Traditional Musical Instruments of Thailand

September 13, 2019

Grounded in folk wisdom, and passed on through generations of Thai artists and musicologist. Thai music is deeply interconnected in Thailand’s culture and way of life. Unlike other musical cultures, Thailand’s ancestral music is not as well known internationally compares to other music’s. This in part is due to the complexity and experience needed to master Thai musical instruments. Said complexity arises from the music’s origin, taking influence from Chinese, Indian and Khmer (Cambodian music, incorporating elements of these musical styles to create the unique sound you hear in today’s Thai music. 

This unique sound of Thai music is also credited to the vast selection of traditional Thai musical instruments available. Instruments are divided into four main categories, by the motion used to play the instruments: Plucking, Bowing, Striking and Blowing. When played individually, a vertical tune is heard, but the real magic happens when a band of instruments are played, creating a truly pleasant atmosphere, exclusive to Thailand. 

Unfortunately, despite the long history of Thai traditional music in the Thai culture, the number of craftsman and musicians of Thai musical instruments are dwindling, in part due to the increase influence of Western music, showing no interest in Thai music. Luckily, there are a growing number of interests from individuals, who recognizes this unique cultural heritage, and are making efforts to stimulate activities with Thai music, in an effort to promote and preserve this art form, through activates such as outdoor concerts, television and radio broadcasts.