Rhythm of the Indonesian Archipelago today will invite you to visit a small town in Central Java province, namely Wonosobo. People in the world usually visit Wonosobo to enjoy beautiful scenery from the peak of Dieng slope. The place, which becomes one of the main destinations of Wonosobo, has been well known by domestic and foreign tourists. Various kinds of arts and cultures become evidences that Indonesia is rich of not only beautiful nature or friendly people, but also diverse culture which becomes background of Indonesian people’s life. Culture also becomes way to see civilization in the world. Music is also part of the culture.
Wonosobo becomes the center of the oldest Islamic civilization in Java Island. Although many things have to appear, Wonosobo become a symbol of the city. There is one thing which is not realized by tourists when they come to this small town, namely a unique traditional instrument so-called ‘Bundengan’. The instrument has been played as entertainment of duck breeders since the glory of Majapahit kingdom. Bundengan is the origin of traditional musical instrument from Wonosobo. The instrument is rare because there are not many makers and players of the instrument.
According to Agus Wuryanto a Bundengan player in Wonosobo that Bundengan’ is Javanese traditional instrument. In addition, it is also called ‘Kowangan’ and called ‘Betet’ in East Wonosobo. The Javanese traditional instrument has developed, especially in Kedu region in Wonosobo and surrounding areas. The instrument is made from bamboos which are coated with Selumpring or bamboo stem and tied with fibers. The instrument is popular among the communities because in the past, it became media of entertainment. According to its function, Kowangan is also used as tools for shelter for farmers and herdsmen.
The shape of Bundengan which looks like shell poses some questions; one of them is why people call the instrument Bundengan.
"...It is called Bundengan, because from Kowangan name, it contains of instrument and its sound is buzzing. So, it’s called Bundengan. If Javanese people mention that buzzing is called ‘Bundeng’. The instrument has high pitch voice and quite complete. So, it can be mentioned to represent a set of Gamelan, and there is Gendang sounding like Kempul and Gong.", Agus said.
The simplicity of the form of the instrument does not reflect the melodious rhythm. The genius farmers and breeders are able to present unique music, namely Bundengan. After exploring, the instrument entertained not only the farmers but also the breeders when they were taking a rest at that time.
"...In the past, it was usually used to accompany performances; one of them was Bali Lenggeran, kids’ songs and even for wayang Kedu performance. Because from one of books which was read by me. With its name Kritosanjoyo book, there is one sentence which mentions “Tudung” referring to Javanese musical instrument as Wayang Kedu accompaniment.", He added.
Bundengan itself has shape like hood which is made from bamboo. The uniqueness of the instrument is its string tucked in between the woven bambooto produce melodious sound and high-pitch. A man with the name Munir who is very proficientto play it, explained how to make Bundengan.
"It is made from dried bamboo, then it cut thin or split and refined, when it has been thin and refined, it is installed on Kowangan. To install racket strings pairs on the sidelines of Kowangan is given the distance among several boxes and should be tight. Then, it is given Gondeni or bamboo’s twig. The twig is split, and fitted to strings and inserted a stick, then it can be tested in the stem", He said.
It is not easy to make the instrument. Understanding the maker of Gamelan music is also a benchmark of the beauty of the sound coming out of the Bundengan.Bundengan is in category of stringed instrument which uses guitar and rubber strings. Furthermore, a Lecturer of Ethnomusicology, Surakarta, Dr. Zukarnain Mistortoify explained about Bundengan.
"...Bundengan instrument consists of some elements, one bowl or Koangan which is plaited by bamboo’s frame to form it like bowl. Then, there are strings which produce sound; there are 4 strings which function as gong, kempul and bende and produce kempul and getuk sound. Because it is different, then the principle of its strainis also varied and there is also a facility to ascend down the strain. Another side is a piece of bamboo which is plugged in its different size and thickness, if it is pluckedto produce different sound.", He explained.
Being simple is the main key which is played by Bundengan physicallybut the simplicity can give the pleasure of a sad heart.
That was a glimpse of information about a traditional music instrument from Wonosobo, Central Java.