Sape [sapeh, sambe, sampeh, sampeq]
- Patricia Matusky
[sapeh, sambe, sampeh, sampeq]
Plucked lute of Sarawak, Malaysia. This lute is traditionally played by men in the Kenyah, Kayan, Kelabit, and other interior groups of Sarawak, and nowadays it is played in many other communities throughout the state. The boat-shaped body is carved from a large aro tree trunk, and sometimes a pair of sape are carved from the same trunk if it is large enough. The body is an elongated, slightly convex rectangular box (1 metre or more in length) with a very short integral neck. The back is left open, and the front surface is often highly decorated with traditional designs. Formerly the neck was longer, the body was slightly wider, and only two fine rattan strings were used, but today four metal strings are usually found and sometimes an electric amplifier is connected to the body. All strings run parallel to the body and neck, and the single melody-producing string runs over nine to 13 moveable frets (...