University of the Philippines Diliman

Researchers in the Philippines have developed the world’s first music synthesizer to recreate the sounds of five traditional bamboo instruments: the Kolitong (polychordal bamboo tube zither), Diwas (bamboo panpipes), Takumbo (parallel-stringed tube zither), Gabbang (bamboo xylophone) and Bungkaka (bamboo buzzer).

A team from the University of the Philippines Diliman built the synthesizer by analysing sound recordings of each instrument and then correlating them with the instrument’s physical properties — such as the length of a bar, tube or string. The music synthesizer includes a graphical interface that allows users to adjust an instrument’s physical parameters, set the pitch, and then hear and save the sound produced along with the corresponding physical parameters.

“As far as we know, our synthesizer is the only one specialising in bamboo musical instruments with these features,” says Jessa Rili, a member of the team.

The original goal of this project was to preserve the art of making bamboo instruments and to help raise awareness of their existence. “We are planning to make our software freely available for download – our target being elementary and secondary schools,” says Rili.

The team may eventually commercialize the synthesizer, but first more work is required to improve the usability of its graphical interface.

University of the Philippines Diliman



For further information contact:

Andrew Noel B. Aragon or Jessa Faye M. Rili
Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute, College of Engineering
University of the Philippines Diliman
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