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There is not enough space here to present a cataloge of instruments if it is about a wide diversity of music like we can find in Thailand.
Besides the music of the ensembles we find several solo instruments, most of all if we take a closer look at the instruments of the various ethnic minorities living in the actual borders of Thailand.
The following overview only displays instruments that I own in my collection or are basic for the understanding of Thai music - all other instruments are described in the article about the ensembles below.
o the zither Jarakhe
o the panpipe Wot
o the hammered dulcimer Khim
o the mouthorgan Naw
o the harp Tünak of the Karen people
o the Subü lute of the Lisu people
o the monochord Pin Pia
The solo music is not rare but outweighted by ensemble music. Vocalists often tend to alternate with the ensemble instead of being accompanied, and the real determination of pitches and playing styles is coming from the used aerophones, which we already see in the name "Piphat", indicating the Pi (see below) aerophones as very important. Today sometimes ensembles get mixed up though the instrumentation is clearly defined for each occasion, but sometimes the required players or instruments are not availabe.
Most of the ensembles perform seated and play all pieces from memory.
Basically, three major ensembles dominate the music of Thailand: The Piphat, the Mahori and the Khrüang sai.
Besides these three major ensembles, the Malayian influenced sword fighting ensemble bua loi as well as the boxing ensemble klawn khaek get more and more famous. The Piphat ensemble is a very percussive ensemble, while the Mahori ("instrumental") ensemble can be seen as a smaller Piphat with smaller and additional string instruments; and the Khrüang sai is a string dominated ensemble with at least two fiddles and a zither. All ensembles know additional names regarding their instrumentation and function, for example "ha" (five instruments), "khu"
(all instruments paired) or "yai" (large ensemble with 13 instruments, called "mai khaeng" if played with hard mallets and "mai nuam" if played with soft mallets). Exceptions are the Piphat mawn, remarkable for the upright gong circle of Mon origin, the Piphat nang hong playing Muslim and Indian tunes and the rarely seen theatre ensemble Piphat dükdanbam.
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