10 Amazing Musical Instruments In Tagalog

Are you interested in learning about the common musical instruments in Tagalog and how they are performed? In today’s post, I’ll introduce you to some traditional instruments in the Philippines that have had a big effect on the classic melodies from the country. If you are ready for that, then let’s get started!


Filipino Music

Filipinos are well-known for their love of music. They are popular for their performances on international stages and singing Karaoke in barrios and neighborhoods during fiestas and special occasions. Apart from singing, Filipinos are adept at playing musical instruments, particularly traditional ones.

Although the Original Pilipino Music (OPM) has embraced western culture and music in recent years, Filipinos have continued to retain the ancestral genre of music through traditional instruments.

These traditional instruments are influenced by and related to other Southeast Chinese and Oceanian instruments. Gong rings, bamboo aerophones, bamboo xylophone, drums, harp, guitar, and other instruments are examples of traditional instruments.

Are you curious about Tagalog musical instruments and how they are played? Some of the traditional instruments in the country are listed below.

10 Traditional Musical Instruments In Tagalog

10 Traditional Musical Instruments In Tagalog

Libbit, Sulibao O Kimbal (Conical Drum)

These conical drums are almost always played in the Cordillera as part of a larger ensemble of flat gongs (gangsa). The drummer sits down with the drum resting diagonally beneath his arms, enough for him to play the small head with both palms in a syncopated rhythm that sets it apart from the other musical instruments.

Gambal O Gadang (War Drums)

The gambal or gadang are war drums that are played to increase a warrior’s motivation to win and prepare them for war. It’s composed of hollowed-out wood logs with deerskin for drumheads. It is not performed alone but with the accompaniment of gongs.

Kaleleng (Nose Flute)

A kalaleng is a bamboo nose flute from the Philippines. A kalaleng is normally around two feet long, with holes cut on the side to be stopped by the fingertips that make the sounds. The player covers one nostril with cotton and blows through a small hole cut at the end of the tube from the other.

Paldong (Lip Valley Flute)

The instrument is made of bamboo, and its upper edge is cut obliquely from the underneath and somewhat from the front side. The paldong features four fingerholes, three in front and one behind open on both ends. The player’s bottom lip is forced against the cut-away surface.

Serenades, courting females, leisure, and passing the time are all done with the paldong.

Bungkaka (Bamboo Buzzer)

Bungkaka is a bamboo percussion (idiophone) instrument played by various indigenous communities in the Philippines, including the Ifugao, Kalinga, and Ibaloi.

A buho (bamboo) length with a node at one end is used to make the instrument. The upper portion is designed in such a way that two tongues face each other, while the lower portion functions as a resonator chamber.

 Kulintang (Gongs)

Kulintang, is made up of eight knobbed bronze gongs with graded pitches. It is supported by a wooden stand known as an antangan. To let the sound reverberate, each gong is supported by thin cords linked to the antangan.

Kulintang music is performed during festivals, weddings, engagement parties, and baptisms, as well as in musical contests. The famous Kulintang ensemble in the Philippines is the Maguindanaoan Kulintang Ensemble.

Tongatong (Bamboo Stamping Tubes)

Tongatong is a percussion instrument composed of various lengths of bamboo found in the Philippines’ Kalinga province. It is executed by slamming it on the ground.

The tongatong has traditionally been performed by the Kalinga people to communicate with spirits, primarily as part of healing traditions.

Saronay (Tuned Knobbed Metal Plates)

It is a metallophone comprised of eight tuned knobbed metal plates strung together and hung on a frame. The saronay is typically used as a practice instrument, especially by youngsters, before progressing to the kulintang, or knobbed gongs.

Gabang (Bamboo Xylophone)

Gabang is a bamboo-based musical instrument popular in the southern Philippines. It is often used as a solo instrument or in collaboration with the biola to accompany songs and dances among the Tausugs and Samas.

Kudyapi (Freeted Boat Lute)

The kutiyapi, often spelled kudyapi, is a two-string fretted boat-lute from the Philippines. It is four to six feet long and contains nine frets made of dried beeswax. The instrument is constructed from strong softwood such as the jackfruit tree wood.


Other Musical Instruments In Tagalog

Tagalog InstrumentsEnglish Word
panghilisbow or string rod
torotot o trumpetathrumpet


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Do you want to improve your Tagalog vocabulary? I encourage you to download the Ling App. This app will assist you in learning and mastering your chosen language by delivering free courses and resources.

The Ling app is a user-friendly language learning app available on both the website and mobile devices. This excellent language application helps you widen your vocabulary in your target language. You can also master Tagalog by reading our informative blog articles, such as telling the time in Tagalog, common words for sports, and basic cooking terms in Tagalog.

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