THE MUSIC OF  SOUTHEAST ASIA:                                                                                                                                                                                         

                                                           >Home: Map<        Instruments             Videos             Articles             Links              Biography         Contact          Disclaimer                                      

Books + CDs

The flute Suling
The  bamboo flute "Suling" is another family name for a variety of flutes in different shapes, pitches and sizes. While the long white "Suling" of the "Tarling" and Gamelan ensembles are clearly distinguished by their two scales in "slendro" and "pelog" mode, the bigger "Suling" (see below) from Bali and other islands are free in scale.

The Suling plays along the core melody in the Gamelan. The player uses the circular breathing technique in order to produce a never ending sound. While the tonal range is limited to few notes, sometimes overblowing the flute creates another octave.

Richly ornamented and carved models are famous on the smaller islands. As the voice of a flute is believed to represent the voice of divine beings, the appearance of the flute sometimes tries to depict this demon or ghost.

In the "Tarling" chamber music, the Suling accompagnies the "sitar" zither.
This is the only solo tradition for this instrument.

Pictures (click to enlarge):


<- back to the list of instruments