MUSIKONG BUMBONG OF ANGONO, RIZAL
Excerpt from the BMI Ethnography of Angono’s Musikong Bumbong
“Musikong Bumbong: Musika Kawayan of Angono, Rizal” By Juliet R. Bien
DESCRIPTION OF THE INSTRUMENTS
A. French horn
Simulating a brass French horn, the musikong bumbong prototype has the following measurements: length 20 inches, width 17 inches, height 3 inches, diameter of biggest barrel 2 inches, and valve 5 inches. It has three valve levers interconnected side by side by a 7-inch bamboo dowel. The “fake” mechanism rests on a lead pipe which coils around the body of the instrument spanning 51 centimeters. From the valves, the coiled pipe passes through a 3-inch bamboo connector with an approximate diameter of 1 inch. The pipe is then attached to the bigger vertical pipe (17 inches length and 3 inches diameter) which is the opening of the instrument. The air column spans the length of the mouthpiece traversing towards the main vertical chamber. The sound mechanism does not include the valves and the coiled pipes. The tone is produced through the transverse pipe towards the vertical chamber. The end pipe is slashed with 7-inch incisions to produce a buzzing sound. The end pipe functions as the bell valve. Unlike the brass French horn and the musikong bumbong instruments in other towns like Bulacan, the bumbong version of Angono’s Musikang Kawayan does not have a bell.
The trombone prototype is a composite of the main body and its removable slide. Like the other bumbong instruments, the bamboo design is a simulation of a brass trombone. The air is blown through the mouthpiece channeled towards the tip of the instrument, with the slide as decoration. The buzzer takes the place of the bell and the bell valve. The measurements are as follows: length (with unstretched slide) 42 inches, length of removable slide 24 inches, mounting rod for the removable slide 13 inches, total length of removable slide curved pipe 51 inches, removable slide brace 4 inches, length of main body 55 inches, incised buzzer 4 inches, main air chamber 19 inches, and airpipe diameter 1.75 inches.
The sound is produced by blowing the air through a detachable funnel shaped mouthpiece carved from a piece of wood. The platform supports the main body of the instrument and holds the parallel rods from which the removable slide is mounted. The air column chamber traverses down to the left and curves toward the bell cylinder. The sound passes through a series of bamboo pipes with various lengths: a medium- sized vertical 7-inch chamber, a small U-shaped 8-inch pipe, 0.5 inch connected to a 2-inch medium sized joints, and a 28-inch barrel with a 2-inch diameter.
The removable slide consists of an elongated deep and narrow U-shaped bamboo pipe spanning 55 inches supported by two braces on both ends. The braces consist of a medium sized bamboo cylinder and a smaller pipe which are located closer to the mouthpiece and towards the end of the instrument, respectively. This mechanism is randomly slid and does not produce musical sounds. During performance, the slide is moved randomly as an imitation of how trombones are played in the brass band.
The trumpet is a singular piece of instrument with the following measurements: length 22 inches, width 7 inches, height approximately 5 inches, total length when uncoiled 56 inches, thickest diameter 1.25 inches. From the mouthpiece, the lead pipe loops into a curved body which consists of three interconnected bamboo pipes imitating the outline of a brass trumpet. The three parallel 7-inch valves strung together by a bamboo rod is mounted into the loop by two 5-inch braces on the left and right sides with a distance of two inches from the valves.
A narrow bamboo pipe is curved connecting the straight barrels towards the outlet. The largest pipe with a diameter of 1.25 inches takes the place of the bell. Like the other instruments of the set, the end pipe is a cylindrical piece of bamboo and incised towards the end to produce a buzzing sound. Air is simply blown into the mouthpiece and adjusted by the musician’s lips according to the repertoire. The valves are randomly played to imitate trumpet-playing in the Western brass band tradition.
The largest instrument in the collection, the euphonium consists of two vertical pipes supported by two horizontal braces. The three valves constructed parallel to each other are connected by narrow pipes looping its way towards the lead pipe simulating the design of a brass euphonium. The measurements are as follows: longer vertical pipe right side 29 inches, horizontal beams 13 inches, shorter vertical pipe 14 inches, width 12 inches, length of coiled frame 50 inches, valves 7 inches, finger stop diameter 0.25 inches, and end pipe diameter 3 inches. The euphonium is the only instrument with a finger stop bored through the lower corner of the larger vertical pipe at the opposite side from its player.
The simulation of its brass counterpart is done by constructing the coiled mechanism on top of the larger pipes functioning as the main frame supporting the valves and the coils. From the mouthpiece, the sound is produced passing through the horizontal beam, then through the curved pipe at its end as it connects to the end pipe. Like the rest of the instruments, the bell is replaced by the end pipe incised with 7-inch slits and produces a buzzing sound. The tones are refined by adjusting the finger stop. The rest of the coiled mechanism and the valves are not functional. Like the rest of the instruments, they are designed to imitate the brass euphonium but do not produce any sound.
The instrument’s “aesthetic look” consists of the valves and the coils mounted on the bigger pipes. Between the first and the second valve, a narrow bamboo pipe is curved to form a U-shaped pipe towards the body of the shorter vertical pipe. A bigger U-frame enclosing the valves is constructed approximately two inches on the left side of the first valve whose end is attached to a bigger vertical pipe attached to the smaller vertical supporting pipe frame. A curved enclosure is completed by a U-shaped narrow pipe connected to the lead pipe.