Sompoton [sompotan, sumpoton]
- Laurence Libin
Free-reed mouth organ of Sabah, Malaysia, common in all but the east-coast Muslim areas. It has eight bamboo pipes arising in two conjunct rows of four from a rectangular slot in a gourd windchest, to which they are affixed with beeswax. The neck of the gourd serves as the blowpipe. Sound is produced by blowing and sucking. Seven of the pipes are fitted with bamboo or palm reeds; the eighth is mute. Four of the sounding pipes are controlled by a fingerhole in each; the other three are controlled by stopping or opening the top of the pipe. Instruments as short as 16 cm (typically about 32 cm) are held with the pipes pointing upwards; longer ones (up to 1 metre) are played with the pipes pointing diagonally or downwards. The sumpoton is usually played alone for personal entertainment but nowadays sometimes in ensembles. See also Engkerurai , Khāēn , Sheng, Shō...