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In Thai boxing music is an integral part of the art, for the pre-fight rituals and during the bouts. The musicians watch the bouts intensely and in part, control the rhythm and speed of the bout by increasing the tempo of the music to encourage both fighters to fight at their best.

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The Ching (Cymbal)

The name 'Ching'  originates from the sound made by the symbols when tapped together. The Ching which is a percussion instrument of the brass family is usually made of  its name sake and shaped like a small saucer. They measure around two and a half inches by two and three quarters inches, and  are held together at their centers  by a small hole which a cord or string is passed through with a knot at each end. The function of the Ching is to keep time and beat out the rhythm for the fighters .

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The Pi Chawa (Java Pipe)

The Pi Chawa or better known as the Java Pipes originates from India where it is said that the Javanese copied the model, (hence the name Java Pipe). It used to be heard during Thai fencing bouts. The sound of the Pi is similar to that of the Scottish bag pipe. It is made hardwood, ivory or sometimes both and comes in six parts  and two sections, with an  over-all length of sixteen and a quarter inches, the horn is approximately five and a half inches,

  and along the length are seven finger holes. Four pieces of reed in double pairs are tied to a small metal tube. The end of the tube is inserted into the main body of the instrument and wrapped with  thread to make the connection. At the mouth there is also a small round convex piece of metal or coconut shell to support the performers lips.

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The Glawing Khaek (Drums)

The Glaw - ng Khae - k  drum has a long cylindrical body, usually made of hardwood and is approximately twenty three inches in length the actual drum heads are made of calf or goat skin. The smaller head is about seven inches in diameter called the Na tan or 'outer head' and the large, Na rui 'loose'. At one time the head was tied down with split cane or rattan, but today leather thongs are commonly used.

The drums are used in pairs and are of different pitches, the higher tone drum called 'tua pu' or male and the lower tone drum, 'tua mia' or female, and are played with the palms and fingers on both ends of the drum. There is one player for each drum who work in union creating complex rhythmic lines by intermingling and alternating the drum beats. With today's technology, music cassettes are frequently used in Thai boxing events held out side of Thailand, as a replacement for the musicians, and a true Muay Thai or Thai Boxing event can be ascertained by the sound of the 'Ram Muay' the ritual dance of homage, or the 'Dontree Muay'  fight music.

Ram Muay Music

Ram Muay (Ritual Pre-fight Music) Dontree Muay  (Fight Music) Dontree Fight Music

Copyright 1998 USMTA Inc.   All rights reserved. Revised: October 16, 2004