Kolintang music instrument originated from Minahasa, a place in North Sulawesi, an island in the east part of Indonesia. It is made from light but solid local wood such as TELUR, BANDARAN, WENANG, KAKINIK whose fibre construction appears in parallel lines. It can produce a long sound which can reach high pitch note as well as low pitch note when struck.
The name Kolintang came from the sound: TONG (low pitch note), TING (high pitch note) and TANG (moderate pitch note). In the local language, the invitation "Let us do some TONG TING TANG" is: "Mangemo kumolintang". That settled the name of the instrument: KOLINTANG.
In its early days, Kolintang originally consisted of only a series of wooden bars placed side by side in a row on the legs of the players who would sit on the floor with both of their legs stretched out in front of them. Later on, the function of the legs was replaced either by two poles of banana trunk or by a rope which hung them up to a wooden plank. Story says that resonance box was beginning to be attached to this instrument after DIPONEGORO, a prince from Java who was exiled to Minahasa, brought along Javanese instrument GAMELAN with its resonance box, GAMBANG.
Kolintang had a close relationship with the traditional belief of Minahasa natives. It was usually played in ancestor worshipping rituals. That might explain the reason Kolintang was nearly totally left behind when Christianity came to Minahasa. It was so rarely played that it was nearly extinct for about a 100 year since then. It only reappeared after the World War II, pioneered by a blind musician NELWAN KATUUK, who reconstructed it accordingly to universal musical scales. Initially, there was only one kind of Kolintang instrument which was a 2 octave diatonical melody instrument. It was usually played with other string instruments such as guitar, ukulele or string bass as accompaniment.
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