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Know Our Music Batak Toba Instrument

VOI KNOW OUR MUSIC, GMT+7, 27-10-2015

welcome to KNOW OUR MUSIC, a weekly segment introducing you to Indonesian traditional music and musical instrument from across Indonesia. This week we’ll invite you to know more about some musical instruments from Batak Toba, North Sumatra province.

Toba or North Tapanuli in NorthSumatraProvince has some musical instruments, such as gondang sabangunan, gondang hasapi, and uning-uningan. Gondang Sabangunan is the biggest musical instrument in Toba. This musical instrument is played in big traditional ceremonies, while gondang hasapi is smaller than Gondang Sabangunan. There is also uning-uningan. Players of those instruments call pargonsi (read: pargocci). Besides those instruments, there are also supporting musical instruments. The Toba musical instruments consist of membranophone, Ideophone, Aerophone and cordophone. In today’s edition, we will introduce you to membranophone instruments. Membranophone instruments consist of Gordang, Taganing, and Odap. Gordang is Batak Toba’s drum or often called gondang or taganing. Gondang and taganing have similar shape but they have different sizes. Gordang is the biggest drum and put on the right side of the player. Gordang is usually played by one player using two sticks. Gordang is made from jackfruit wood which is perforated inside, then covered by cow leather on the top side and at the bottom as pegs to tighten the rope made from rattan. The players do not only strike the membrane, but also its sides to produce a certain rhythm repeatedly. Its rhythm is constant. Gordang is usually played together with taganing. Listener, let’s listen to North Tapanuli rhythm. 

Another musical instrument which includes the membranophone musical instrument is Taganing. Taganing is a melodic drum set which consists of 5 drums and hanged on a rack. Taganing has various sizes. The biggest one is put on the right of the rack. The size is getting smaller and has higher pitch on the left. Taganing is played by one or two persons using two sticks. Another musical instrument is Odap. Odap is a two-headed drum and has conical shape. Odap is also made from jackfruit wood and covered with cow leather and also tied with rattan. Odap is around 34 –37 cm high, with 26 centimeter diameter on the other side and 12 –14 cm diameter on another side.

To play odap, part of the drum is clamped with the leg, and then hit with a bat, so that odap produces sound ... dap, dap ..., dap ..., and so on. This instrument is also used in gondang sabangunan ensemble. Therefore, in the Batak community, the native of North Sumatra, the social status of the music player can be said to be higher and respected, because they always have a place higher than the public at a ceremony.  Listener, that was a glimpse of North Tapanuli instruments from North Sumatra province. Until next week with another edition of Know Our Music. Sampai jumpa.

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