#1 Fun Guide To Thai Music Vocabulary

If you are a music lover, it is impossible for you to visit Thailand and not be amazed by the street performers. I am sure you will want to talk about music. So, in this post, we will learn the most commonly used Thai music vocabulary and also mention traditional Thai instruments and music in Thailand.


Common Thai Music Vocabulary You Need To Know

Of course, a music lover should learn music vocabulary in the target language as well. So, here is the list of common words related to music in the Thai language. I hope these Thai words will help you express your interest in music.

Thai VocabularyPronunciationMeaning
เล่น[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]เล่น[/Speechword]lento play (an instrument)
เพลงป๊อบ[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]เพลงป๊อบ[/Speechword]phelng-ṕxbpop music
เพลงร็อค[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]เพลงร็อค[/Speechword]phelng-r̆xkhrock music
เพลงคลาสสิค[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]เพลงคลาสสิค[/Speechword]phelng-khlāssikhclassical music
ดนตรีแจส[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]ดนตรีแจส[/Speechword]dntrī-cæs̄jazz music
เครื่องดนตรี[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]เครื่องดนตรี[/Speechword]kherụ̄xngdntrīinstrument
หีบเพลง[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]หีบเพลง[/Speechword]hèep-playngaccordion
กีตาร์บาลาไลก้า[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]กีตาร์บาลาไลก้า[/Speechword]gee-dha-ba-la-lai′-gâbalalaika
แบนโจ[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]แบนโจ[/Speechword]bæn-johbanjo
คลาริเน็ต[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]คลาริเน็ต[/Speechword]kla-rí′-nétclarinet
กลอง[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]กลอง[/Speechword]glawngdrum
ขลุ่ย[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]ขลุ่ย[/Speechword]klùyflute
แกรนด์เปียโน[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]แกรนด์เปียโน[/Speechword]græn-bhia-nohgrand piano
กีต้าร์[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]กีต้าร์[/Speechword]gee-dhâguitar
คีย์บอร์ด[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]คีย์บอร์ด[/Speechword]kee-bàwdkeyboard
เปียโน[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]เปียโน[/Speechword]bhia-nohpiano
แซกโซโฟน[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]แซกโซโฟน[/Speechword]sæ̂k-soh-fonsaxophone
ทรัมเป็ต[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]ทรัมเป็ต[/Speechword]tram-bhèttrumpet
ไวโอลิน[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]ไวโอลิน[/Speechword]wai-oh-linviolin
กล่องไวโอลิน[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]กล่องไวโอลิน[/Speechword]glàwng-wai-oh-linviolin case
ระนาดฝรั่ง[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]ระนาดฝรั่ง[/Speechword]rá-nât-fà-ràngxylophone
เครื่องสาย[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]เครื่องสาย[/Speechword]krêuang-sǎistring
นักร้อง[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]นักร้อง[/Speechword]nák-ráwngsinger
วงดนตรี[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]วงดนตรี[/Speechword]wong-don-dhreeband
ออร์แกน[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]ออร์แกน[/Speechword]aw-gænorgan
ตัวโน้ต[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]ตัวโน้ต[/Speechword]dhua-nótnote
ขาตั้งโน้ตเพลง[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]ขาตั้งโน้ตเพลง[/Speechword]kǎ-dhâng-nót-playngmusic stand
เพลง[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]เพลง[/Speechword]playngmusic
หอประชุม[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]หอประชุม[/Speechword]hàwp-rá-choomhall
คอนเสิร์ต[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]คอนเสิร์ต[/Speechword]kawn-sèr̶tconcert
ทำนอง[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]ทำนอง[/Speechword]tham-naawngmelody
จังหวะ[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]จังหวะ[/Speechword]jang-wàrhythm
เนื้อเพลง[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]เนื้อเพลง[/Speechword]núuea phleenglyrics
ไมโครโฟน[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]ไมโครโฟน[/Speechword]mikhorfonmicrophone
ดนตรีอะคูสติก[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]ดนตรีอะคูสติก[/Speechword]don-dtrii à-khúut-dtìkacoustic music
เกี่ยวกับเครื่องดนตรี[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]เกี่ยวกับเครื่องดนตรี[/Speechword]gìiao gàp khrûueang don-dtriiinstrumental
ท่อนเพลง[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]ท่อนเพลง[/Speechword]thâawn phleengverse
ระดับเสียง[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]ระดับเสียง[/Speechword]rá-dàp sĭiangpitch
เสียงแตก[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]เสียงแตก[/Speechword]sĭiang dtàaekbreak
เสียง[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]เสียง[/Speechword]seīyngsound


Musical Instruments In Thai

Traditional Thai music has a mystical melody with unique musical instruments that are native to Thailand. Traditional festivals have a huge impact on Thai music. There are a variety of instruments ranging from colorful percussion instruments to simple flutes and strings. Most of these instruments are handcrafted and they reflect ancient cultural influences.

Traditional Thai musical instruments are the musical instruments used in the traditional and classical music of Thailand. They comprise a wide range of wind, string, and percussion instruments played by both the Thai majority as well as the nation’s ethnic minorities.

1. Ranat Ek (ระนาดเอก)[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]ระนาดเอก[/Speechword]

thai music vocabulary

The Ranat Ek has ancient origins dating back to the 19th century in the time of King Rama. It is kind of similar to the xylophone, but it is quite unique in terms of design. The instrument has a boat-like structure and the keys are suspended on the top. There are wooden keys that are different in size. Hard mallets produce a loud sharp sound whereas soft mallets produce softer tones.

2. Ranat Thum (ระนาดทุ้ม)[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]ระนาดทุ้ม[/Speechword]

thai music vocabulary

Another instrument in Thai music is the Ranat Thum. This instrument is typically made up of bamboo and it is usually played with the Ranat Ek which we mentioned above. The design of Ranat Thum is a little different from the Ranat Ek because it is just much lower and broader.

3. Grajabpi (กระจับปี่)[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]กระจับปี่[/Speechword]

thai music vocabulary

The Grajabpi, which is also called the Krachappi, is an elegant-looking instrument among others. It is a stringed instrument that is counted among the oldest Thai musical instruments. The long neck of this lute carries a few sets of double strings. The instrument is played by plucking with a plectrum.

4. Saw Duang (ซอด้วง)[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]ซอด้วง[/Speechword]

thai music vocabulary

Saw Duang is a stringed instrument that is popularly played throughout Thailand. It is a two-stringed instrument played with a bow, like a cello or a violin. This instrument is believed to have been adapted from ancient Chinese instruments. The body of Saw Duang is made of hardwood or sometimes ivory, and the strings are made of nylon or metal wires. The Saw Duang is used as a lead instrument in the Thai orchestras.

5. Taphon (ตะโพน)[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]ตะโพน[/Speechword]

thai music vocabulary

The Taphon is a big percussion instrument (approximately 50 cm in length) with a drum head on both sides. These drum heads are made of animal skin, usually, calf hide. The drum is made of wood and interesting patterns are woven along its body. The Taphon is played by thumping the palm and fingers of both hands.

The Taphon is one of the core instruments played in the Phiphat orchestras and Buddhist rituals. It is also very popular among the locals so it is likely that you can see it in street performances.


Thai Classical Music

thai music vocabulary

Thai classical music emerged in the royal centers of Thailand about 800 years ago. The Thai ensembles were influenced by older practices and repertoires from India, and today they have become uniquely Thai expressions.

There are three primary classical ensembles in Thai traditional music: the Piphat, Khrueang sai, and Mahori. They have differences in some ways yet, they also share a basic instrumentation and theoretical approach. Each employs small ching hand cymbals and krap wooden sticks to mark the primary beat reference.

Let’s go over those primary classical ensembles in Thai traditional music.

Piphat (ปี่พาทย์)[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]ปี่พาทย์[/Speechword]

Piphat is the most well-known and iconic Thai classical music that symbolizes the dancing of Thailand’s legendary dragons. It is a mid-sized orchestra that includes two xylophones (ranat), an oboe (pi), barrel drums (long), and two circular sets of gong-chimes.

There are several types of piphat orchestras that vary in size, and each one is particularly associated with specific ceremonial purposes.

Khrueang sai (เครื่องสาย)[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]เครื่องสาย[/Speechword]

The Khrueang Sai orchestra combines some of the percussion and wind instruments as well as a large string section including the saw duang, the lower-pitched saw u, and the three-string chakee. In addition to these instruments, the khlui in several sizes, and a goblet drum can be counted among the instruments played in the Khrueang Sai orchestra.

The Khrueang Sai orchestra is mostly used for indoor performances and to accompany the Thai hoon grabok which is a stick-puppet theater.

Mahori (มโหรี)[Speechword voice=”Thai Female” isinline]มโหรี[/Speechword]

Mahori is the third major Thai classical orchestra. It is traditionally played by women in the courts of Central Thailand. The orchestra includes regular-sized instruments but excludes the relatively loud instruments. The Mahori performers in three sizes (small, medium, and large) including the three-string saw sam sai fiddle, and, middle-range bowed lute with silk strings.

In the Mahori orchestra, the so sam sai accompanies the vocalist. It plays a more prominent role in this orchestra than in any other classical Thai orchestra.


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