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The pinpeat (Khmer: ពិណពាទ្យ) orchestra or musical ensemble performs the ceremonial music of the royal courts and temples of Cambodia. The orchestra consists of approximately nine or ten instruments, mainly wind and percussion (including several varieties of xylophone and drums). It accompanies court dances, masked plays, shadow plays, and religious ceremonies. The pinpeat is analogous to the piphat ensemble of Thailand.[1]


According to Chuon Nath's Khmer dictionary, the 'pinpeat' is composed of the Sanskrit terms vina (វិណ) referring to a chapey which was formerly used as the premiere instrument in this ensemble and vadya (វាទ្យ) referring to an ensemble of instruments.[2] Chuon Nath mentions, the term piphat was also used among Cambodians familiar with the Thai language; this can be attributed to the former annexation of the northern provinces of Cambodia.[2]

Instruments used in pinpeat ensembles[edit]

This list presents instruments which are or have been used in various pinpeat ensembles.

  • roneat - xylophones
  • drums
    • skor thom - two big drums (similar to taiko drums) played with drumsticks
    • samphor - a double-headed drum played with hands
  • sralai - a quadruple-reed
    • sralai thom - a large quadruple-reed flute
    • sralai toch - a small quadruple-reed flute
  • khloy - a type of bamboo flute (was used in place of the sralai in the past)
  • chhing (chhap) - finger cymbals
  • krap - wooden clappers (presently rarely used)

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Sam-Ang Sam "Cambodia" in New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed., 2001. pp. 861-863
  2. ^ a b Chuon Nath Khmer Dictionary. 1966, Buddhist Institute, Phnom Penh

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinpeat — Please support Wikipedia.
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42 news items

France Musique

France Musique
Wed, 10 Jun 2015 17:47:43 -0700

Nous prenons cette semaine la direction d'un pays que nous n'avons pas encore visité, le Cambodge. Nous découvrirons le pinpeat à travers la musique de théâtre et la musique rituelle, et c'est l'ethnomusicologue Stéphanie Khoury qui viendra nous en ...

VietNamNet Bridge

VietNamNet Bridge
Tue, 01 Mar 2016 16:00:00 -0800

The 5-tone musical ensemble or Pinpeat orchestra is a unique product of the Khmer in Vietnam's southern region. It performs ceremonial music in the pagodas and at major festivals. The 5-tone musical ensemble consists of nine or ten instruments, mainly ...

Montana Standard

Montana Standard
Mon, 06 Jul 2015 23:06:06 -0700

The musical ensemble will be led by Chum Ngek, from Washington, D.C., and the type of music Ngek's instrumentalists will perform is called pinpeat - ceremonial music played in royal courts and temples in Cambodia. The four traditional dances the group ...

PBS NewsHour

PBS NewsHour
Tue, 07 Apr 2015 13:58:05 -0700

The traditional Cambodian musical ensemble, or pinpeat orchestra, is made up of wind and percussion instruments, including varying pitched xylophones, circular gongs, reeds, cymbals and barrel drums. The distinctive music accompanies classical ...

MOJO (blog)

MOJO (blog)
Mon, 02 Feb 2015 03:37:30 -0800

... but the album's middle section – the ruminative Deepest Lake On The Planet, eerie Cardboard Castles and downright spooky Vacant Lot – take left-field harmonies, summer-of-'67 vibes and the feeling of being coaxed out of slumber at sunrise by a ...

Scientific American

Scientific American
Wed, 28 May 2014 10:20:22 -0700

One chamber in the highest tier of Angkor Wat's central tower, known as the Bakan, contains an elaborate scene of a traditional Khmer musical ensemble known as the pinpeat, which is made up of different gongs, xylophones, wind instruments and other ...

New York Times

New York Times
Thu, 04 Apr 2013 14:34:05 -0700

IN the beginning warring gods and demons churned the cosmic ocean, and celestial dancers called apsaras emerged from the froth. That's one story about Cambodian dance, its origin myth. This tale is preserved in bas-reliefs on the monumental temples of ...

The Phnom Penh Post

The Phnom Penh Post
Thu, 05 Jun 2014 02:22:30 -0700

The composer, who obtained his PhD in Moscow, will conduct pinpeat ensemble musicians from Cambodian Living Arts (CLA), as well as additional clarinet and piano players, at the Chaktomuk Theatre. “As a composer I like to experiment – how can ...

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