The Angklung Musical Instrument: About, History, and How to Play It

Angklung Musical Instruments – Before discussing further about the angklung musical instrument, it is better, first of all, to read the facts related to angklung below:

Each angklung can produce one note or chord and several players must collaborate if they want to play a melody. Then, the black bamboo used to make angklung is harvested for two weeks a year, when the crickets “sing”. The bamboo must also be cut at least three segments above the ground to ensure the roots can continue to propagate.

Then, education related to angklung is passed on from generation to generation generally orally, and will increase if it is carried out in educational institutions. In terms of the game, players must collaborate and previously must work together, respect, discipline in togetherness, be responsible, concentrate, develop memory, and artistic feelings for each other.

Through this statement, have you felt the greatness of the angklung, the inventor, and the players? Through this article, we will learn the typical Indonesian angklung musical instrument, together!

About Angklung

Angklung is a musical instrument from Indonesia which consists of 2 to 4 bamboo tubes suspended in a bamboo frame. Bond using rattan rope. These tubes are carefully trimmed and cut by expert angklung craftsmen to produce certain tones.

Traditional angklung uses pentatonic scales. However, Indonesian musician Daeng Soetigna introduced the diatonic angklung in 1938. This angklung is also known as the padaeng angklung.

The angklung musical instrument is closely related to customs, cultural identity and art in Indonesia. This instrument is usually played during certain ceremonies, such as rice planting, harvesting, and circumcisions.

Angklung can be hung and arranged in rows to be played solo, or one angklung can be shared between groups and played by each player who is responsible for sounding one note in a pattern or melody.

Cultural Diplomacy Tools

In relation to the spread of culture, the practice of cultural programs between different countries can be a powerful tool to fight stereotypes and negative perceptions. Performances and the visual arts also have their own strengths.

In this way, art and music as a tool of cultural diplomacy with soft power is a form of ” social healing “, which is a peaceful way to heal “social ailments” that originate from a lack of communication and misunderstandings.

With this explanation, it can be understood that the development of Indonesian angklung can be explored and is suitable for cultural diplomacy purposes.


Sound Characteristics

The main thing related to the sound of the angklung instrument is the bamboo tube. We only need to shake the angklung to play it because our shaking will create a tone.

The bamboo tube is “hit” and produces sound when someone shakes the instrument. When the angklung is shaken continuously, the impression of the bamboo tube being hit will not quickly disappear. In angklung with a larger diameter or like other bamboo musical instruments where the tube is struck, the impression of “blow” will disappear as if the bamboo is being blown like a flute.

Another aspect that influences the character of this punch is also influenced by the bamboo itself. Unlike strong wood, bamboo is relatively light. The influence of this material is on sound resonance which usually affects the character of bamboo musical instruments. The sound produced will be shady, light, and beautiful even though sometimes the bamboo has a large diameter.

There are several technical principles for playing songs that are arranged and sung with the angklung musical instrument. For example, the rocking technique is often used to express the main melody of a song because of the unique characteristics of the angklung. In a musical performance, the characteristics of this instrument also depend on the form of the arrangement, the type of song, and so on.

Angklung cannot stand alone as a single musical instrument, mainly because it only produces one single note that is the same. Indeed, the Padaeng angklung has two tubes, but the tone is still the same. The difference is that one other tube produces a tone one octave higher.

Uniquely, in the accompaniment type angklung, there are three to four tubes that produce chords in one angklung.

When angklung is played in an ensemble or in a team, its characteristics are the same as bamboo plants which never stand alone and will always grow in groups. Beautiful and solid, right?

From Sundanese, Global

Our beloved country, Indonesia, does have various cultures, including regional musical instruments. One of them is the angklung, which is a traditional musical instrument that has been popular for a long time. Getting here, this art also makes the regional culture richer.

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This one musical instrument is already worldwide and not only a regional wealth. Angklung has been recognized by UNESCO on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as a World Cultural Heritage.

Another achievement from angklung to date is that it was recorded in the Guinness Book of World in 2011. Due to the joint angklung playing which was held in Washington, United States, this award was also given.

Interestingly, the angklung instrument at that time performed one of the songs belonging to the legendary singer Michael Jackson, namely “We Are The World” whose playing was led by the founder of Saung Angklung Udjo, Daeng Udjo.

History of Angklung

Before Indonesia recognized the influence of Hinduism around the 5th century AD, it is believed that angklung already existed. Jaap Kunst in Music in Java argues that angklung is also found in South Sumatra and Kalimantan, although it is a traditional West Javanese musical instrument.

It is noted that the history of the use of angklung in West Java itself began during the Sunda Kingdom, namely around the 12th to 16th centuries. The game of angklung in that era was performed for the sake of worshiping Nyai Sri Pohaci as a symbol of Dewi Sri, namely the Goddess of Fertility or the Goddess of Rice.

Apart from worship, the story recorded in the Sundanese Song also reveals that this instrument was played to boost the morale of the soldiers during war. Although its use is very different from today, the angklung is still used as a musical instrument for various performances.

For example, the angklung performance was performed by Daeng Soetigna, a national angklung figure, at the 1946 Linggarjati Negotiations after the proclamation. Currently, Daeng himself is known as the Father of Indonesian Angklung who succeeded in creating this instrument with a diatonic scale that can be played in harmony with other musical instruments.

The student, Udjo Ngalagena, also continued Daeng’s efforts to preserve the angklung. Udjo himself is known as the founder of a leading cultural arts tourist spot called Saung Angklung Udjo (SAU) in Bandung.

Udjo also promoted the widespread use of angklung in Indonesian music education. He founded Saung Angklung Udjo in 1966 as a center for learning and performing angklung.

Currently, SAU is operated by Udjo’s family and children who are still actively promoting angklung and various other arts, particularly from Sundanese.

Not only teaching music and dance classes to its students, the SAU center also hosts a daily “Bambu Sore” tour performance, which is home to a bamboo craft factory that makes high-quality bamboo souvenirs and angklung instruments.

Until the end of his life, Udjo was also very active in reaching out to villages and schools to spread angklung culture and finally received support for angklung education from the government.


How to Play Angklung

In playing the angklung, there are two basic principles, namely shaken or short hit , which in Sundanese is called “centok”. This principle is the same as pizzicato in the violin. When the angklung is shaken, the sound comes out in good quality when shaken quickly. However, the impression of the bamboo being hit will be more dominant if the angklung is shaken at a slow frequency.

This impression will be exacerbated if the team of angklung players has only a few members, around 10-12 players. As for this rocking technique, the nature of the angklung is not completely similar to that of a wind instrument. The hallmark of the sound of the angklung instrument is the combination of percussion instruments and wind instruments. These two characteristics are very important when playing angklung.

Here are the techniques for playing the angklung in more detail:

1. Strike / Kick Technique

As previously explained, this technique is performed by quickly pulling the base tube with the fingers into the palm of the hand. With this technique, the sound produced is only once.

2. Vibration/Kurulung technique

This technique is the most commonly used in playing the angklung. The trick, one hand holds the angklung frame while the other hand shakes the instrument. The angklung is shaken according to the desired tone until the tubes collide with each other and make a sound.

3. Tangkep Technique

Not much different from the kurulung technique, how to play the angklung with the tangkep technique is with one angklung tube held down with the finger. Its function, of course, is that the tube does not vibrate.

Types of Angklung

As a typical regional musical instrument that is widely spread in Indonesia, angklung has several types that need to be known. Following are the types:

1. Badeng Angklung

Previously, it should be noted that badeng is a type of art that emphasizes the musical aspect. Angklung is also the main musical instrument. Angklung badeng can be found in Sanding, Malangbong, Garut. Some of the songs contained in badeng art are Lailahaileloh, Ya’ti, Yautike, Kasreng, Solaloh, and Lilimbungan.

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2. Angklung Gubrag

The name is indeed unique, like the character sound of something falling. This angklung can be found in Cipining Village, Cigudeg, Bogor. Angklung Gubrag itself is quite old. It is used to honor the Goddess of Rice in the activities of melak pare or planting rice, nunjal pare or transporting rice, and ngadiukeun or placing it in a barn.

3. Angklung Padaeng

This is the type of angklung introduced by Daeng Soetigna around 1938. This angklung uses diatonic tunings which are generally used to play international songs. So, this angklung can certainly be included in an ensemble with other international musical instruments as well.

4. Angklung Beans

Located in Baros, Arjasari, Bandung, beans are performing arts that are entertainment in nature. Angklung beans were originally used during agricultural events related to rice. However, at this time he began to switch functions as public entertainment.

5. Angklung Toel

Created by Kang Yayan Udjo from Saung Angklung Udjo in 2008, the toel angklung has a waist-high frame with several angklungs lined up upside down and covered with rubber. In playing it, players only need to “squeeze” the angklung and they will vibrate for a few moments because of the rubber there.

6. Angklung Sarinande

This angklung is the term for a padaeng angklung which only uses round tones without chromatic tones. Meanwhile, the basic note is C. One small unit of angklung sarinande contains 8 angklungs, from low to high to high. Meanwhile, the angklung sarinande plus contains 13 angklung, from low sole to high noodles.

7. Angklung Sri-Murni

Eko Mursito Budi’s idea was to create the Sri-pure angklung. This angklung itself was created specifically for the needs of the angklung robot. Sri-pure angklung uses two or more sound tubes with the same tone so that the tone that is issued is a pure or mono-tonal tone.

Angklung’s achievements

One of the facts about the Indonesian Angklung is its achievement. Even for the people of Indonesia, not many people know that angklung has been known on the world stage. One is in Europe. Here are some examples of angklung achievements, quoted from FactsofIndonesia.

The Angklung Choir Family (KPA) of SMAN 3 Bandung, one of the high school choir clubs, has made a breakthrough by holding Expand the Sound of Angklung (ESA). ESA itself is a music event where KPA has participated in three categories in European music festivals.

ESA has also been held and participated in four times, i.e. in 2002, 2004, 2008, and 2010. There have been many achievements on the list, for example:

  • The 29th International Folk Festival in Gannat, France.
  • The 19th International Folk Festival in Moerbeke-Waas, Belgium.
  • Expand The Sound of Angklung 2002 also held two concerts in Heidelberg and Kiel, Germany.
  • Aberdeen International Youth Festival (AIYF) in Aberdeen, Scotland. (This festival is the largest youth festival in the world that focuses on the development of young people’s music and theater).
  • 36th International Festival of Mountain Folklore in Zakopane, Poland. (This is one of the oldest competitions on folk traditions. KPA3 was invited as the first participant from Indonesia. In this festival, KPA3 won 3 trophies).
  • International Petras, Greece Norbanus Festival, 2008, in Norma, Italy.
  • Festival of Rassegna, 2008, in Castiglione del Lago, Italy.
  • International Society of Music Education International Conference, 2008, in Bologna, Italy.
  • Maribor International Folkart Festival (June 29-July 3 2010).
  • Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival Vienna (3 July-8 July 2010) is organized by VIA MUSICA ( Vienna International Association for Music and Culture Exchange ) and provides a unique platform for choirs, bands, and the most talented youth orchestra in the world.
  • International Folk Festival (Festival Internacional de Folklore) of Ciudad Real (13 July-20 July 2010) organized by the Association of Songs and Dances of Ciudad Real (Mazantini Group).
  • International Folk Festival (Festival Folklórico Internacional) of Extremadura, Badajoz (21 July-29 July 2010).



The facts above successfully show how extraordinary the angklung is, one of Indonesia’s original musical instruments. As one of Indonesia’s cultural heritage, angklung has developed from just a traditional musical instrument that not many people know about to become the most famous traditional musical instrument from Indonesia.

Apart from the angklung musical instrument, of course there are still many traditional Indonesian musical instruments that are very worthy to be known. So, what Indonesian musical instruments have you played?

Sinaumed’s, you can broaden your knowledge regarding Indonesian musical instruments by reading books. In your steps, there’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of sinaumedia as the largest online bookstore in Indonesia, which is diligent in offering attractive promos to fill your book collection. The more you read, the more you know, the more you understand, and the #MoreWithReading.

Come on, improve the literacy culture of the Indonesian nation with sinaumedia, starting with you.