Traditional Music – Gong Circle Chimes – Pich Nil Cambodia

Traditional Music Team

At one end of the spirit houses at Pich Nil mountain pass, a  group of children sat playing traditional musical instruments, raising money for their Traditional Music Team. The music is pleasant to listen to. The instruments were equally interesting; having only ever seen a traditional xylophone or Roneat ek played at one of the temples, this is so much more.

Traditional Music team-Pich Nil Mountain Pass

Traditional Music team – Fund raising Pich Nil Mountain Pass

Traditional Music team – Fund raising Pich Nil Mountain Pass 

Listen to  the music,  see the full complement of instruments and the Traditional Music Team playing…

Gong Circle Chimes

First, the gong chimes or kong vong toch (kong toch). This is a gong circle created from sixteen bossed gongs made of a copper and bronze mixture. The gongs, suspended on a rattan frame in a circle around the player. The musicians use soft mallets when playing the instrument indoors, and hard mallets when playing the instrument outdoors.

Gong Circle Chimes- Khmer Traditional Musical Instruments

Gong Circle Chimes- Khmer Traditional Musical Instruments

There are two sizes in this  traditional  instrument as you can see above  – The Kong vong toch ( kong toch ) is a small gong  circle , the large gong  circle is known as Kong vong thom ( kong thom ).


Khmer traditional xylophone (above) known as “Roneat Dek

Khmer traditional xylophone

A Khmer traditional xylophone (above) known as  “Roneat Dek” is a Cambodian metallophone, different to the ‘Roneat ek‘ in shape and sound.  It is an ancient instrument believed to have originated from the Royal Courts before the Angkor period. The metallophone consists of tuned metal bars, a mallet used to strike the notes to play the music. The bars or the sound box of this ancient instrument are usually plain with very little decoration.

A 'roneat ek' is built in the shape of a curved,rectangular shaped boat.

A ‘roneat ek’ built in the shape of a curved,rectangular shaped boat.

‘Roneat ek’ Xylophone

There are two ‘ Roneat ek’  xylophone’s being played in the Traditional Music Team as well as the Roneat Dek metallophone.   The roneat ek is built in the shape of a curved,rectangular shaped boat. It has twenty-one thick bamboo or hard wood bars, played using two long beaters about 40 cm long with soft disks for indoors, or hard disks for playing outdoors. It can be seen to the right of the drum in the photo above.


The two drums (similar to taiko drums) are known as skor thom and played with drumsticks

 Traditional drums 

There are three drums, the striped drum, (just behind the young boy’s left shoulder) called  a “Samphoo” barrel drum, beaten with hands or sticks. The other two drums (like taiko drums) are known as skor thom and played with drumsticks

The children are raising money for the Khmer traditional music team, a very worth-while cause. So much of their music and  traditions lost to them during  the the Khmer rouge era. Cambodian music is not written, but passed down from generation to generation.

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  1. Good article. It is quite unfortunate that over the last one decade, the travel industry has already been able to to deal with terrorism, SARS, tsunamis, bird flu, swine flu, and also the first ever real global economic depression. Through everything the industry has really proven to be powerful, resilient along with dynamic, discovering new solutions to deal with hardship. There are constantly fresh troubles and the opportunity to which the market must once more adapt and respond.

    • Guqinz,You have summed that travel situation up very well, and there will always some people looking to travel the world and explore.Thanks Lyn.

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