Posted by: nastypen | July 16, 2008

It’s Nice to Be Musical Once in a While

I never had piano lessons. I do not know how to play an instrument. I don’t sing in front of people. I detest karaoke. I joined the high school choir because we were required to join a club, it’s either that or some religion thing. I did not sing, I just systematically opened my mouth. I maybe tone deaf, but I consider my musical tastes at par with hipster standards. If I go out, I’d prefer a place with no bands. I could talk about my favorite bands, my favorite divas, musicals, but I would rather talk about comics. But then recently music came to me.

The teachers at the department were taught how to play the angklung. It’s for a cultural show and I was quite excited to learn something new.

The angklung is a traditional Indonesian musical instrument. Last night, I chatted with an Indonesian I met in Japan years ago. He was quite pleased that I took a liking of the sound. He said that angklung came from the Sundanese part of Indonesia where his roots are from. I can understand his positive reaction; it’s because his art form is alive in a somewhat different culture which is quite flattering.

Now, angklung is not for a solo act. It has to be played as a group; each member rattles a particular note. Thereby a musical piece is a succession of notes to be “played” by individual angklung. It’s like each of us was a piano key. I got myself the piece of the “do” note.

It felt great to do something musical. Professor Juliet Bien, who was also my classmate at some MA courses, was the one who taught us. I had so much fun. Perhaps it’s the excitement over a new art form that made me giddy.

Juliet remarked to me how I was so enthusiastic with my playing.

I do like the traditional music of Asia. I am fascinated by the intertwining of music and dance of Asian cultures. Here at the homefront, I’ve always wanted to play the kulintang. I find the music of Asia, particularly traditional music has so much character than Western pop drivel. I like our traditional music not because it is exotic but the music pulls something deeper in me.

When I was taking up courses at the Asian Center in UP Diliman, I was always early for class. While waiting for the professor, I would fool around with the kulintang there. Juliet once told me there are classes in UP Diliman that can teach me how to play traditional instruments

I could dream of playing one but for now, I am quite happy with that one note I shake from the angklung. Or I could just sing at the shower more often now.

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