The takumbo is a parallel-stringed tube zither made from bamboo, and is found in the Philippines. It is made from a heavy bamboo tube about 40 cm long, with both ends closed with a node. Two strands of strings, about 5 cm apart, are partially etched out from the body of the bamboo. Small wooden bridges are inserted beneath the strings at both ends. At the center of the bamboo tube, below the strings, a small hole is bored. The small hole is covered with a bamboo plate clipped to the strings.

Takumbo (Bukidnon)
A Takumbo from the Philippines.
String instrument
Other namesBambam (Isneg), Pasing (Isneg), Tambi (Kalinga), Tabenbbeng (Ayta Magkunana), Kudlong (Hanunuo), Katimbok (Manobo), Tabobo (Manobo), Tabobok (Subanon), Thambobok (Subanon), Patigunggung (Batak)
Classification String instrument
Hornbostel–Sachs classification312.11
(Simple chordophone or zither)
Related instruments
  • plucked and struck string instruments

Playing Techniques

In playing takumbo, the musician can either strike the center plate or the string, or he can also pluck the string with his fingers (Batak). The instrument can be also played by striking the body of the bamboo.

Instrument Variations

The takumbo instrument, with slight variations, is also found in northern Luzon (Isneg. Bambam, Pasing, Kalingga, Tambi; in Zambales (Ayta Magkunana. Tabenbbeng; in Mindoro (Hanunuo, Kudlong ; in Mindanao (Manobo Katimbok), Tabobo ; Subanun Tabobok, Thambabok); and in Palawan (Batak, Patigunggung). The Subanun instrument has an opening on the upper node which the player covers and uncovers while performing. The Subanun play the thambabok mainly for self-entertainment and relaxation.

Parallel-Stringed Half-Tube Zither

The bamboo half-tube zither found among the Ifugao is called Tadcheng, Tedcheng, Gacheng, or Ayudding It has two to four strings which, depending on the style of playing, are plucked with the fingers or struck with small bamboo sticks. Boys and men play the tadcheng for entertainment, often tapping rhythms patterned after those played on the gongs.[1]

See also


  1. C. Dioquinio. (2008) Philippine Bamboo Instruments. Humanities Diliman (January - December 2008), Vol. 5, No. 1 & 2, Pages 101-113. http://journals.upd.edu.ph/index.php/humanitiesdiliman/article/view/1484, accessed 04 September 2011.
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