As a musical instrument, Talempong in Minangkabau has some functions. However, not all functions are equally treated by each nagari (mini republic).
According to Nursyirwan, S.Pd, M.Sn, for ritual matters, Talempong music is rarely performed. However, it is still maintained for ceremonies.
Besides, the Talempong still enlivens wedding ceremonies, carnival procession to accompany the Anak Daro couple to go down from Bako House or vice versa, Marapulai, go down from Bako House to the wedding venue. The music also enlivens inaugural ceremony of new Penghulu in the inauguration of Head of Kaum (Community Leader).
In several Nagaris, this Talempong also enlivens rice harvesting parties, bathing, aqiqah (Islamic baby welcoming tradition) and circumcision for children. “Meanwhile, for festivity, Talempong is performed during duck race event, kite competition, pig hunt, Independence Day, art and cultural festivals and funerals,” Nursyirwan explained on Monday (4/4) in his open doctoral exam at UGM Graduate School.
Maintaining a dissertation entitled Varian Teknik Penalaan Talempong Logam di Minangkabau (Variants of Tuning Technique of Metal Talempong in Minangkabau), Nursyirwan explained that Talempong is dominantly played by the male group of youth and elderly. Irrelevant to the matrilineal system in Minangkabau ethnic group, female group is also good in playing Talempong.
“In Talempong music, the women’s position has no connection with feminism because women in Talempong are not differentiated from men, the important thing is their skill,” said the lecturer of Music Department, Indonesia Institute of Arts of Padangpanjang.
Nursyirwan admitted that separation of woman’s role is often misinterpreted. The misinterpretation is often seen in the fact that woman is identical with ‘Domestic Woman’ (Wanita Rumahan). Meanwhile, in this modern era, many women in urban areas have different ‘functions’ from being a housewife. “So, there are many gender functions of women in public area which are not a strange thing anymore,” said the man born in Payakumbuh, 18 February 1967.
In conclusion of dissertation, Nursyirwan found two basic theories, namely, ‘variant five-tone scales’ which is identical with musical tradition of Minangkabau with distinctive dialect in form of limo salabuan sound, and ‘variant six-tone scales’ which is identical with musical tradition of Minangkabau with distinctive dialect in form of onam salabuan sound.
The basic theory that is found can be offered in Talempong duduak play with the number of salabuan limo, with the term of sound in each Talempong made according to the Minangkabau dialect,” said Nursyirwan who passed with very satisfying degree and became the 1360th doctor of UGM.