Indonesian Angklung

Inscribed in 2010 (5.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Country(ies): Indonesia



Indonesian Angklung

Angklung is an Indonesian musical instrument consisting of two to four bamboo tubes suspended in a bamboo frame, bound with rattan cords. The tubes are carefully whittled and cut by a master craftsperson to produce certain notes when the bamboo frame is shaken or tapped. Each Angklung produces a single note or chord, so several players must collaborate in order to play melodies. Traditional Angklungs use the pentatonic scale, but in 1938 musician Daeng Soetigna introduced Angklungs using the diatonic scale; these are known as angklung padaeng. The Angklung is closely related to traditional customs, arts and cultural identity in Indonesia, played during ceremonies such as rice planting, harvest and circumcision. The special black bamboo for the Angklung is harvested during the two weeks a year when the cicadas sing, and is cut at least three segments above the ground, to ensure the root continues to propagate. Angklung education is transmitted orally from generation to generation, and increasingly in educational institutions. Because of the collaborative nature of Angklung music, playing promotes cooperation and mutual respect among the players, along with discipline, responsibility, concentration, development of imagination and memory, as well as artistic and musical feelings.


Decision 5.COM 6.18

The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as follows:

  • R.1: Indonesian Angklung and its music are central to the cultural identity of communities in West Java and Banten, where playing the Angklung promotes the values of teamwork, mutual respect and social harmony;
  • R.2: Inscription of Indonesian Angklung on the Representative List could contribute to greater awareness of the importance of intangible cultural heritage and promote the values of cooperation, discipline and mutual respect that are at its core;
  • R.3: Safeguarding measures are proposed that include cooperation between performers and authorities at various levels to stimulate transmission in formal and non-formal settings, to organize performances, and to encourage the craftsmanship of making Angklungs and sustainable cultivation of the bamboo needed for its manufacture;
  • R.4: The nomination clearly demonstrates the broad participation of the communities both in safeguarding efforts and, through formal consultations, in the process of elaborating the nomination;
  • R.5: Indonesian Angklung is included in a national inventory maintained by the Centre for Research and Development of Culture of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and in several specialized inventories maintained by universities and Angklung associations.



© 2009 by the Center for Research and Development of Culture, Indonesia

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