Musical Accompaniment to Muay Thai
In Muay Thai, rhythmic music accompanies the Wai Khru Ram Muay rituals as well as the actual contests themselves. This music is referred to as wong pee glong and is performed by four musicians, each with their own instrument: pee chawaa (Javanese oboe), glong kaek (a pair of Thai drums played by two musicians) and ching (small Thai cymbals).
Ching With its onomatopoeic name, the ching is a percussion instrument, which can best be described as a pair of diminutive but comparatively thick cymbals, measuring about 6 –
Pee Chawaa This instrument is thought to have originated in India and come into Thailand through Indonesia, hence its name (chawaa = Java). The instrument is made from hardwood or ivory or a combination of the two, and consists of two main sections: a cylindrical body about 2 7cm. (nearly 11 inches) long with seven holes for fingering; and a lower bulbous, bell-
Glong Kaek This kind of drum has a cylindrical hardwood body measuring about 58cm. (23 inches) in length. The two heads at either end, which are made from calf-
The tempo of the wong pee glong music varies according to what it is accompanying. A composition called “Salamaa” accompanies the Wal Khru Ram Muay the tempo is slow and stately to match the mood of the rituals, with a smooth, flowing rhythm. When the actual fight commences, a composition called “Kaeg Chao Sen” is played .The general tempo of this piece tempo is quicker and, at moments of tension or excitement during the match, it becomes even more frenetic. Undoubtedly, the music increases the atmosphere of the event, while if fighters are not going on the offensive ferociously enough, the music can urge them to rally and try even harder.