The music of Thailand is as rich and exotic as its beaches and food!
Thailand has a unique set of culture, people, food and even music. The traditional musical instruments of Thailand can be divided into three categories –string, wind and percussion. These instruments have been a part of Thailand’s rich culture for centuries and ages almost as old as 1351. Here are some of the traditional musical instruments of Thailand that have contributed to classical Thai music.
The Ranat Ek
Believed to have been created during the rule of King Rama IV, the Ranat Ek is a popular Thai percussion instrument. Used extensively in the creation of Thai classical music, the instrument looks somewhat like a xylophone. The Ranat Ek is made of wood and bamboo that gives it its loud but soft sounds. The musician uses a mallet to hit the keys of instrument in order to produce music. The Ranat Ek also has a different version that is known as Ranat Ek Lek. This instrument has similar tuning like the Ranat Ek but has metal keys placed on a resonator made of wood.
The Khong Wong Yai
Also a percussion instrument, the Khong Wong Yai is commonly known as the Circle of Gongs. It is a unique instrument that requires the musician to sit inside a ring constructed with gongs of different tones that are attached to a rattan base. The musician has to rotate his body as he goes around hitting the gongs with his mallets. The smaller version of the Khong Wong Yai is called the Khong Wong Lek and has 18 gongs and a higher pitched sound.
The khlui is a wind instrument that functions like a flute and is often compared to a oboe or a clarinet. Usually made of hardwood, bamboo or plastic, the Khlui is comes in different sizes to produced varying pitches of sound.
Considered to be one of the oldest traditional Thai music instruments, the Grajabpi resembles a lute. The musician plays the instrument by plucking it and has four strings. The Grajabpi is usually made of either jackfruit or teak.
The Ching and Chap
Belonging to the percussion family, the Ching and Chap are tiny instruments made of thick metals. The musician hits the two sides of the ching and chap together in order to produce a sound that resembles that of a cymbal.