Come immerse yourselves in the musical art forms of piphat and mahori of Central Thailand. Once considered as a staple form of entertainment in royal Siamese courts, they are today enjoyed by the masses along with the wide variety of ensembles which reflect the rich and diverse musical culture of Thailand. Much like Kulintang from the Phillipines and Gamelan from the Nusantara Malay Archipelago , Piphat and Mahori ensembles consist of multiple instruments such as the pi nai bass oboe and glong thad Thai tympani.
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It is a unique insight of Thai Buddhist culture to think of art as a bubble, the transparent beauty of which is most clearly identified with a short, fleeting moment of existence—beauty that points towards impermanence as the condition of all things. Some years ago they saw the need for an orchestra and a music that attempted to counter the tendency towards compartmentalisation so prevalent in modern societies. Taking the old Confucian idea that one of the important powers of music is the ability to create unity in the hearts of men, they decided to launch an orchestra that would seek to bridge the gap, not only between Asians and Westerners, but more especially between two groups of Thai musicians with opposing views: the traditionalists, who in their zeal to preserve the old refused to allow any evolution or growth within the tradition, and the modernists who, embarrassed by their roots, sought to imitate the West exclusively. Bunyong Ketkhong is considered to be one of the greatest masters of the ranat soprano xylophone. His compositions are noted for their highly syncopated rhythms, which cause his music to sound unusually modern in idiom.
Piphat in the earlier time was called phinphat. The smallest piphat , called piphat khrueang ha , is composed of six instruments: pi nai oboe ; ranat ek xylophone ; khong wong yai gong circle ; taphon or other Thai drums; glong thad , a set of two large barrel drums beaten with sticks; and ching small cymbals. Often other small percussion instruments such as krap or chap are used. A slightly larger piphat ensemble is called piphat khrueang khu , and consists of eight musical instruments. The other two instruments are the ranat thum xylophone , which produces a deeper sound than the ranat ek , and khong wong lek , a gong circle that is higher in pitch than the khong wong yai. The largest form of piphat ensemble is the piphat khrueang yai , which consists of ten musical instruments. Another ones are ranat ek lek and ranat thum lek ; these are almost the same as their ancestors, the ranat ek and ranat thum , but they have keys made from metal instead of wood.