The sape' (sampek, sambe', sapek) is a traditional lute of the Kenyah and Kayan community who live in the longhouses that line the rivers of East Kalimantan and North Kalimantan, Indonesia and Northern part of Sarawak, Malaysia. Sape' are carved from a single bole of wood, with many modern instruments reaching over a metre in length.
|Developed||Indonesia (East Kalimantan) |
Initially the sape was a fairly limited instrument with two strings and only three frets. Its use was restricted to a form of ritualistic music to induce trance. In the last century, the sape gradually became a social instrument to accompany dances or as a form of entertainment. Today, three, four or five-string instruments are used, with a range of more than three octaves.
Technically, the sape is a relatively simple instrument, with one string carrying the melody and the accompanying strings as rhythmic drones. In practice, the music is quite complex, with many ornamentations and thematic variations. There are two common modes, one for the men's longhouse dance and the other for the woman's longhouse dance. There also is a third rarely used mode. Sape music is usually inspired by dreams and there are over 35 traditional pieces with many variations. The overall repertoire is slowly increasing.
- "Sape'". (Indonesian)
- "Alat Musik Tradisional Sapek". (Indonesian)
- "Dentingan Sape' Meremukkan Tulang Belulang". (Indonesian)
- "Festival Crossborder Ikut Perkenalkan Sape, Alat Musik Tradisional Kalimantan". (Indonesian)
- News article about a woman who learned to play the Sapeh.
- Video of musical duo playing both Malayan gambus (oud) and Sape. Sape part starts at 42 seconds.