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Sasando : An Unique Traditional Music Instrument of Rote Islands

Sasando is a stringed musical instrument or cordophone type musical instrument. It comes from Rote islands in East Nusa Tenggara province of Indonesia. Sasando word comes from Rote word sasandu, means vibrant instrument.

Ancient Sasando pictures
Ana Sanggu created the early shape of Sasando in the 15th century in a small island near the island of Rote, the Dana Island, which under controlled by  King Taka La'a. Sanggu is a citizen of Nusa Ti'i island,  Southwestern of Rote island. He was arrested by the King when stranded on the island while searching for fish with his friend, Mankoa. In addition to a fisherman, Sanggu also an artist.

The King at that time had a daughter who in love with Sanggu. To Sanggu, the Princess requests for a new instrument created by Sanggu to entertain her people when the moon is in full circle.

Sanggu then created the Sari Sando, an instrument that is vibrating when picked. As with seven ropes made from wooden roots. The Princess relationship with Sanggu was discovered by the King. Taka La'a was furious and then executed Sanggu.

Mankoa, Sanggu's friend who could escape, reported it to the Nusa Ti'i. Sanggu's son in Ti'i, Nale Sanggu, angry at his father death. Nale revenge with 25 knights of Ti'i. He destroyed the whole Dana island, only the children and musical instruments Sasando inherited from his father who rescued to Ti'i.

In Ti'i, Sasando was modified, the string added to nine. The music only consist of five notes mi, sol, la, do, re. Si and fa did not exist.

In the Dutch period, 18th century, the number of strings added to 10 strings. After independence again amended by adding a string to 11 string. In the 19th century, Sasando (Sasando haik) was modified into a violin by Ti'i son named Kornelis Frans. Called Sasando violin because when it created the tone is adjusted like the violin tone. Number of ropes become 39 pieces and the main tone become 7 notes. 

Sasando form is similar to other stringed instruments such as guitar, violin and harp. The main part of the long tubular Sasando commonly made from bamboo. Then in the middle, circling from top to bottom is placed some lumps in which the strings that stretched across the tube, from top to bottom resting. The wedge gives different tone to each passage of the string. Then this Sasando tube placed in a container made from a kind of woven palm leaves (Lontar leaves ) like a fan made. This container is the place of Sasando resonance.

Sasando player
The composition of the notation is irregular and you can not see it because it is wrapped. Sasando is played with both hands from the opposite direction. From left to right and left to right. Left hand plays the melody and bass, while right hand plays the accord. That makes Sasando unique because it could play the melody, bass, and accord at once. And the harmony is awesome.

Sasando's sound is very unique. Compare to guitar, Sasando's sound is more various. Sasando has 28 strings and it hard to play. Sasando player should have the ability to combine and make the right rythm and feeling from the whole strings. [source : Sasando]

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