Pate (instrument)

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Pate Drum.JPG
Pātē from Samoa
Other names

pātē (Samoa, Rarotonga, Tokelau) tōkere (Aitutaki, Atiu) tō'ere (French Polynesia)

kā'ara (Mangaia)
Hornbostel–Sachs classification classification needed
Related instruments
Lali, Slit drum
Te Vaka
More articles
Music of Samoa

A pātē is a Polynesian percussion instrument. It is of the slit drum family, and therefore is also of the idiophone percussion family. It is made from a hollowed-out log, usually of Milo wood and produces a distinctive and loud sound. Different sizes of pate offer different pitches and volumes, as well as striking the pate in the middle or near the ends.


First a segment of a hardwood tree trunk or thick branch is taken and stripped of its bark. Holes are then bored into the log in a straight line, from one end to the other, optionally leaving some space at each end. What remains in between the holes is then chiseled out, forming the characteristic slit. After this, the log continues to be hollowed out through the slit. Both the shape of the slit and the extent that the log is gutted will affect the tone and pitch of the pate.[1]


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