Rebab [rebab tiga tali]
- Patricia Matusky
Three-stringed spike fiddle of the Malay community in Peninsular Malaysia. The wooden spike runs through the body and protrudes about 10 cm from the bottom to support the instrument when it is played, resting on the floor. The wooden body is roughly rectangular (about 25 cm high, 18 cm wide at the top end, and 6 to 8 cm deep) and has a belly made from the lining of a cow’s stomach; the belly supports a loose bridge near the upper edge. On the upper left side of the belly a knob of wax is attached that slightly mutes the sound. The back is covered with colourful strands of cloth and yarn. The unfretted neck (about 64 cm long) has an ornately carved bamboo-shoot design at the top end. Surmounting the neck is an elaborately carved finial (about 45 cm long) also with bamboo-shoot designs and geometrical shapes painted in bright colours. Overall, the instrument is about 1.2 metres long. Its ornately carved wooden bow has a string of fine nylon (formerly coconut fibre was used) and its tension is controlled by the player’s fingers on the string. The ...