Definitions

changing note

Suling

A suling is an Indonesian/Philippine flute made out of bamboo. It is used in gamelan ensembles.

Depending on the regional genre, a suling can be tuned into different scales. Sulings can be found in the following regions:

Suling parts

Sulings are made mainly of 'tamiang' bamboo (Schizostachyum blumei, Nees), a long tube bamboo with a which has very thin surface. The head of suling, near a small hole, is circled with a thin band made of rattan or rotan to produce air vibration.

Playing a suling

There are two factors that affect a fine suling's tone:

  1. Fingering position.
  2. Speed of the airflow blown by the mouth.

The fingering position changes the wavelength of sound resonance inside the suling's body. Depending on the distance of nearest hole to the suling's head, different notes can be produced. The airflow speed also can modify the tone's frequency. A note with twice frequency can be produced mostly by blowing the air into suling's head's hole with twice speed.

Special effects

  • Slur, is dynamically changing note from one tone position to another position without stopping the airflow. For example, changing from 5 to 4, 4 to 5, 2 to 1 etc.
  • Puruluk, (Sundanese term) is an effect produced by a-repeatedly-fast opening-and-closing of suling's hole by one or more fingers. The produced sound is similar to voice of a pigeon. The easiest puruluk can be produced by opening and closing mid-finger as shown by the following picture:
  • In Sundanese technique, there are other known effects such as wiwiw, keleter, lelol, gebos, petit, jengkat, and betrik.

Sundanese suling

In the Sundanese region, a suling is used as:

Tuning

Sulings can have either 4 holes or 6 holes. The 6-holed Sundanese suling can play at least three different scales.

  • Pelog Degung: da mi na ti la da [1 2 3 4 5 1],
    nearly corresponds to do si sol fa mi do [1' 7 5 4 3 1] in the Western diatonic scale.
  • Madenda or Sorog: da mi na ti la da [1 2 3 4 5 1],
    nearly similar to fa mi do si la fa [4’ 3’ 1’ 7 6 4] in the Western diatonic scale.
  • Salendro: da mi na ti la da [1 2 3 4 5 1],
    nearly similar to re do la sol fa re [2’ 1’ 6 5 4 2] in the Western diatonic scale.
  • Mandalungan: a rarely used scale

The following picture shows the fingering for a six-holed Sundanese suling.

And below is the example of 'more realistic' view of finger positioning for the pelog degung scale.

Famous Sundanese suling players

  • Endang Sukandar, 1996 2nd Winner of International Festival of Wind Instruments in Seoul, South Korea
  • Burhan Sukarma
  • Uking Sukri

Maguindanaon suling

Also called suling by the Tausug, Yakan, B'laan and Tiruray. Other names for the suling include the lantey (Ata), kinsi (Bukidnon), dagoyong (Higanon) and a babarak (Palawan)

The Maguindanaon suling is the smallest bamboo flute of the Maguindanaon and the only one classified as a ring-flute (the other two bamboo flutes of the Maguindanaon, the tumpong and the palendag are both lip-valley flutes). Air is passed through the suling via a blowing hole found at the bottom of the instrument and pitch is controlled via five finger holes on the top and one finger hole located on the bottom. Traditionally only the palendag was commonly played but because of the difficult nature of playing the palendag, both the tumpong and the suling have come to replace the palendag as the Maguindanaon’s most common aerophones.

References

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