Many notions describing the origin of the word ‘angklung’. One believed that angklung was derived from the word ‘klung’, which imitates the sound of this bamboo musical instrument. While others said that angklung was derived from Balinese language, ‘angka’ (tone) and ‘lung’ (broken), which means ‘an incomplete tone’.
Long before Angklung Padaeng was invented, there were numerous kind of angklung, namely Angklung Gubrag, Kanekes, Dogdog Lojor, Buncis, and Badeng. According to Dr. Groneman, angklung had been existed in Nusantara, even before the Hindu Era. In his book “Music in Java”, Jaap Kunst explains that besides in West Java, angklung could also be found in South Sumatra and Kalimantan (Borneo). Beside of that, many communities in Lampung, East Java, and Central Java were also familiar with this instrument.
In the era of Sunda Empire, angklung became an important instrument during many celebrations, especially those related to farming ritual, more importantly paddy (rice) planting. Since the 7th century, angklung was played as a symbol of worship to Dewi Sri (The Goddess of Paddy/Fertility Goddess) in the tradition of Sundanese peoples. The worship was for Dewi Sri to bestow her blessing upon the crops and the people’s lives. Not only as a medium of worshipping, angklung also being played to boost morale in the war, including when the Bubat War was occurred according to the Kidung Sunda (Sundanese Song).
Nowadays, Angklung Gubrag becomes the oldest well-preserved angklung which was created in the 17th century in Jasinga, Bogor. There are many other ancient angklung which still can be traced down were in the Sri Baduga Museum, Bandung.
Meanwhile, the oldest angklung tradition could be found in the Kanekes communities of Baduy, in Lebak, Banten. Until today, they are still functioning angklung tradition as their ancestor has inherited, which is to accompany the farming rituals.
In 1938, Daeng Soetiga was invented angklung with a diatonic scale. His innovation has distinguished angklung from its common traditional scale, pelog or salendro. This innovation has also made angklung can be played harmonically along with modern Western instruments, even in the format of orchestra. Since then, angklung has been developed in so many ways. Finally, in 18 November 2012, UNESCO acknowledged angklung as the world’s heritage that must be preserved.
Angklung Padaeng (referred to diatonic angklung which was invented by Daeng Soetigna) is specifically classified into melody and accompaniment angklung. Melody angklung is specifically consisted of two or three tubes which ranged in one octave. In one unit of angklung, it usually is consisted of 31 small-sized melody angklungs and 11 big-sized melody angklungs. Meanwhile, the accompaniments are being used to make such harmonious accompanying tones. It has 3-4 tubes, according to the diatonic chords.
These are some definition of angklung, which are:
- Angklung is a music instrument made of bamboo which plays the tone when shaked, and one instrument plays one tone. It is an idiophone. (angklung-web-institute.com)
- Angklung is a bamboo-made instrument which is played by shaking its tubes. (Direktorat Jenderal Kebudayaan Republik Indonesia, 2013).
- Angklung is Indonesian instrument which consisted of 2-4 tubes hanged on a bamboo frame and tied with rattan. (UNESCO, 2010).
Angklung, Indonesia`s traditional bamboo musical instrument, was among 47 nominations from 29 countries, inscribed into the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The nominations were examined by the UNESCO Inter-Governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (IGC-ICH) in its fifth session in Nairobi, Kenya, on Wednesday (Nov 17 2010).
The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is a list made by the UNESCO to help demonstrating the diversity of intangible heritage practices and expressions and to raising awareness about its importance.
According to the UNESCO, angklung satisfies five criteria for inscription of the Representative List. Firstly, Indonesian Angklung represents the cultural identity of community in West Java and Banten where playing Angklung enhances the values of togetherness, mutual respect and social harmony.
Secondly, the inscription of Indonesian Angklung could raise the awareness of the importance of intangible cultural heritage and promote the values of cooperation, discipline and mutual respect.
Furthermore, the Indonesian authority has set preserving measures that include cooperation at various levels to encourage Angklung´s diffusion in formal and non-formal contexts.
The nomination also shows the communities´ participation in the preserving efforts, as well as in the process of elaborating the nomination through formal consultations.
Lastly, the Centre for Research and Development of Culture of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has included Angklung in a national inventory. Several universities and Angklung associations have also included Angklung in their specialized inventories.