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date: 06 December 2019

Baluat [belobat]locked

  • Margaret J. Kartomi
  • , revised by Gini Gorlinski



Narrow end-blown duct flute, found in slightly varied types in northern Sumatra, Indonesia. The instrument is used most notably by the Karo Mandailing and Toba Batak peoples of the province of North Sumatra, but also by the Gayo and Alas peoples of Aceh. Two types of baluat are distinguished in the Karo area: the baluat pingko-pingko and the baluat gendek. The relatively soft-toned baluat pingko-pingko is made from a bamboo tube usually 30 to 50 cm long and 1 to 2 cm wide at the top. The louder baluat gendek is about 24 cm long and 2 cm wide. Both types narrow towards the bottom and have six small fingerholes about 2 cm apart, sometimes with the third and sixth holes larger than the others. A bamboo or wooden block inserted into the top forms a small duct that directs the breath onto the sharp edge of a V-shaped opening cut just below the block. The lower end of the flute is usually cut at a node, which serves to strengthen the instrument. A small hole is made in the node. The ...

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