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Ethnical Bamboo Music

Updated on February 13, 2015

Composer Sugeng Pratikno is famous for his takes on music from bamboo. With his group, The Swarning Pring Ensemble, he presented beautiful bamboo music concerts that is unique and mystifying. Not so long ago, Sugeng and the ensemble performed a music concert titled “Sapta”, which means seven, in an event created by the Utan Kayu community in Jakarta.

According to Sugeng, the number seven has a very deep meaning to him. That's what caused him to choose “Sapta” as title and theme for the music concert. "The number seven is widely available in this life. For example, one week consists of seven days. Musical notes also consist of seven tones. So I split the concert into seven parts, because I think the number seven has a lot of meaning for human life," he said.

The concert that lasted about 1.5 hours consists of seven sections and each section has its own nuances. For example, there are parts that seemed to want to thrill the audiences with a loud thump of drums and tambourines. There is also a part that seemed to want to invite audiences into a mystical world of peace with the strains of violins and clinking bells.

Some musical instruments that used at the concert made by Sugeng himself, especially those made of bamboo. Sugeng chose bamboo as the material of his musical instruments because he can easily get it from around his home in Bojonggede. Although the bamboo is not of the best quality, the sound produced is still magnificent.

One such musical instrument is Tala; a tuning fork-shaped musical instrument that made from bamboo. The musical instrument played by banging it into another bamboo to create a unique sound. It took a year for Sugeng to make all the needed instruments for his ensemble.

Aside the musical aspect, the ensemble itself also has its own uniqueness in terms of instrument players. When another ensemble every musical instrument played by one person, Sugeng’s ensemble consists of only four people, outside of himself. Because it consists only of four people, the ensemble members plays more than one musical instruments alternately.

"We want to show that an ensemble doesn't need a lot of people. An ensemble consists of small number of people can performed very well also," said Sugeng.

Through his compositions in "Sapta", Sugeng wish he had provided an unforgettable music experience for his audiences. "I hope the audiences will appreciate bamboo music after watching this concert. I'm not trying to give a specific message through this composition. I'm just trying to present a themed musical composition that is interesting for them," he said.


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    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 6 years ago from Canada

      Fascinating. I have never heard "bamboo music" until now. Thanks for an educational and well-written article.

    • rai2722 profile image

      rai2722 6 years ago

      Thanks for enjoying the hub, rwelton. I hope you enjoyed the bamboo music as I am.

    • rwelton profile image

      rwelton 6 years ago from Sacramento CA

      This is what I like about the internet..great access to other cultures. Enjoyed your post. I love bamboo...have a small grove on my property with shirts, sheets, flooring and many kitchen items in bamboo.

      thanks ... voted up


    • rai2722 profile image

      rai2722 6 years ago

      Thanks for the comment, Andy!

    • profile image

      andycool 6 years ago

      There is a vocal instrument played widely in India known as "bansi" means flute. It's called so because it's made from "bans" means bamboo! I feel enlightened knowing more about bamboo music played elsewhere in the world like in your country. "Saptak" or the seven notes is something I'm aware of, but differently. Thanks for sharing and enriching us! - Andy