Penting Traditional Musical Instrument, Ancient Art of Karangasem from Dutch Colonial Period

Penting Traditional Musical Instrument, Ancient Art of Karangasem from Dutch Colonial Period

Bali is indeed a unique and interesting region because they still maintain their cultural heritage along with traditions and customs. In fact, there are still many Balinese traditions need to be developed or minimally promoted in order not to become extinct and are no longer recognizable. Thus, it must be attempted to revive so that

Bali is indeed a unique and interesting region because they still maintain their cultural heritage along with traditions and customs. In fact, there are still many Balinese traditions need to be developed or minimally promoted in order not to become extinct and are no longer recognizable.

Thus, it must be attempted to revive so that they can be recognized again by the community. It is very unfortunate if the culture disappears from their society, so finding and revitalizing cultural heritages having been approaching extinction can also increase the cultural wealth belonging to Balinese people and surely it will have an impact on cultural tourism in Bali.

In general, the Balinese culture having not been recognized by Balinese people is very diverse. One of them is in the form of typical musical instrument of Karangasem. It is known as penting musical instrument.

According to A.A. Gede Krisna Dwipayana, a penting craftsman and troupe member of Merdu Komala Karangasem, it is based on the strings stretched from the tip to the base of the tool when picked will produce maklenting sound, so that it is better named as penting.

Furthermore, he said that similar musical instrument can also be found in Lombok named penteng. Then, in Banjarmasin it is named as anting, while in Japan it is known as Taishogoto. Nevertheless, he said that such penting musical instrument indeed originates from Bali precisely in Karangasem because the name of the parts uses Balinese vocabularies. In addition to the strings called pentang, there is also a resonance box that must have a hollow (pelawah) and special keys to produce tones known as pakocet. Besides, there are canten and pangiret as parts of the string regulator.

“After I searched for information and consulted to several higher priests having close relations to Karangasem palace, it turns out that penting art has emerged along with the art of cekepung, rebana and rudat in Karangasem. Moreover, during the Dutch colonial period, this kind of art was once staged in an art event called Ngeraja Kuning or similar to the current Bali Arts Festival (BAF) held to honor the Dutch King at that time,” he said.

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Furthermore, he said that condition of this art is unstable or facing ups and downs. After being observed, design of the tool and components are very simple. Then, he concluded that young generation is less interested to play it because it is designed like a box and still gives old-fashioned impression. Actually according to him, this art is unique and has the potential to become a typical art of Karangasem like jegog in Jembrana district.

Chief of Merdu Komala Penting art troupe of Karangasem, Wayan Widana, said that based on stories of his elders, before 1963 the musical instrument was rampant and trendy but faded after the eruption of Mount Agung. After that, it reappeared and dimmed in 1965 due to the Communist 30 September Movement (G30S/PKI) in Bali.

Then, it re-emerged but in the 1990s faded again as a result of the development of new entertainment media such as radio and TV so that people feel reluctant to learn it and many senior figures already died. Finally in the 2000s the penting art began to rise again marked by the establishment of this penting art troupe.

Widana further added that initially this penting musical instrument only used slendro musical scale. After further development, it finally becomes like the current one where it applies pelog scale and even seven-tone scale.

Uniqueness and advantages of this instrument, according to him, is rich in tone and having many patet (tonal hierarchical system) so that it can be used to accompany various types of gamelan music such as pegongan, angklungan, pejogedan, sadur and selonding. Moreover, it can also be used to accompany modern pop songs including national songs as it can also follow the seven tones.

“So, do not be surprised if this instrument is often played in Panca Yadnya rituals and its gamelan composition will be adjusted to the designation of the play, whether it is Dewa Yadnya, Pitra Yadnya, Manusa Yadnya, Rishi Yadnya or Bhuta Yadnya because this instrument is flexible and can be categorized into Panca Gita as well,” said Wayan Widana. (was)

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Stretch and Pangecet Played Together 

AS a traditional musical instrument, the type of music genre that can be played certainly becomes one of the important things. The no less important of a musical instrument is how to play it in order to produce a beautiful sound.

If it is not maximized, the instrument will be useless. This is also valid for penting musical instrument because other than having unique shape and producing distinctive sound, the most important is to be recognized and understood is the way or technique to play the instrument.

According to A.A. Gede Krisna Dwipayana, Bali basically has been familiar with percussion musical instrument such as two-sided drum (kendang), gender and so on, while the unique penting belongs to stringed instrument like guitar.

Thus, moving the concept or familiarizing ourselves from percussion to stringed musical instrument played using pangotek or pick on guitar and maximize it is surely not easy and needs to be familiarized. Maximizing the pangotek is rarely noticed by elderly penting player so that the gamelan composition presented with penting becomes imperfect.

In addition, the tetekepan or variation of the string plucking is usually missed because there is a technique of one-to-one plucking, some of which has three-time reciprocating, some are also turned-on and turned-off and there is even a plucking technique of turned on-turned-off and turned-on again. All the types of plucking must be mastered as the needs of the gamelan composition being played.

 “Unless familiarized and maximized, the sound produced will not become good. Moreover, the player cannot understand the types of tetekepan so the gamelan is unable to produce a good tone that should be beaten alternately,” he said.

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Apart from the kotekan and tetekepan, this musical instrument has other uniqueness namely at the same time when the right hand plucking the left hand is mandatory to play the keys like playing piano to produce a tone.

However, the uniqueness precisely becomes the hardest point because it must play ‘intact’ where when moving finger from one key to the next keys, the first tone may not still be pressed when it should have moved to the second tone. Otherwise, the tone will be mixed, like the dong sounds like deng.

Wayan Widana also said that the difficulty of playing this penting instrument is when looking for a tone by pressing the keys. This musical instrument should be placed sideways on the lap and simultaneously has to pluck the strings and move the fingers of the left hand like playing piano in order to get the desired tone.

He added the performance of this musical instrument is not necessarily played alone but must be paired with other musical instruments such as petuk, 2 pieces of kendang (two-sided drum), flute, lincik, gong tulu, kempur and so on. Of course, to adjust the tone of penting instrument to the other instruments in group needs to be trained continuously. This instrument belongs to traditional and modern one.

 It is said to be traditional because other than used to accompany gamelan composition, it is also included in the element of Panca Gita, while it is said to be modern because of being assisted with sound system so that it produces better and stronger sound and longer radius as well as uses 7-9 strings of guitar.

“In the past, before using guitar strings, it used the Vespa clutch string. Moreover, previously it is said to also use fishing lines. According to a senior figure, it once used the fiber of banana tree,” he said. (was)



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