MUSIKONG BUMBONG OF BULACAN
Excerpt from the BMI Ethnography of Bulacan’s Musikong Bumbong
“Mr. Rodrigo Anastacio and the Banda Santa Clara Musikong Bumbong of Obando, Bulacan”
By Daniel Ray C. Eramis
PRODUCING THE BAMBOO MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
Based on the discussion with Sir Rod, the diagram will explain the analyzed systematic process of producing the bamboo musical instruments from selection of materials to the final form
of an instrument:
For Sir Rod, the best time to choose bamboo for an instrument is when it is fresh, so as it is easier to cut. He prefers to source his supply from Bulacan, usually from the areas of Plaridel, Pulilan, and Baliwag as it is available all year round within the province. He chooses buho (a hollow kind of bamboo) as small tube pieces for regular to small sized instruments and large bamboo species (size of saucer in diameter) for the bigger sized instruments like the bajo (tuba/bass).
After selecting, the specific parts of the bamboo are cut to fit the need of an instrument. They are then prepared by sanding out unnecessary parts and treating the insides with varnish to avoid weevil infestation.
Soon after the treatment had dried up, the bamboo parts are structured together and undergo three layers of adhesives:
- Initially, the parts – inclusive of auxiliary parts – are joined with
- Once dried, the structure is reinforced with Mighty Bond. Sometimes small bamboo sheets or sticks are used to strengthen specific spots.
- The joints are covered with Epoxy to fully strengthen the
After the Epoxy has dried up, the excess is sanded off to provide aesthetic look for the finished instrument. Sometimes, if deemed necessary, certain areas are given another layer of adhesive. Once done, the whole instrument is protected with a layer of varnish.
For instrument making process and design patent concerns, the table below describes the innovative technique/s that Sir Rod had applied in his craft:
|General Bumbong Instruments
Obando – Banda Santa Clara
|Made of bamboo
Originally, all instruments were made of straight bamboo cuts, having varying sizes and lengths depending on the
|Took shape with the use of
carabao horn as reed, and tin can
The most unique methods that Sir Rod utilized in producing the instruments are as follows:
1) Use of varnish to protect instruments from infestation.
2) Use of the trilevel adhesion method (rugby, mighty bond, and epoxy).
3) Use of rattan for
the bells of specific
instruments using them.
|Instruments began taking shape similar to their brass band counterparts with use of kazoo as primary
producer of sound
|Like all instruments in the ensemble, took shape into their brass band counterparts with the spit type
Aside from the innovations presented in the table above, some notable features of the bamboo musical instruments of Banda Santa Clara are the keys attached in the instruments like those in French Horns which do not really have any function but as accessories for performative purposes. They are made of button-shaped plastic attached to spring mechanisms to make them realistically look like their counterparts.
THE INSTRUMENTS AND THEIR ROLES
The ensemble of Banda Santa Clara Musikong Bumbong can be categorized under three methods of sound production: 1) Pitched Instruments, 2) Spit-type (like in brass instruments), and 3) Kazoo-based or Buzz Membrane. Due to the limitations of majority of the instruments, they play songs that are usually in or are transposed to the key of C Major. The table below helps to explain the methods of sound production, range, and role of each instrument in the ensemble.
|Method of Sound Production
|Role in the Ensemble
– A kiss-flute method where a reed is fixed on the instrument
– Pitch is manipulated by covering holes
c1 to c3
(2 octaves) but can be higher if advanced
– Using the carabao horn as reed and tin can as resonator
– Pitch of the sound produced is manipulated by covering holes.
Range depends on
the performer. Instrument can make clear sound
from a to a2
|Flute & Transverse Flute
Lead / 2nd Voice
|Lead / 2nd Voice
|2nd / 3rd Voice
|2nd / 3rd Voice
Similar to brass instruments,
The pressure of air
affects resultant pitch
|Between G to A (Overtone Possible)
|Ostinato Response to Bass
|Between C to D (Overtone Possible)
|Down Beat Keeper
|For Emphasis Parts
|Membrane and Rim Striking
Time Keeper, Signals the Band