The kutiyapi, or kudyapi, is a Philippine two-stringed, fretted boat-lute. It is the only stringed instrument among the Maguindanao people, and one of several among other groups such as the Maranao and Manobo. It is four to six feet long with nine frets made of hardened beeswax. The instrument is carved out of solid soft wood such as that from the jackfruit tree.
Common to all kudyapi instruments, a constant drone is played with one string while the other, an octave above the drone, plays the melody with a kebit or rattan pluck (commonly made from plastic nowadays). This feature, which is also common to other related Southeast Asian "boat lutes", which were influenced by varying degrees by Indian concepts of melody and scale via Maritime Southeast Asia. (See Indosphere for more information on historic Indian cultural influence in Southeast Asia.)
Maguindanao and Maranao styles
For the Maguindanao, it is possible to arrange the beeswax frets into different patterns resulting in two different scales for the instrument. These are the binalig, a higher pitched scale similar to the pelog and accompanying style used to imitate that of the kulintang, and the dinaladay, a lower pentatonic scale used for teaching pieces of an abstract nature.
In dinaladay, several tiers of difficulty revolve around main compositions: Patentek, Patundug, Banutun and Minudel; Patentek being the most straightforward, Minudel being the most-challenging.
Binalig scale pieces include several archaic compositions now not played on the kulintang, and of these pieces Malapankuno (cock crowing) and Mapalendad are included.
Any piece with a kinukulintangan affixed to its name is one that imitates the style of the kulintang instrument, of which the Sinulog a kinukulintangan; a piece that embellishes the main melody of the kulintang's Sinulog a kangungudan, is the most popular.
Among the Maranao, pieces played by using bagu and andung scales (equivalents of the binalig and dinaladay scales used by the Maguindanao), and in contrast to Maguindanao pieces, the kutiyapi is also used as an accompanying instrument to bayoka or epic chants. Examples of older andung pieces include Kangganatan and Mamayog Akun.
The Kudyapi (kotyapi) has also been as one of the instruments in several older light ensembles, including that of the kasayao-sa-singkil/kasingkil ensemble, the original musical accompaniment to the singkil dance (now rarely used in favour of conventional kulintang ensembles). This ensemble pairs the kotyapi with a jaw harp (kubing), suling, a pair of small double-headed drums known as gandangan (a drum now rarely used among the Maranao in favor of the single-headed dadabuan) and a single kulintang, in accompaniment to the bamboo poles used in the dance.
Another archaic ensemble where the kotyapi was included was the Kapanirong, or courtship ensemble, in which the kotyapi was used with a kubing, small insi flute, a two-stringed bamboo zither serongagandi, and a brass-tray tintik.
Among both the Maguindanao and Maranao, a much more recent informal styles are also used. Dayunday is a performed in front of an audience using an improvisational vocal style based on both sangel sa wata (traditional lullaby) and bayok (epic chant sung in a cappella) genres, played in either binalig or dinaladay scales, that is used during weddings, election campaigns, religious celebrations such as Eid or other large gatherings. The dayunday generally sets well known musicians from both genders against each other in verbal jest and competition.
Among the T'Boli, Manobo and other Lumad groups, the instrument (known as Hegelung, Kudyapi or Fedlung) is tuned to a major pentatonic scale. Among groups like the Bagobo, the Kutiyapi (Kudlung) is also used as a bowed instrument and is generally played to accompany improvised songs.
A characteristic difference between Mindanaon Moro Kutiyapi and the non-Islamized Lumad equivalents is the style and set up of vocal accompaniment. Among the Lumad groups, the kudyapi player and vocalist are separate performers, and vocalists use a free-flowing method of singing on top of the rhythm of the instrument, whereas among the Maguindanao and Maranao, there are set rhythms are phrases connected with the melody of the kutiyapi, with the player doubling as the vocalist (bayoka), if need be.
Various names and similar instruments
Also called: Kutyapi, Kutiapi (Maguindanaon), Kotyapi (Maranao), Kotapi (Subanon), Fegereng (Tiruray), Faglong, Fuglung (B'laan), Kudyapi (Bukidnon and Tagbanwa), Hegelong (T’boli) and Kuglong, Kadlong, Kudlong or Kudlung (Manobo, Mansaka, Mandaya, Bagobo and Central Mindanao), Kusyapi (Palawan)
Similar instruments played throughout the region include the Sape of Sarawak and the Crocodile lutes of Mainland Southeast Asia. Although they share a similar name, the Kacapi of Sunda on Java is a zither, and not a lute.
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