8 Interesting Facts on Angklung

8 Interesting Facts on Angklung

Indonesian food extends beyond food and dances. One of the cultural heritage includes music, which differs from one area to the other. But in West Java, a cultural heritage that is still played to this day is the angklung.


This traditional musical instrument from West Java has been known worldwide. Angklung is made of bamboo blades arranged in such a way that when it is vibrated or shaken it produces a distinctive sound. To get a harmonious tone, angklung must be played by many people because one angklung only represents one musical note.

Angklung is one of the charms of Indonesian culture which attracts foreign tourists. Moreover, UNESCO has recognized angklung as a World Cultural Heritage, and is included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

8 Interesting Facts About Angklung

  1. Origin of the term Angklung

Angklung itself comes from the Sundanese language, namely Angklung. Angkleungan means hand movements that move the bamboo musical instrument. Another version of the name angklung itself is a term for the sound produced by the instrument, namely Klung-klung-klung when sounded.

  1. Worship Ritual

The Angklung musical instrument is also known as a musical instrument for worshiping Dewi Sri (Nyai Sri Pocachi) in the 12th to 16th centuries. In Sundanese culture, Dewi Sri Pocachi is mythized as the Goddess of soil fertility and agriculture, which is believed by most of the people of West Java in Indonesia during that era.

  1. Boosts War Spirit

During the Portuguese to Dutch colonial period, the Angklung musical instrument was widely played by local people while carrying out the war against the invaders. This was done to awaken the spirit of resistance to soldiers who fought against the colonizers as told in the Sundanese song.

  1. Feared by Colonizers

Angklung musical instrument is also believed to be a musical instrument feared by the colonizers. This is because it is considered to have mystical elements that can bring the spirit of resistance from the people to the colonizers.

So that the Dutch government had issued a policy to prohibit the use of these musical instruments. Only the lower middle class can play Angklung, and even then it is limited.

  1. Known by East Java Community

It turns out that the origin of the Angklung musical instrument comes from the East Java region. There is no definite information about when the Angklung musical instrument was made. It’s just that according to the oldest information from the Nagara Kartagama Book, it says that the musical instrument came from East Java. Angklung is used in the ceremony to welcome the arrival of the king.

The book also details that the art of angklung was played by the people to welcome King Hayam Wuruk while conducting a tour of the East Java area in 1359.

  1. Made Using Special Bamboo

To make an Angklung, you can’t use just any bamboo. Special bamboo is required, namely black bamboo or awi wulung (Gigantochloa atter), Bampu Tali (Gigantochloa apus) and bamboo tutul (Banbusa vulgaris).

According to the Sundanese people, these types of bamboo are the best quality (strong, loud and not easy to mold).

  1. Special Time Required To Cut Bamboo From Trees

To make Angklung according to the beliefs of the Sundanese people, it takes a certain time to take bamboo from the tree, namely in the morning (09:00) and in the afternoon (14:00-16:00). It is believed that this time is considered to be moderately low water content in the bamboo tree.

  1. World Angklung Day

Reporting from the official unesco.org page, UNESCO has recognized the Angklung musical instrument as a heritage of original musical instruments from Indonesia. Since then UNESCO has set world Angklung Day on November 16.