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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 renowned 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.

  • 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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26 news items

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 ...

Dateline Dominguez

Dateline Dominguez
Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:50:31 -0700

Performances are accompanied by two narrators and a Pinpeat orchestra with nine musicians. Most of the stories and characters come from the Reamker, the Cambodian version of India's epic poem Ramayana, and require up to 160 puppets for a single ...

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 ...
South China Morning Post
Sat, 28 Jun 2014 10:48:46 -0700

Bordered with pretty, diamond-shaped floral motifs, one scene depicts a Khmer pinpeat, a traditional musical ensemble. Tan thinks the Bakan paintings could be relics of work undertaken to restore the temple. "Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century ...

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 ...

Yahoo!7 News

ABC Online
Thu, 05 Jun 2014 23:05:34 -0700

He says they range from simple, single images spread across the entire temple, to more elaborate scenes taking up an entire wall, including one of a Khmer pinpeat or gong ensemble. "They certainly give us a whole different level of iconographic ...

The Phnom Penh Post

The Phnom Penh Post
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 19:26:15 -0700

A pinpeat [group that traditionally played the music of the royal courts and temples of Cambodia] ensemble musician marched across a vast rice paddy and played. Looking back to that experience, I felt that my whole body and soul were washed and ...

San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Chronicle
Sun, 09 Jun 2013 18:17:48 -0700

For music, the choreographer supplied a recording of a traditional pinpeat orchestra. As a complement, she commissioned a gripping score from Alexis Alrich, who adapts the pentatonic scale of Cambodian music for a trio of Western instruments. The work ...

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