Project Description

The SOMPOTON is an aerophone, and a wonderful Sabahan local musical instrument. It is constructed from a dried gourd and eight bamboo pipes arranged in a double-layered raft. A small lamella of polod palm (like a tiny bungkau) is inserted in the side of each sounding pipe near its base. The pipes are fitted into a hole on one side of the gourd and sealed with bees wax. The lamellae lie inside the gourd and provide the sound of the completed instrument. The pipes are bound with thin strands of rattan, whereby one of the pipes has no sound; it is merely there to balance the bundle. By blowing and sucking the gourd’s mouth, the player can produce a soft-sweet harmonious and continuous sound, not unlike the bagpipe. The sompoton can be played as a solo instrument for personal entertainment or in groups to accompany dancing. It is popular among the Kadazandusun, but variations of the sompoton can be found almost everywhere in Borneo, and other parts of South-East Asia.