- Margaret J. Kartomi
Plucked lute of the Toba Batak area of North Sumatra, varying in length between about 50 and 80 cm. Its carved boat-shaped wooden soundbox is about 8 to 10 cm wide at its maximum and has a slender integral neck and a long narrow soundhole at the rear. Its two metal strings extend from tuning pegs at each side of the pegbox to pins in a block of wood (serving as a fixed bridge) near the lower end of the wooden soundtable. The top of the pegbox might bear a carving, usually of a human face or body, and some rare antique examples feature eyes of silver. In performance the hasapi is held horizontally across the player’s body, with the pointed tail placed in the crook of the right (plucking) arm. Reportedly, the soundhole can be moved closer or farther from the player’s body, altering the timbre. Two hasapi are used in an ensemble to play ...