Rupa Suara 03: Bebalu Bajang (Young Widow) – Selober Mouth Harp, Lombok

(Recordings by Palmer Keen and Jo Lamont, Mixed and Mastered by Jo himself)

Photo: Aural Archipelago documentation

New Composition and sound design by Iman Fattah

Location: Pengadangan, Pringgasela District, East Lombok

Sound: Selober (also spelled slober)

*Note: this is an audio focused composition with lots of details, headphones or decent speaker is advised.


Unlike most of the world’s mouth harps, the selober can’t be played alone. The instruments are played in pairs, with one selober called mama (male, confusingly!) and one called nina (female.) This minimal pair plays melodies constructed from the combined harmonics of both instruments, with the higher-pitched mama playing the notes Sasak call dang and ding (equivalent, the musicians explained, to the solfège la and re) and the nina contributing deng, dong, and dung (sol, do, and mi.) By threading these notes together, a duo can play melodies taken from the gamelan klentang repertoire, with each note corresponding to one of the five tones in klentang’s scale (penggede, ceroncong, gegonteng, pengempat, and pengelima, at least in Pringgasela.

Source and full detail: here


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