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date: 14 November 2019


  • Patricia Matusky


(1) Oboe of Peninsular Malaysia. The slightly conical body is carved from wood and has seven fingerholes and a thumbhole. A removable bell is usually carved with bamboo shoot or flower designs and painted in bright colors, while the top end of the body (above the first fingerhole) is also ornately carved and painted with the bamboo shoot design. A slightly conical metal staple about 6 cm long is inserted into the upper opening. Surrounding the staple is a metal disk or pirouette about 3 to 4 cm in diameter, called caping, against which the player’s lips rest. A quadruple reed is cut from the dried leaf of the palmyra (lontar) palm tree in the shape of a small fan. The reed layers are tied together at their base with string. The player uses circular breathing so that the melody, once begun, does not cease until the piece ends. This technique allows for long, unbroken lines of highly ornate melody that sometimes last more than five minutes....

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Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society