Serunai

Serunai

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E-84-1-SERUNAIITS–The Serunai, in the Indian language “Sahnay” and in Persian “Surnay,” came to Indonesia through India. It is made of wood, a coconut shell, coconut leaves, lead, threads, and stalks of chicken feathers. It measures about 46 centimeters long, and has seven holes; all on the top in West Sumatra, whilein North Sumatra there are 6 holes on the top and one hole at the base. The melody it produces is pentatonic.

The Serunai is played by controlling the flow of air through the holes and getting a pitch by closing particular holes with the fingers. A reed called, pipit, is made from small coconut leaves is placed at the mouth of the instrument, which is translated to “Serunai’s tongue”. The other is hung and kept as a reserve.

In the past, it was played to accompany soldiers as they marched. Today this wood clarinet, called by the Batak people a Sarune, is used to accompany songs in an ensemble which involve many other traditional instruments.

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