Getting to know Sasando Musical Instruments from Rote Island

Getting to know Sasando Musical Instruments from Rote Island

Sasando musical instrument is one of the stringed musical instruments. Like the violin, guitar, or kentrung, the sasando has strings that run between the two ends. From the vibrating strings comes a beautiful sound. Sasando or sasandu in the Rote language means the sound of a repeating vibration or a vibrating or sounding instrument.

One of the things that makes this stringed instrument more famous is when the image of sasando is used as an image of the rupiah currency. The image of Sasando was once used in the 5000 rupiah denomination issued in 1992. This money was valid for 24 years later.

The Origin of Sasando

There are at least 4 versions of the origin story of Sasando. The four stories can be accessed on the Ministry of Education and Culture’s website for the cultural info section. The variety of versions of the origin story of Sasando is probably due to the variety of story sources.

No one has yet been able to prove which story is closest to the truth.

  1. Sasando, Sangguana for the Princess

The first story that circulated was that Sasando was created by Sangguana, a royal servant who loved music. This young man asked the princess to make a unique musical instrument.

The Princess wanted a musical instrument that did not exist in the world. Then he got this Sasando inspiration from a dream, which he then tried to make the original.

  1. Lumilang and Balialang

The second story is about sasando found by Lumbilang and Balialang. Two sheep herders who found Sasando accidentally. They are captivated by the sound made when they use palm leaves as a means of fetching water.

When the leaf is tightened, the rope connecting the two ends makes a sweet sound.

  1. Lunggi and Beam Ama

Third, is the story of Lunggi and Balok Ama. Two friends who initially used palm leaves as a tool for tapping palm wine. When arranging these leaves, the threads used for tightening create a melodious sound. Then developed into Sasando.

  1. Soroba Fertilizer

Fourth is the story of Pupuk Soroba, which says the making of sasando was inspired by spiders. Because this animal plays with its thread-like nest and makes a sweet sound.

He developed a desire to make musical instruments with a twang of sound. Then after various experiments, become the sasando that is known today.

Sasando that we meet today has undergone many modifications from the original version. As the strings add, the more notes that can be played.

Also now available electronic sasando, so that not only manual musical instruments are available.

Sasando Specifications

Sasando consists of three main components: haik, bamboo and strings. Haik is made of woven palm leaves as a container for the resonance of the sound of the clinking of the strings. The strings are stretched from one end of the bamboo to the other, surrounding the bamboo, which is supported by a senda (support).

The bamboo in the sasando is left in the form of a tube, only mashed and not given a hole. Because the function of this bamboo is to support the strings, not add sound.

Each string has a different pitch to the other strings. So like a guitar or violin, when plucked it creates a certain beautiful rhythm.

The Uniqueness of Sasando Musical Instruments

The sound generated from Sasando has a characteristic. Besides being traditional, this instrument has a pentatonic tone in the strains it creates. There is a story that says that in the past the sasando strings were made from civet intestines which were then dried. Currently, there are a variety of sasando with various numbers of strings.

Everyone who first saw the sasando would say that this musical instrument is unique. Both from the shape and the sound it makes. So it is appropriate to be immortalized in the hearts of the Indonesian people by using it as an image in rupiah currency. However, it is not enough to keep Sasando as a cultural heritage.

The existence of sasando pickers is now increasingly rare. In fact, many foreigners are learning how to play sasando. So if this situation continues, one day the Indonesian people will have to learn to pick sasando from foreigners.


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