- Andrew C. McGraw
Plucked zither of Timor and Roti, Indonesia. Several strings, traditionally made of civet cat gut but nowadays of steel, are affixed along a bamboo tube typically about 7 to 13 cm in diameter and 45 cm long. Modern instruments are larger. Tuning pegs, made of bamboo or nowadays often of metal, pass through the tube at the top; movable wooden bridges support most of the strings. Dried palm leaves are sewn together and affixed at the top and the bottom of the tube to form a resonating shell that nearly encloses the tube. These leaves can be folded together fanlike to expose the tube. The instrument rests in the seated, cross-legged player’s lap with the opening of the resonator facing the player. All ten fingers pluck the strings. A metal or palm-leaf plectrum can be attached to the thumbs. By pressing the string segments beyond the bridge, the player can raise the pitch to create melodic ornaments....