Instrument Made of Bamboo Frame

Angklung is a musical instrument made out of two bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame. The tubes are carved so that they have a resonant pitch when struck. The two tubes are tuned to octaves. The base of the frame is held with one hand while the other hand shakes the instrument rapidly from side to side. This causes a rapidly repeating note to sound. Thus each of three or more angklung performers in an ensemble will play just one note and together complete melodies are produced. Angklung is popular throughout Southeast Asia, but originated from Indonesia (used and played by the Sundanese since the ancient times).

The Angklung got more international attention when Daeng Soetigna, from Bandung, West Java, expanded the angklung notations not only to play traditional pélog or sléndro scales, but also diatonic scale in 1938. Since then, angklung is often played together with other western music instruments in an orchestra. One of the first well-known performances of angklung in an orchestra was during the Bandung Conference in 1955. A few years later, Udjo Ngalagena, a student of Daeng Soetigna, opened his "Saung Angklung" (House of Angklung) in 1966 as centre of its development.

In Hindu period and Kingdom of Sunda era, Sundanese people used the angklung to sign the time for prayer. Later, Kingdom of Sunda use this instrument as corps music in Bubat War (Perang Bubat) as told in Kidung Sunda.

Angklung functioned as building the peoples community spirit. It was still used by the Sundanese until the colonial era (Dutch East Indies, V.O.C). Because of the colonial times, the Dutch East Indies government tried to forbid people playing the angklung instrument.


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