Indonesian Angklung, one of Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity

This time, I’ll try to define to you about Indonesian traditional music. Indonesia consists of many ethnics with various cultures, religion, language, clothing, music, dance and so on.
In this post, I’ll write about Sundanese traditional music, it’s called “Angklung.”

What’s Angklung?
The word “angklung” was originated from Sundanese “angkleung-angkleungan”, that means the movement of angklung player and the sound “klung” that comes from the instrument.
Another theory suggested that the word “angklung” was formed from two Balinese words – angka and lung. Angka means “tone”, and lung means “broken” or “lost”. Angklung thus means an “incomplete tone.”
The angklung is a musical instrument made of two to four bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame. The tubes are carved to have a resonant pitch when struck and are tuned to. The base of the frame is held in one hand, whilst the other hand strikes the instrument. This causes a repeating note to sound. Each of three or more performers in an angklung ensemble play just one note or more, but altogether complete melodies are produced.
The angklung is popular throughout Southeast Asia, but it originated in what is now West Java and Banten provinces in Indonesia, and has been played by the Sundanese for many centuries. Angklung and its music has become the cultural identity of Sundanese communities in West Java and Banten. Playing angklung as an orchestra requires cooperation and coordination, and is believed promotes the values of teamwork, mutual respect and social harmony.

The pictures of Angklung



gambar angklung nada

History of Angklung
According to Dr.Groneman, angklung had already been a favorite musical instrument of the entire archipelago even before the Hindu era. According to Jaap Kunst in Music in Java, besides West Java, angklung also exists in South Sumatra and Kalimantan. Lampung, East Java and Central Java are also familiar with the instrument.
In the Hindu period and the time of the Kingdom of Sunda, the angklung played an important role in ceremonies. The angklung was played to honor Dewi Sri, the goddess of fertility, so she would bless their land and lives. The angklung also signaled the time for prayers, and was said to have been played since the 7th century in Kingdom of Sunda. In the Kingdom of Sunda, it provided martial music during the Battle of Bubat, as told in the Kidung Sunda. The oldest surviving angklung is 400 years old Angklung Gubrag. It was made in the 17th century in Jasinga, Bogor. Other antique angklung are stored in the Sri Baduga Museum, Bandung. The oldest angklung tradition is called “Angklung Buhun” (Sundanese: “Ancient Angklung”) from Lebak Regency, Banten. Angklung buhun is an ancient type of angklung played by Baduy people of inland Banten province during Seren Taun harvest ceremony.

Daeng Soetigna in 1971
In 1938, Daeng Soetigna, from Bandung, created an angklung that is based on the diatonic scale instead of the traditional pelog or sléndro scales. Since then, the angklung has returned to popularity and is used for education and entertainment, and may even accompany western instruments in an orchestra. One of the first performances of angklung in an orchestra was in 1955 during the Bandung Conference. In 1966 Udjo Ngalagena, a student of Daeng Soetigna, opened his “Saung Angklung” (House of Angklung) as a centre for its preservation and development.
UNESCO designated the angklung a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on November 18, 2010.

World record
On July 9, 2011, 5,182 people from many nations played angklung together in Washington DC and are listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest angklung ensemble.

Angklung Eindhoven in Concert 2012 – New York New York

Insha’Allah, next I’ll share the other stories/ cultures of Indonesia. 

Thank you for your kind attention!


5 thoughts on “Indonesian Angklung, one of Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”

  1. That’s quite informative. Am also keen on learning a few things about the Indonesian language. what’s its name? has it in anyway been influenced by Arabic considering Indonesia has the highest Muslim population?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Indonesian language is called Bahasa Indonesia. Actually, Indonesia has 700 tribal languages, so Bahasa Indonesia is our national language. We can speak each other using it, my tribal language is Basa Sunda, and Angklung is Sundanese traditional music. Yes, Bahasa Indonesia absorb many words from other languages especially Arabic , English, Dutch, n Latin. Alhamdulillah we can spell Arabic words easily. I’d love to help you if you wanna know /learn Bahasa Indonesia. 😊 Maybe in next time I’ll define about Bahasa Indonesia, insha’Allah.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Indonesia and its rich heritage, I find it so interesting to learn new things of and on about your country’s cultures and its diversities. Will look forward for more posts on this topic soon 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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