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Angklung Caruk

The fighting of Angklung


Angklung Caruk : the drummer and ensemble.
From Sri Hastanto's Collection

Angklung is a kind of musical instrument made of bamboo, and caruk means fighting or competition. Angklung caruk ensemble, however, does not consist of bamboo instrument only, but also includes some metal (iron or bronze)bar instruments. It is called angklung caruk because the leading instrument of the ensemble is angklung, and they perform in pairs as a competition ( caruk ). Banyuwangi people use this kind of performing art to celebrate social events of the society.

Reasons for selection

Angklung caruk is one of the unique musical genres found in Banyuwangi region, the province of East Java. This ensemble always performs in pairs that compete with each other, so this performance is not merely musical attraction but also has a kind of dramatic atmosphere. The groups who compete should have the same level of capability and virtuosity in performing their pieces. Otherwise the competition will not be attractive.

Area where performed

Banyuwangi, one of the regions in East Java province

Essential elements of the performing art


Detailed explanation

Banyuwangi music is always bright in sound and very fast in tempo. When we see how Banyuwangi people perform their music we will admire their virtuosity in playing their instruments. Virtuosity is important for musicians and dancers. Without having virtuosity an artist is never recognized by the society. That is why there are several genres of music that are performed in pairs to accommodate the spirit of virtuosity competition. One of them is angklung caruk.

The ensembles consist of a pair bamboo instruments called angklung as the leading instrument of the ensemble. They are supported by at least four pairs of metal percussion (bronze or iron)instruments. The pairs always play in various kinds of sophisticated interlocking patterns. The main melody is initiated by the angklung pair, and the metal instruments create various elaborations which make the music burn like fire. There are several two-headed drum ( kendang )of various sizes played by a drummer. The drum does not merely control the dynamics and tempo of the music but also gives a very important contribution, that is the soul of the music.

Before a performance is held, each group who will compete in the performance needs at least one week for preparation. They not only prepare their instruments but also have to compose a new piece of music, which will be used as a weapon in challenging their enemy during the performance.

When the time comes, each group performs their best common repertoire alternately until they feel warm enough. The climax of the performance when one of the group introduces its secret weapon, the brand new piece of music which has never been performed before. The other group is listening for a while. When they feel confident enough to accept the challenge the group then plays its instruments copying the piece which is being performed by the first group. If the second group succeed in copying the new piece they will begin to attack the first group by distracting (changing)the tempo and dynamics but still in the frame of the new piece's melodies. If the second group succeed in distracting the performance of the first group it will be regarded as a the winner. The next turn is the performance of the second group in the same procedure as the first.

Publication and textual documentation

already available

Audio documentation

very limited (for example purposes only)

Visual documentation

very limited (for example purposes only)

Institution/organisation involved in preservation and promotion

Directorate for the Arts, Directorate General for Culture, Department of National Education.

Data provider

Dr. Sri Hastanto
Director for the Arts
Directorate for the Arts, Directorate General for Culture, Department of National Education
Address: Gedung E Lantai-9 Komplek Depdikbud, Jalan Jenderal Sudirman, Senayan, Jakarta, Indonesia