Thon and rammana

Last updated
Thon and rammana
A thon (left) and rammana (right)
Classification Percussion (Membranophone)

The thon and rammana (Thai : โทนรำมะนา , pronounced [tʰoːnː] ) are hand drums played as a pair in Thai classical music. It consists of two drums: the thon (โทน), a goblet drum with a ceramic or wooden body and the rammana (รำมะนา), a small rebana-typed frame drum or tambourine. They are used usually in the khruang sai ensemble. The thon gives a low pitch and the rammana gives a high pitch. Earlier in the 20th century, the thon and rammana were sometimes played separately.


The instruments are also used in Cambodian music in the mohori ensemble. [1] [2]

See also

Related Research Articles

Music of Cambodia

The music of Cambodia is derived from a mesh of cultural traditions dating back to the ancient Khmer Empire, India, China and the original indigenous tribes living in the area before the arrival of Indian and Chinese travelers. With the rapid Westernization of popular music, Cambodian music has incorporated elements from music around the world through globalization.

Music of Thailand

The music of Thailand reflects its geographic position at the intersection of China and India, and reflects trade routes that have historically included Africa, Greece and Rome. Traditional Thai musical instruments are varied and reflect ancient influence from far afield - including the klong thap and khim, the jakhe, the klong jin, and the klong kaek . Though Thailand was never colonized by colonial powers, pop music and other forms of modern Asian, European and American music have become extremely influential. The two most popular styles of traditional Thai music are luk thung and mor lam; the latter in particular has close affinities with the music of Laos.

Goblet drum Middle Eastern drum

The goblet drum (also chalice drum, tarabuka, tarabaki, darbuka, derbake, debuka, doumbek, dumbec, dumbeg, dumbelek, toumperleki, tumbak, or zerbaghali, is a single head membranophone with a goblet shaped body used mostly in Egypt and is considered the National symbol of Egyptian Shaabi Music, also in parts of the West Asia, North Africa, South Asia, and Eastern Europe. The African djembe-wassolou is also a goblet membranophone. This article focuses on the Eastern and North-African goblet drum.


The samphor is a small, 2-headed barrel drum indigenous to Cambodia, approximately .35 meter wide by .5 meter long. It has two heads, with one drumhead being larger than the other and is played with both hands. Depending on the ability of the musician, the samphor can make as many as 8 different pitches. The player of the sampho leads the pinpeat, setting the tempo and beat. It is also played at freestyle boxing evens, accompanying the sralai. The samphor is analogous to the taphon used in Thailand.

Pinpeat Khmer traditional musical ensemble

The Pinpeat is the largest Khmer traditional musical ensemble. It has performed the ceremonial music of the royal courts and temples of Cambodia since ancient times. The orchestra consists of approximately nine or ten instruments, mainly wind and percussion. It accompanies court dances, masked plays, shadow plays, and religious ceremonies. This ensemble is originated in Cambodia since before Angkorian era.

Khrueang sai

Wong khrueang sai is a musical ensemble in Thai classical music which consists primarily of string instruments. A typical khrueang sai ensemble features two two-string fiddles, one high and one low, a three-string zither called jakhe, a vertical duct flute called khlui, hand drums, and various cymbals. Depending on the size of the ensemble, instruments may be doubled or left out. A three-string spike fiddle called saw sam sai may be added as well. The khim has become popular and is also used in this ensemble. In the 20th century, Western instruments such as the violin or organ have also occasionally been integrated into khrueang sai ensembles.

Tro (instrument) Traditional bowed string instruments from Cambodia

The tro is Cambodia's traditional spike fiddles, bowed string instruments that are held and played vertically. Spike fiddles have a handle that passes through the resonator, often forming a spike, on the bottom side where it emerges. The family is similar or distantly related to the Chinese erhu or huqin. The instruments have a soundbox at the bottom of the stick, covered with leather or snake skin. Strings run from pegs at the top of the stick and secured at the bottom, running across the soundbox. The larger the soundbox, the lower the pitch range. Instruments in this family include the two-stringed tro outro sau thomtro sau toch and tro che, as well as the three-stringed tro Khmer spike fiddle. The two-stringed tros are tuned in a fifth, while the three-stringed tro Khmer is tuned in fourths. The tros, with the exception of the tro Khmer, are strung so that the bowstring is permanently placed between the two stings. When the musician plays, the placement of the bow causes the strings to be played at once, one from below and one from above. In contrast, western fiddles are played with the bow pushing on each string from the outside, as is also the case with the tro khmer.

Yike is a prominent form of Cambodian musical theater, along with Bassac theater and Niyeai. "Lakhon Yike" incorporates singing and dancing and "an ensemble of both traditional and modern instruments."

Ching (instrument)

Ching are finger cymbals played in Cambodian and Thai theater and dance ensembles.

Traditional Thai musical instruments are the musical instruments used in the traditional and classical music of Thailand. They comprise a wide range of wind, string, and percussion instruments played by both the Thai majority as well as the nation's ethnic minorities.

Traditional Cambodian musical instruments

Traditional Cambodian musical instruments are the musical instruments used in the traditional and classical music of Cambodia. They comprise a wide range of wind, string, and percussion instruments, used by both the Khmer majority as well as the nation's ethnic minorities.

Klong that are large barrel drums used in the classical music of Thailand. They are played with large wooden sticks. They are usually played in a pair and used in the piphat ensemble. Drums of this kind have also been called klong chatri (กลองชาตรี) and klong túk (กลองตุ๊ก).

Roneat ek

The Roneat Ek or Roneat Aek is a xylophone used in the Khmer classical music of Cambodia. It is built in the shape of a curved, rectangular shaped boat. It has twenty-one thick bamboo or hard wood bars that are suspended from strings attached to the two walls. They are cut into pieces of the same width, but of different lengths and thickness. Originally these instruments were highly decorated with inlay and carvings on the sides of the sound box. Now they are simpler. The Roneat is played in the Pinpeat ensemble. In that ensemble, sits on the right of the Roneat Thung, a lower-pitched xylophone. The roneat ek is the analogous equivalent to the Thai xylophone called ranat ek, and the Burmese bamboo xylophone called "pattala".

Roneat thung A low-pitched xylophone

The roneat thung or roneat thum is a low-pitched xylophone used in the Khmer classical music of Cambodia. It is built in the shape of a curved, rectangular shaped boat. This instrument plays an important part in the Pinpeat ensemble. The roneat Thung is placed on the left of the roneat ek, a higher-pitched xylophone. The Roneat Thung is analogous to the ranat thum of Thai.

Skor thom

The Skor thom are Cambodian 2-headed barrel drums played with a pair of wooden drumsticks. They typically have skin heads made from oxen, cows or buffalos, and are played in pairs. The drums are tuned such that one will give a "tighter and louder" sound when struck, while the other gives a "loose and more flatter tone." The log is hollowed out to form a thin tube, about 1 centimeter thick, and the hide is stretched out on each side to create the drum. Dimensions for the instruments vary, as they are carved from logs; however they can measure 50 centimetres long and be 46 centimetres in across at the center of the drum, with the ends being about 40 centimetres wide.

Skor daey

The skor daey is a short goblet drum from Cambodia, approximately 40 centimeters tall and 15 centimeters wide at the top. There are two common goblet drums there, the skor chhaiyam, a very long goblet drum, resembling some from Burma, and the skor daey.

Skor chhaiyam

The skor chhaiyam is a tall Cambodian goblet drum, slung over the shoulder with a string, so it can be played at waist level while walking. Only the top has skin, leaving a sound-hole at the bottom of a narrowed drum body. The instrument is used to "celebrate happy events."

Skor yeam

The skor yeam also known as the skor pheary, skor chey and skor torb is a Cambodian base drum, similar in shape to the skor samphor, but much larger. The drums are ancient in origin, used originally in war to "beat command signals" or gather soldiers together. In temples they are used to call Buddhists together or announce ceremonies. Where the samphor is hand-played, the skor yeam is played with a drumstick. The instrument is similar in size and shape to the Thai taphon mon.

Skor sang na

The skor sang na or sko chhneah is a Cambodia drum, similar in shape to the samphor but smaller, measuring 60 centimeters by 20 centimeters. The instrument is small enough to carry. Like the skor chaiyam which has a strap to allow the instrument to be carried in parades, the skor sang also has a strap. However, rather than cheerful parades, it had a more solemn purpose, playing in funeral processions and ceremonies. Used to play "Khlang Chanack" funeral music.

Mohaori Traditional musical ensemble of Cambodia

Mohaori is one of the traditional musical ensembles of Cambodia. This traditional ensemble is known in full name as Vung Phleng Mohaori (វង់ភ្លេងមហោរី), literally means Mohaori Musical Ensemble. It composed of many kinds of musical instruments, but today it is more specifically applied to a small ensemble of wind, stringed, and percussion musical instruments.


  1. Khean, Yun; Dorivan, Keo; Lina, Y; Lenna, Mao. Traditional Musical Instruments of Cambodia (PDF). Kingdom of Cambodia: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. pp. 248–253.
  2. "The Flute Player". Retrieved 10 October 2018. Thaun, a goblet drum, is similar to the skor arakk, except it has a shallower head and a slimmer body...used as part of a two-piece drum set in the mohori ensemble... [From a Public Broadcasting Service webpage about the 2003 movie by Jocelyn Glatzer called the Flute Player, about a man who returns to Cambodia to teach the Cambodian flute.]