Today’s Google Doodle spotlights the angklung, but what exactly is it? WOTHAPPEN takes a look into the significance of the Indonesian invention.
Google honors historical figures, holidays, or creations with animated editions of their signature logo, and November 16, 2022, commemorates the angklung.
This is the second time the angklung has been featured, though the first time in 2016 focused on Daeng Soetigna, a music teacher who redesigned the instrument, allowing Indonesian music to reach international audiences.
Read on to find out more about the historical invention that remains a staple in the Southeast Asian country.
GOOGLE DOODLE: WHAT IS THE ANGKLUNG?
The Google Doodle celebrates the angklung with an animation featuring six cartoons playing the instrument. With each player being of a different ethnicity, it demonstrates the global reach of the angklung.
The angklung is an Indonesian instrument constructed of varying bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame. The tubes are carved so they have a resonant pitch when struck. It is played with one hand holding the base of the frame, while the other shakes the instrument from side to side, causing a repeating note to sound.
Angklungs only play a single note, so performers in an ensemble must cooperate by playing their instruments at different pitches at the right time to produce a complete melody.
AND NOW FOR A HISTORY LESSON…
The word angklung originates from two words: angka and lung. The first means tone and the latter translates to broken, so the term can mean broken tone or uncompleted.
It dates back 400 years to West Java, Indonesia, and was played to honor Dewi Sri, the goddess of rice and fertility. Villagers created angklungs and used them in their annual ceremonies in hopes that the deity would bless their land and lives.
November 16, 2010, marked the date UNESCO declared the invention a World Heritage item. It is on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as the angklung is key in Indonesian traditional customs, cultural identity, and arts.
DAENG SOETIGNA BROUGHT THE ANGKLUNG TO A GLOBAL AUDIENCE
Born in Garut, West Java on May 13, 1908, the Indonesian music teacher is considered the father of the modern angklung. In 1938, Daeng Soetigna redesigned it to be a seven-note diatonic instrument, instead of the original pentatonic (five tones).
It propelled the angklung to worldwide fame as the modern version – known as angklung padaeng – was used in orchestras and concerts around the world.
Google Doodle honored Soetigna’s 108th birthday on May 13, 2016. He passed away on April 8, 1984, in Bandung, Indonesia.