The History Of The Angklung Instrument

Who among you does not know the angklung instrument? The most popular musical instrument in Indonesia and even in the world. Angklung musical instrument has always been the main choice brought in Indonesian cultural performances held abroad. Musical instruments originating from the flower city of West Java are made of bamboo and play techniques by shaking it, so as to produce a rhythm that is certainly different from each angklung that is played.


Angklung is one of the traditional musical instruments from Indonesia that has worldwide originating from West Java. The name “angklung” was born and has been very attached to the Sundanese community of West Java. That said, the angklung musical instrument was first operated in the 7th century AD in the Kingdom of Padjajaran by the local community. Then angklung is widely known by all circles until now.


The word Angklung itself comes from the Sundanese language, “angkleung-angkleungan” which describes the gestures of the Angklung players who swing along with the beat. There are also those who say that the word angklung is a fraction of the words “number” and “lung”. The word “number” means tone, while the word “lung” means broken. So, angklung is a broken or incomplete tone.


Angklung musical instruments are made from pieces of bamboo which are arranged neatly and assembled to form angklung and played by shaking the right and left sides with hands to make a sound. The sound of angkulung itself is produced by the clash of shaken bamboo bodies, the distinctive sound that vibrates in a 2.3 tone arrangement, up to 4 notes in each size. Each angklung releases a different tone, therefore, to play angklung to make a beautiful tone, you need a group of players and work together to play it.


There are three techniques for shaking angklung to produce a rhythm, namely:


  1. 1. Teck or jerk technique

The technique in which angklung will only sound once, by pulling the base tube quickly. Usually professional players can play it


2. Curve or vibrate technique

Unlike the case with the jerking technique, the relatively simple and very simple kurulung technique is used by beginners by means of one hand holding the angklung frame, then the other hand shaking the angklung, until it makes a sound according to your wishes


  1. 3. Tangkep technique

the basic technique of playing angklung is almost similar to the karulung technique, and is commonly used by beginners, the only difference being that one angklung tube is held, so that it does not vibrate.


By using the three basic techniques to play Angklung above, you can produce beautiful tones. Besides how to play angklung correctly, there are also interesting facts from this West Javanese musical instrument:


  1. 1. War Heroes

before becoming a war accompanist, angklung could only be played during royal activities, then the sultans of the Great Banten and Pajajaran were kingdoms that used angklung to accompany the War at that time,


  1. 2. Feared Dutch Colonial

who would have thought, in the past the beautiful rhythm sound of an angklung was feared by the Dutch colonial, because the angklung sound played together was considered to be able to arouse people’s war spirit. The Dutch colonial government became afraid, therefore not just anyone who could play angklung, only the lower classes, especially beggars, were allowed until then. Angklung’s popularity dropped because people were afraid of being called beggars if they played Angklung


  1. 3. Rice Fertility Ritual Equipment

It is said that the village community strongly believes that angklung has a role in rice fertility because the people also work as farmers. Angklung music rhythms can call Dewi Padi (Dewi Sri) to come down to earth so as to get the blessing of fertility.


  1. 4. Black Beans

there are two bambuyang used in making angklung namely black bamboo (Gigantochloa atter), rope bamboo (Gigantochloa apus) and spotted bamboo (Banbusa vulgaris). But, according to research and comparison, black bamboo can produce the best angklung sounds.


  1. 5. Bamboo Age

In order not to be easily attacked by pests and the sound quality is good, bamboo for making 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. Drying is also not allowed to dry in the sun, because it can make cracked bamboo. In order for the water content to completely disappear or dry, bamboo must be air-winded for 6 months or more.