The instrument called the “kulintang” (or its other derivative terms) consist of a row/set of 5 to 9 graduated pot gongs, horizontally laid upon a frame arranged in order of pitch with the lowest gong found on the players’ left.[15] The gongs are laid in the instrument face side up atop two cords/strings running parallel to the entire length of the frame, with bamboo/wooden sticks/bars resting perpendicular across the frame creating an entire kulintang set called a pasangan.[16]

The gongs could weigh roughly from two pounds to three and 1/8 pounds and have dimensions from 6–10 inches for their diameters and 3–5 inches for their height.[17] Traditionally they are made from bronze but due to the shortage of bronze after World War II, and the subsequent use of scrap metal, brass gongs with shorter decaying tones have become commonplace.

The kulintang frame known as an antangan by the Maguindanao (means to “arrange”) and langkonga by the Maranao could have designs that could be particularly crude made from only bamboo/wooden poles or highly decorated, rich with artistic designs like the traditional okil/okir motifs or arabesque designs.[18]

The kulintang is played by striking the bosses of the gongs with two wooden beaters. When playing the kulintang, the Maguindanao and Maranao would always sit on chairs while for the Tausug/Suluk and other groups that who play the kulintangan, they would commonly sit on the floor.[19] Modern techniques include twirling the beaters, juggling them in midair, changing the arrangement of the gongs either before or while playing, crossings hands during play or adding very rapid fire strokes all in an effort to show off a player’s grace and virtuosity.[8]

Kulintang gongs are made using the cire perdue method, a lost-wax process used for casting the individual gongs.[20] The first phase is the creation of wax molds of the gongs. In the past, before the availability of standardized wax sheets made specifically for foundry use, the molds were made out of either beeswax (talo) or candle wax (kandila).[5] The wax mold is covered with a special mixture of finely-powdered coal/mud, which is applied on the wax surface using a brush. The layers are then left to dry under the sun, after which the entire mold is heated in a furnace to melt away the wax and hardening the coal/mud mixture, leaving behind a hollowed shell.[4] With this hardened mold, molten bronze is poured down the mold’s mouth cavity, cooled to a certain degree, then the coal/mud is broken apart, revealing a new gong. The gong is then refined, cleaned, and properly identified by the panday (gong-maker).[7] Finally, the finished product is refined using the tongkol process, tuning the gongs either by hammering the boss from the inside to slightly raise its pitch, or by hammering the boss from the outside to lower the pitch.[4] The correct tuning is found by ear, with players striking a sequence of gongs, looking for a melodic contour they are familiar with.[21]

Unlike westernized instrumentation, there is no set tuning for kulintang sets throughout the Philippines.[22] Great variation exist between each set due to differences in make, size and shape, alloy used giving each kulintang set a unique pitch level, intervals and timbre.[23] Though the tuning varies greatly, there does exist some uniformity to contour when same melody heard on different kulintang sets.[20] This common counter results in similar interval relationships of more or less equidistant steps between each of the gongs.[24] This tuning system, not based upon equal temperament or upon a system of standard pitches but on a similar/certain pattern of large and small intervals, could also be found among the gamelan orchestras of western Indonesia.[21] In fact, though the Maguindanao, Maranao and Tausug artists technically have no concept of scale (because emphasis placed on the concept of “rhythmic modes”), the Pelog and Slendro scales of western Indonesia were found to be most satisfactory to their own varying pentatonic/heptatonic scales.

Notation system
Because this music was catered for by acephalous societies, kulintang repertory was unfettered by an indigenous notation system.[21] Compositions were passed down orally from generation to generation negating the need for notation for the pieces.[25] Recent attempts have been made to transcribe the music using cipher notation, with gongs indicated by a numbering system for example, starting from 1 to 8 with the lowest gong starting at number 1 for an eight gong kulintang set.[20]

Feminine instrument

The kulintang is traditionally considered a women’s instrument by many groups: the Maguindanao, Maranao, Tausug/ Sukul, Samal, Badjao/Sama, Illanum, Kadazan, Murut, Bidayuh and Iban.[26] Traditionally, the playing of the kulintang was associated with graceful, slow, frail and relaxed movements that showed elegance and decorum common among females.[27] Nowadays, with both women and men playing all five instruments, the kulintang seen strictly as a woman’s instrument has waned, and in fact today, the most well known players of the kulintang happen to be men.[28]

Rate Me on!
the best pretty good okay pretty bad the worst help?

Arts blogs Arts Subscribe to updates

Search Engine Optimization and SEO Tools
Listed in LS Blogs the Blog Directory and Blog Search Engine

Search This Blog