This instrument is significant to the Museum's collection as it is representative of music making and instrument making in the Philippines, in Southeast Asia, as well as being an example of the type of instrument that traditional music is played on.
A variety of long necked plucked string lutes, which are called by different names, are found in the southern Philippines; this lute is known as a kudyapi or a kusyapi. Some can also be differentiated from particular regions by slight variations in their construction. Instruments from the island of Palawan are noted by having their frets on the front of the neck whereas lutes from other areas can have frets on the sound board. Played by plucking its two strings, one used as a drone and the other for the melody, this family of instruments is used in both solo playing and in small ensembles with zithers, flutes and fiddles.
This instrument also helps to explain the passing on of traditional techniques of instrument making and the use of local materials. More broadly the kudyapi can be used to show links between the other types of long necked plucked string instruments used in many cultural groups both within the Philippines and throughout the world. Although musical instruments from other cultures within Asia are represented in the Museum's collection they largely focus on Korea, Japan and China. This example from the Philippines, in Southeast Asia, helps to describe aspects of musical performance and the role of music in a culture outside of Australia and its role in local music-making, festivals and rituals.
Corazon Canave-Dioquino; "Philippine Musical Instruments" on Philippines National Commission For Culture and the Arts website,
J Maceda, L Orosa Goquingco & LR Kasilag; "The Philippines" in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, S. Sadie (ed.) (Macmillan, London, 1980, Vol.14 pp.631-652).
Ramon P Santos; "Traditional Forms Of Music" on Philippines National Commission For Culture and the Arts website,
Curator, music & musical instruments