About

What is Kolintang?

Kolintang is a melodic percussion instrument originated from Minahasa (North Sulawesi).

As an idiophonic instrument, the sound come from the vibration of the key bars.

Kolintang bars are made out of soft wood such as: Banderan(Tolor) wood (Alstonia sp);
Cempaka (Chrysolite) wood (Elmerrillia Tsiampaca)
; Waru wood (Hibiscus tiliaceus).
All of the wood that mentioned above have similar characteristics which are lightweight, dense , straight fiber texture and able to produce a loud sound when struck.

For the resonator box, usually harder wood are used, such as:
Jati(Teak) wood (Tectona Grandis);
Mahogany wood (Swietenia Macrophylla).

The origin of the word Kolintang, comes from the sound: Tong (low tone), Ting (high tone) and Tang (middle tone).
In Minahasan language ,to invite people to play kolintang (Let’s play Tong Ting Tang) they use the phrase “Maimo Kumolintang” which turns into “kolintang”.
Kolintang had a relate closely with the traditional belief of Minahasa natives.
It was often played during ancestor worshipping rituals.
That might explain the reason kolintang was nearly totally left behind when Christianity came to Minahasa.
It was so rarely played that it was nearly extinct for about a 100 year .

Kolintang reappeared after the World War II, pioneered by a blind musician Nelwan Katuuk, who reconstructed it accordingly to universal musical scales.
Initially, there was only one kind of Kolintang instrument which was a 2 octave diatonical melody instrument.

Inspired by Nelwan Katuuk’s kolintang performance heard in radio broadcasts in 1952, a boy named Petrus Kaseke tried to make his own kolintang using Banderan (Tolor) wood, commonly found and used as firewood.
Once he was satisfied tuning and playing the kolintang, the wood would be used as a firewood.

The habit of tuning and playing kolintang using softwood before making it as firewood, led him to become famous kolintang artisans.
Petrus Kaseke start the commercial production of kolintang outside its native land of Minahasa in 1964 in Yogyakarta, Central Java. At that time kolintang was still a single melody instrument accompanied by string music instruments such as : guitar, ukulele or string bass.

The next development was to replace string instruments with kolintang accompaniment in 1966. He managed to make first kolintang ‘Orchestra’ performance at Satya Wacana Christian University in Salatiga.
The group consisted of a set of 5 Kolintang, each with different function, namely Melody, Alto, Tenor, Cello and Bass.

(by: markus@kolintang.co.id)

 What is Angklung ?

The angklung is a musical instrument from Indonesia made of a varying number of bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame. The tubes are carved to have a resonant pitch when struck.

The upper part of the frame is held in one hand , whilst the other hand shakes the instrument. The angklung is popular throughout Southeast Asia, but it originated  in Indonesia, and has been played by the Sundanese for many centuries.

In the past, pentatonic (five-tone) angklung is the norm, but today the bamboo-made instrument adopts modern music principles, allowing us to play any song with it.

The founding father of diatonic angklung, Daeng Sutigna, started to create the diatonic-chromatic scale version of angklung in 1937.

On November 18, 2010, UNESCO officially recognized the Indonesian angklung as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, and encouraged the Indonesian people and the Indonesian government to safeguard, transmit, promote performances and to encourage the craftsmanship of angklung.

As a musical instrument angklung materials are generally made of yellow bamboo  and black bamboo.

Yellow bamboo has loud and shrill voice ,while black bamboo has more rounded voice. (For comparison as the difference between the sound of  snare drum and tom tom).

For an orchestra, angklung grouped into Melody angklung, Chord Angklung and Bass Angklung.

Melody Angklung and Bass Angklung are tuned to octaves , and Chord Angklung is tuned corresponding tone in the chord.