Posted by: iqbibal | November 5, 2009



Kacapi is a zither-like Sundanese musical instrument played as the main accompanying instrument in the Tembang Sunda or Mamaos Cianjuran, kacapi suling (tembang Sunda without vocal accompaniment) genre (called kecapi seruling in Indonesian), pantun stories recitation or an additional instrument in Gamelan Degung performance.

Word kacapi in Sundanese also refers to santol tree, from which initially the wood is believed to be used for building the zither instrument.

According to its form or physical appearance, there are two kinds of kacapis:

  1. Kacapi Parahu (=Boat Kacapi) or Kacapi Gelung ; and
  2. Kacapi Siter

The Kacapi Parahu is a resonance box with an uncovered underside to allow the sound out. The sides of this kind of kacapi are tapered inward from top to bottom, which gives the instrument a boat-like shape. In ancient times, it was made directly from solid wood by perforating it.

The Kacapi siter is a plan-parallel resonance box. Similar to the kacapi parahu, its hole is located at the bottom. The upper and bottom sides of it form a trapezium-like shape.

For both kinds of kacapi, each string is affixed to a small screw or peg on the top right hand side of the box. They can be tuned in different systems: pelog, sorog/madenda, or slendro.

Nowadays, the resonance box of kacapi is made by glueing six wood-plates side by side.

The kacapi is traditionally played by sitting cross-legged on the floor. Thus the strings are about 25 cm above the floor. Nowadays the kacapi is sometimes placed on a wooden frame, so that the player can sit on a chair. If the kacapi indung is played while sitting on the floor, usually a pillow or some other small object is placed under its left hand side, as seen from the player, so that the sound can freely escape through the resonance hole in the bottom of the soundbox. Some kecapi are fitted with small feet, so that it is not necessary to lift them in this way.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: