How Are Bamboo Musical Instruments Made In The Philippines?


2 Answers

Steve Theunissen Profile
The bamboo grows wild in the countryside. Big clumps of it may be seen along riverbanks, roads and mountainsides. The young shoots make fine vegetables, whereas the spiny twigs are ideal for trellises and vines. But the long dark-green hollow stems, tapering skyward some six meters (20 feet) at maturity, have a myriad of other uses—for toothpicks, fans, seats, paper currency, bridges and houses, or for excellent musical instruments that are unique.

The music coming out of bamboo instruments made by talented craftsmen, and in the hands of specially trained musicians, truly is beautiful. Yet, not just any bamboo will do!

The species ideal for music making is the carabao bamboo. It hardens well and produces fine sound. But it takes two to three years to grow the right carabao bamboo. Immediately after cutting, the long hollow stems are soaked in salt and water to remove the sugars.

Simple, painstaking research and a lot of time and hard work are required for fine craftsmen to make each bamboo instrument.

Precision, too, is demanded. If the bamboo is cut a millimetre shorter or 100th of an inch longer than it should be, or if the tubes are not matured to the proper degree, the tone played on that particular instrument will be off-key. The holes must be bored at the right place with great care, as the bamboo could crack with the use of the wrong fraction of strength.

Answer Question