2- KHAEN - Mind-blowing melodies
The most interesting characteristic of kehen is its free reed, which is made of brass or silver. It is related to Western free-reed instruments such as the accordion, harmonica, harmonium, concertina and bandoneon, which were developed beginning in the 18th century from the Chinese Sheng, a related instrument, a specimen of which had been carried to St. Petersburg, Russia.
It has seven tones per octave, with intervals similar to that of the Western diatonic natural A-minor scale: A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. A khaen can be made in a particular key but cannot be tuned after the reed is set and the pipes are cut. If the khaen is played along with other instruments the others have to tune to the khaen.
A popular variant uses wind-chests made from dried calabash gourds. Known by different names across the region: dinh nam by the Rade community (Vietnam); naw by the Lahu, lachi by the Akha, fulu by the Lisu (Thailand); sompoton by the Kadazan-Dusun and Murut (Sabah, Malaysia); keluri, keledi or enkulurai by the Kayan and Kenyah (Borneo); and kadedek by the Kebahan (West Kalimantan, Indonesia).
The instrument called the "Kulintang" -consist of a row/set of 5 to 9 graduated pot gongs, horizontally laid upon a frame arranged in order of pitch with the lowest gong found on the player's left. The gongs are laid in the instrument face side up atop two cords/strings running parallel to the entire length of the frame, with bamboo/wooden sticks/bars resting perpendicular across the frame, creating an entire kulintang set called a "pasangan".
The gongs weigh roughly from two pounds to three pounds each, and have dimensions of 6 to 10 inches for their diameters and 3 to 5 inches for their height. Tradionally they were made from bronze but due to the disruption and loss of trade routes between the islands of Borneo and Mindanao during World War II, resulting in loss of access to necessary metal ores, and the subsequent post-war use of scrap metal, brass gongs with shorter decaying tones are now commonplace.
The main purpose for Kulintang music in the community is to function as social entertainment at a nonprofessional, folk level. This music is unique in that it is considered a public music in the sense everyone is allowed to participate. Not only do the players play, but audience members are also expected to participate. These performances are important in that they bring people in the community and adjacent regions together, helping unify communities that otherwise may not have interacted with one another. Traditionally, when performers play kulintang music, their participation is voluntary. Musicians see performances as an opportunity to receive recognition, prestige and respect from the community and nothing more.
Initially, the sape was a fairly limited instrument with two strings and only three frets. Its use was restricted to a from of ritualistic music to induce trance. In the last century, the sape gradually became a social instrument to accompany dances or as a form of entertainment. Today, three, four or five-string instruments are used, with a range of more than three octaves.
Technically, the sape is a relatively simple instrument, with one string carrying the melody and the accompanying strings as rhythmic drones. In practice, the music is quite complex, with many ornamentations and thematic variations. There are two common modes, one for the men's longhouse dance and the other for the woman's longhouse dance. There also is a third rarely used mode. Sape music is usually inspired by dreams and there are over 35 traditional pieces with many variations. The overall repertoire is slowly increasing.
Sape are still being made in Borneo, and modern innovations like electric sapes are common.