Type: Aerophones > Flute > Duct.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.211.12
Area: Karo & Aceh North Sumatra.
Regions: South East Asia.
Description: The baluat is a narrow diameter end-blown duct flute, it is found in slight varieties in northern Sumatra, Indonesia. The instrument is most notably use by the Karo Mandailing and Toba Batak peoples of the province of North Sumatra. It is also use 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.
Construction: Both types narrow towards the bottom and have six small finger-holes 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.
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