Guoto: The Authentic Chordophone Musical Instrument from West Papua

West Papua
Sumber : Kompas

Papua and West Papua have undeniably enriched with their authentic cultural arts. Dances, songs, and musical instruments are those which add the diversity of the precious traditional culture and arts. Tifa might be one of the most popular traditional musical instruments originated from West Papua, but do you know about Guoto?

Guoto is another unique musical instrument that is made of unique materials and played for only certain occasions. Here are some highlights about the instrument you can follow.

West Papua
Sumber : Grid

What Guoto Is Made of

If we’re talking about the traditional musical instrument from Papua and West Papua, one instrument that may come into mind is highly possibly Tifa. However, these provinces still have numerous other instruments to enrich their cultural arts; let’s say Guoto is one of them.

You may not be familiar with Guoto, yet it’s quite popular in the region. The authentic traditional musical instrument from West Papua is a chordophone; it is an instrument that is played by being picked through its strings.

Guoto is generally made of wood and animal skin. The animal that local people usually use to make the tribal musical instrument is ox. The instrument’s design is quite simple, yet it has been hard to find these days as the number of the instrument is extremely limited. 

Despite the rare availability, Guota can still be found on several occasions. When you are in an event welcoming prominent figures, the tribal musical instrument is played. It is usually played to accompany the local traditional dance performance. Furthermore, the instrument is also played on certain custom rituals or ceremonies.


How to Make Guoto

Making Guoto is another fascinating piece of information to follow. The traditional musical instrument is made of wood and animal skin. The local people usually have used the skin of ox as the main material for the instrument.

The wood used to make Guoto is generally managed from bamboo wood. The part of bamboo that is used for the traditional instrument is the slats. Unlike the other common chordophone that is played through its strings and the strings are made of other materials, like wire or other cords, Guoto of West Papua has strings made of these bamboo slats.

There are several steps to make Guoto from bamboo, and you’ll need a knife to help in the process. First, the bamboo slats are dried by the local people. The slats are then managed by using the knife to make it more smooth and less sharp. These parts later are used to be the strings of Guoto.

Like Ukulele that is popular throughout the world, Guoto normally has four strings. These strings are designed to be placed at exactly the same distance to each other. After the strings are finished to be made, the local people give a small wooden stand below them. 

The stand is functioned to maintain the tension of the strings for tone stability. The stand can also be set in some variations managed to release uniquely different strings tones when being picked. Two base points of the traditional musical instrument and the strings are normally tied with rope. The rope which the local people usually use can be either made of plant or animal skin. The plant used for the rope is rattan, while the animal skin used is dried skin of ox.


How to Play Guoto

Playing Guoto is similar to playing other popular chordophone musical instruments, like guitar or ukulele. You can simply pick the strings to have a melodic tone and harmony. Different parts of strings can produce different tone variations, so you can pick the chords while establishing the beauty of the local cultural art of West Papua.

Those are some facts about Guoto of West Papua. The authentic musical instrument has indeed established interesting information to learn.