Southeast Asia is an exotic and mysterious region, known both for its lush jungles and unique cultures. Influenced its surrounding nations, many of the countries of Southeast Asia have absorbed influences from both China and India while expressing their own unique expression of music. From ensemble of gongs musicians to chamber orchestras, Southeast Asian music is both an immersive and celebratory experience. Here is just a sample some of these countries and their musical traditions. This nation of islands has always been a typhoon of different cultural traditions. This is true also of their music.
Music of Southeast Asia
Music of Southeast Asia | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
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Sounds of Southeast Asia
Although their individual political histories differ, the music of Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia is almost identical. The musical instruments and forms of this region spring from the same sources: India, the indigenous Mon-Khmer civilizations, China, and Indonesia. In Thailand, three types of orchestras, called pi phat , kruang sai , and mahori , exist. The pi phat , which plays for court ceremonies and theatrical presentations, uses melodic percussion gongs in a circle, xylophones, metallophones and a blown reed. The kruang sai performs in popular village affairs and combines strings monochords, lutes, and fiddles with two and three strings and wind instruments oboes and flutes ; while the mahori , as accompaniment of solo and choral singing, mixes strings floor zithers, three-stringed fiddles, and lutes and melodic percussion gongs and xylophones with the winds flutes and oboes.