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KOLINTANG Petrus Kaseke

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Kolintang is percussion instrument originating from Minahasa (North Sulawesi), that belong to the pitched percussion group. As idiophonic instrument, the sound source of kolintang derived from its bar that vibrates when struck. Kolintangs bar made of soft wood such as: -eggs wood (Alstonia sp) -wenuang wood (Octomeles sumatrana Miq) -Chrysolite wood (Elmerrillia Tsiampaca) - Hibiscus wood(Hibiscus tiliaceus) All of the wood that mention above, have similar characteristics that are: light, dense , straight fiber and produce a loud sound when struck. While for the resonator box using a harder wood such as: -Teak wood (Tectona Grandis) -Mahogany wood (Swietenia Macrophylla)

Considerations for selecting the type of resonator box used is not because of the sound produced, but because of other factors such as: appearance, durability and available budget, although some have argued bass resonator of teak wood is better than the other wood. Origin of the word Kolintang, comes from the sound: Tong (low tone), Ting (high tone) and Tang (middle tone). In Minahasan language ,to encourage people to play kolintang (Let's play Tong Ting Tang) by the phrase "Maimo Kumolintang" so that from that habit appears the name "kolintang", tool used for playing music.

The image below shows the comparison of kolintang scale range with other instruments (piano and marimba).

Note: -Concert-Type KM-4000 (Melody Kolintang 4 octaves) made to collaborate with other musical instruments besides kolintang, it can be used to learn holds four mallets , make it easier for adaptation to the Marimba instrument. -Kolintang Bass instruments are often sold per unit (not per set) to complete angklung orchestra on replacing string bass guitar instrument. -Recently we are under developing to reach higher tone , C7 bar.

INSTRUMENT DISTRIBUTION: Distribution of the instrument can be described by the following diagram

Type of kolintang melody use 2 box resonator arranged in natural and accidental tone, while others use 1 box resonator consisting of natural and accidental tone successive.

Table naming each instrument

The composition of the instrument in the kolintang orchestra Kolintang 5 players: 1 pc melody +1 pc Alto +1 pc Tenor + 1 pc Cello+ 1 pc bas1 & 1 pc bass 2 Kolintang 7 players: 2 pcs melody +2 pcs Alto +1 pc Tenor + 1 pc Cello+ 1 pc bas1 & 1 pc bass 2 Kolintang 9 players: 2 pcs melody +3 pcs Alto +2 pcs Tenor + 1 pc Cello+ 1 pc bas1 & 1 pc bass 2

Note: Kolintang set of 7 players is a standard set required in a general kolintang contest in Indonesia.

The function of each instrument in the Kolintang Orchestra


It has a role to play/lead a melody, it can be compared with the melody guitars, violin, xylophone, or vibraphone.Melody players generally use two or three sticks, one stick play a part one voice, while the other sticks to play part two or part three voices, similar to duet or trio singer. If there are using two melody instruments, they can play the same note simultaneously to make more powerful sound,thus it would be able to match the kolintang accompaniment sound (especially for the set of 9 players). The second alternative , it could be played by striking the same tone with a different octave. The third alternative, one of melody instrument play a melody songs, and the other play a melody improvisation. Because the characteristics of the kolintang resonance tone a bit short, to play a long note (legato), should be held by thrilling the stick (roll).


Cello Kolintang can play a variety of functions, it is depending on the song and the players skill. Its functions is as follows: Playing bass and treble, in analogy as a piano player, which a piano players right hand playing the song, and his left hand as accompaniment .Where is the Pianos right hand was replaced by the melody kolintang and the Pianos left hand was replaced by Cello Kolintang.The bass tones played by the left hand Cello player (sticks no1) and the treble played by a pair of sticks in the right hand Cello player. (sticks no 2 and 3) - Play as the Cello (Contra Bas) on keroncong orchestra. It will be more agile when playing using two sticks, while the treble function is represented by Tenor (Alto) kolintang players. -Play as drum or taganing , especially for songs that emphasize the rhythmic effect. Specific skills required for the proper functioning of the cello as unpitched percussion, especially for "obscure" the tones produced by Cello Kolintang.


The tenor Kolintang instrument consists of Tenor I and Tenor II. Tenor I and Tenor II , has only a slight difference in tone spacing (scale range), but has the same functionality as a low- voiced accompaniment treble sound . For players who are familiar with the guitar musical instruments ,prefer to use Tenor II because of the lowest tone is E , equal to the lowest tone of guitar strings. Some players do not even need to see the notations listed in kolintang bars ,because they are already familiar with bar (tone position )arrangement .


Alto Kolintang Instrument consists of 3 kinds: Alto I, Alto II and III Alto. All three instruments are only distinguishable from its tone spacing (scale range), but has the same function as a high-voiced accompaniment treble sound. Alto I and Alto II can complement the Tenor instrument to play Guitar accompaniment function. The combination of 3 Tenor sticks with 3 Alto sticks can be equated with 6 string Guitar strings. Alto II with scale range E3-E5, can represent Banjo musical instrument, some professional kolintang players , can use 2 pairs of sticks in his right and left hand, to equate with 4 banjo strings . Alto III with scale range E4-E6, represents the function of Ukulele musical instrument. Alto III which produces a high-voiced tone, can play a cuk accompaniment in keroncong orchestra. Alto III can also function as a "cimbal" because of its high pitch tone. It should be noted that Alto III did not play too hard,it will obscure the song played by Melody Kolintang. Both Alto or Tenor although only consisting of 1 box resonator with one line bar array ,but can also play the melody of the song, its depend on the player's habits. For example: Arumba (bamboo xylophone) players, more accustomed to using Kolintang Alto or Tenor to play the melody of the song, than when they use 2 box resonator Kolintang Melody, because Arumba musical instruments has only one line bar array.


Bass Kolintang instrument consists of BASS I and BASS II. The highest achievement of developing kolintang musical instrument is on creating Bass Kolintang. Through long period of trial & Error , spend a lot of waste wood for making bars , assembly and disassembly resonator box ,over and over until finally obtained Bass Kolintang formula that produces a good quality sound. Bass Kolintang is one of the best low pitched acoustic percussion instruments in the world. To play Bass Kolintang just like playing a Bass musical instrument in general, such as Bass Guitar or String bass. To cover a sound vacancy due to the long range distance of low pitched Bass Kolintang with other Kolintang instrument, often Kolintang Bass player hit two notes simultaneously with spacing one octave range tone. There is also a Bass Kolintang player experimented with mute the sound by pressing its bar. Things to consider is the placement of instrument Bass II, which sometimes must be adjusted to the conditions of the room in order to produce excellent sound.

COMPOSITION OF THE INSTRUMENTS PLACEMENT FOR PERFORMANCE (FOR GENERAL COMPETITION IN INDONESIA) Melody - the position of instrument is in front of the center Bass - the position of instrument is on the back (on the left hand side of the melody player) Cello - the position of instrument is behind (on the right hand side of the melody player) The position of the other instruments, depending on the width of the stage (the formation is consisting of 2 or 3 lines) and considering the balance of the Tenor and Alto instruments placement.
KOLINTANG NOTATION On the top of tone bars are written with red color number,referring to the tone of each bar. Such as : 1, 1#, 2, 2# , 3, 4, 4# , 5 ,5 #, 6, 6#, 7 and so on. The arrangement for above notation applies to Bas, Cello, Alto and Tenor instruments, in exception Melody instrument is divided by two row bars arrangement: First row is called natural bar with number notation 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 and Second Row (above First row) is called accidental bar with notation number 1 #, 2 #, 4 #, 5 #, 6 # , similar to the composition of the black piano keys. The Number Notation reflecting the chromatic scala as below: 1=c 1#=c# 2=d 2#=d# 3=e 4=f 4#=f# 5=g 5#=g# 6=a 6#=a# 7=b note: for ease of writing, the hash mark '#' replaced by slash "/" at the kolintang bar.

KOLINTANG CHORD To form a Chord, the bars in kolintang instrument should hit simultaneously to produce sound as follows: Chord of 3 tones: C=135 D=24#6 E=35#7 F=461 Cm = 1 2 # 5 Dm = 2 4 6 Em = 3 5 7 Fm=4 5 # 1

G= 572 A=61#3

Gm=5 6 # 2 Am = 6 1 3

B = 7 2 # 4 # Bm = 7 2 4 # Chord of 4 tones , 5 chord tones and above: C7=1356# Cm7 = 1 2 # 5 6 #

Cdim = 1 2 # 4 # 6 C9 = 1 3 5 6 # 2 ' C11 = 1 3 5 6 # 2 '4'

For the 4 chord tones or more usually played by 2 or 3 instrument, for example, to form a C7 chord instrument plays tenor tones 1 3 6 # and instrument Alto plays tones 5 6 # 1 . KOLINTANG STICK

Kolintang stick consists of various types to suit the instrument. For a high-pitched instruments typically use a hard surface stick, such as kolintang melody stick do not use a rubber wrapper on the head. The lower pitched to be beaten, the thicker rubber wrapper on the stick head. The thickest rubber wrapper used on Kolintang Bass stick. In one kolintang instrument can use sticks with different rubber wrapper thickness. Stick number 1 used in low-tone bars while number 3 used in the higher tone bar.

Stick that came with 1 set kolintang package.

How to use Stick: To hit the bar either using 2 sticks or 3 sticks should pay attention to a certain angle, in order to produce the desired sound. Wrist stroke is generally used for instruments that use a small stick (Melody, Alto and tenor), arm stroke is used for the instrument with a large stick (Bass,cello). In addition to considering a certain angle, it is also necessary to use feelings, to be able to hit hard but did not make the bar spilled out and hit a soft but audible. To hold the Kolintangs stick, using 3 sticks as follows: Number. 1 stick is always on the left hand Number . 2 stick is in the right hand (between thumb to index finger) Number . 3 stick is in the right hand (between the middle finger to the ring finger) . Its purpose , in order sticks freely movable referring to the accord being played. The manner of holding number. 2 and number. 3 sticks, similar to the Steven grip mallet method (but not identical, because of different sizes between kolintang stick and marimba mallet). Variations in way of holding stick still possible because it depends on the habits of players. There is also a player who holds two pairs kolintang stick in right hand and left hand like the way people hold the hand fan and can be used skillfully. Things to note, do not use the stick which is devoted to held one hand to be used as a pair , because it was too heavy and will cause injury .


Kolintang is music that is still growing, both in terms of the instrument that are constantly being developed, and in terms of the performance. With the online connections throughout the world, it is easy to learn and adapt any similar percussion players to play kolintang . Youtube internet connection service is changing the traditional way of playing kolintang by stood awkwardly just moving the arms and hands,to a dynamic performance combine with attractive body movements. The stereotype of kolintang as a traditional musical instrument will soon change to pop musical instrument that acceptable by the young generation.

Jakarta ,February 17,2013