Angklung – The Bamboo Shaker

A unique musical instrument found in South-East Asian countries is the Angklung, or “bamboo shaker”. As the name suggests, the design and materials used are simple. Bamboo tubes of varying length are mounted on a bamboo frame. These are then shaken to produce different notes. Each bamboo rod is of different length and the top third is sliced in half. I have seen handheld versions of these that only have two bamboo tubes. As each one would only produce one note, you would need quite a few people to play a song. However, in these pictures you can see that each student is in charge of seven “bamboo swings” which they knock to produce the different notes. This version is called Angklung Lao. The resultant sound is quite unique.

Watch a video clip by clicking here.

These pictures were taken recently at the Ancient City in Samut Prakan.

28 responses to “Angklung – The Bamboo Shaker

  1. do they play these at any particular ceremonies?

  2. Think of this as a larger scale handbell choir. Substitute handbells with these bamboo shakers.

    It takes a group to perform. It could be just over dozen performers to a huge auditorium full of them. I’ve been previleged to hear the auditorium performance of these, and man it’s simply amazing!

    Brandon absolutely adores the sound of the angklung choir. I haven’t been able to find a CD of it though. Richard, do you know of any?

  3. This is interesting… I’d love to hear the sound of this instrument. I just put ang-kalung on my “Things to look out for” list. :-)

    Thanks, Richard.

  4. You can now watch a video clip of the students playing this instrument:

    http://www.richardbarrow.com/video/angklung.htm

  5. Oh and just to add: I didn’t realize that nowadays the angklungs came mounted at 7 a pop! LOL. This is the first time I’ve seen them this way.

    What I’m used to is each student has one angklung for one note, or maybe even one in each hand. So the choir could amount up to as large a group as you’d want. Hence my reference to the handbell choir. :)

  6. Faridah Jamal

    So interesting! Just what i’ve been searching for! I’m an angklung instructor and conductor of 4 secondary schools in Singapore. We use Indonesian angklungs and traditional Indonesian as well as modern/western music techniques, arrangements & our (mine / my students’) original compositions. I’m bringing my 4 schs (Raffles Girls, St Anthony’s Canossian, St Theresa’s Convent & MacPherson), totalling about 120 students, to Chiang Mai from 31st May-4 Jun 2006 for an exchange prog. Need to know urgently WHERE SAMUT PRAKAN IS, EXACTLY??? Accessible from Chiang Mai? Please reply ASAP. Thanks!!

  7. I am afraid I don’t know the name of the school that is shown in these pictures. Samut Prakan is in Central Thailand just south of Bangkok. Our school used to teach the handheld version but don’t anymore.

  8. Faridah Jamal

    Well, ok! Thanks for your prompt reply. Would you know of any thai school or university which has an angklung orchestra? Or do you know of any lecturer/teacher of Thai traditional music I could connect with? Thanks!

  9. I am not sure, but if I can I will send you an email.

  10. Ding Ricon

    Wow! nice group.. do you know where we can buy a set of chromatic angklung with bass,chords..around 30 pcs.. i found one in the internet ( indonesia) but the shipping to the USA is 3x expensive than the cost of the instruments..

  11. Hi! I’m 16 this year and im from singapore.I’m doing a research paper on traditional bamboo angklung. Can’t say i havent regretted doing it becuase im facing a lack of resources. I cant seem to get any scores nor sound tracks to analyse. Also, i cant seem to get any books on specifically bamboo angklung music and not gamelan angklung music. I was wondering whether angklung music has a special way of arrangement or favoured use of musical devices.

  12. oh and sorry to bother but may i ask how i can contact Faridah Jamal from above?

  13. Faridah Jamal

    Hi jan! drop me a line at angklungqween@yahoo.com

  14. Hi,
    where do they make angklung in Thailand?

  15. supatana (thaigirl)

    http://www.thaitambon.com/tambon/tprdsdesc.asp?ID=720403&PROD=0461115959&SME=0461111248

    There is a group produce the angklungs in Supanburi. This website is in Thai Language. Sorry that I can not translate to English. My english is poor as you can see now. (hehe)

  16. Where can I purchase asian angklung bamboo shakers. Would like to use them for elementary music classes

  17. AFAIK, angklung is traditional instrument originated from West Java (Indonesia),
    so, i think you can find those in some indonesian sites (ie: http://www.kolintang.co.id, http://www.angklung-udjo.co.id).
    :)

  18. Greetings:
    I am looking for a place to purchase Angklungs so I can use them to perform
    with and also to teach other people to them.
    play them. Is there anyplace in the USA where I can purchase these? If not, anywhere else will do.
    Thank you for your response.
    Ray Monson, California, USA

  19. How can i order a 2 set octave anklung setto USA,pls respond to my email rreluya@aol.com. I am an Anklung teacher while i was in the philippines, I want to teach my students here in usa,
    thank you

  20. Hey, don’t thief the my angklung! Because that is indonesian (Sundanese) music.

  21. i have a set of 7 on a stand that i’d be willing to sell. contact me at songrighter714@gmail.com. i’m in the US.

  22. do you know where i can buy a set of this and i’ll teach my students in vietnam to play this

  23. Deni Koswara

    first please read this article of the Angklung origin at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angklung
    Angklung came to Thailand in 1908 by musician Luang Pradit Phairoh, one of Prince’s entourage Bhanubhandu from Thailand who visited the island of Java. Since then, angklung developed in Thailand that has its own forms adapted to the music system in Thailand. And for whom, who wants to purchase Angklung, please contact the master of Angklung at “Saung Angklung” (House of Angklung) in Padasuka Street, Bandung, West Java Indonesia or visit their sites http://www.angklung-udjo.co.id
    Padasuka Street,Bandung 40192
    6222 727 1714

  24. its from thailand?
    are u sure?

    afaik its from indonesia :/

  25. Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.

  26. ednalyn velasquez

    When was the angklung introduced to the Philippines?

  27. Angklung = Indonesia Heritage

  28. Ruth Mackenzie

    I have been looking for a place to buy Angklungs. I want them for our elementary/junior high school. Probably 2 octaves would be enough to play many songs. I am in the USA.
    Thanks for any info.