In December 2017, we travelled to Phnom Penh, Cambodia and had the pleasure to learn how to play Khmer music instrument with local musicians. I was only going to write a post, but throughout the process of creating the blog post, I felt the urge to also make a vlog for this experience. I haven’t done many vlogs yet mostly because I didn’t have the right equipment. However, I am hoping to change this in 2018, so I can offer my readers with a better virtual experience. This Cambodia vlog is the first true attempt! (Aside from a few Vietnam music travel videos we uploaded last summer that basically had no real editing involved.)
After all, listening to music is probably more fun than reading about it!
The class last for an hour. Besides learning to play two Cambodian folk songs, I also got to play around with other Khmer music instruments.
Just to give you a brief idea of Cambodian (Khmer) traditional music –
Cambodian (Khmer) traditional music is heavily influenced by Hindu-Buddhist culture. Modern Cambodia inherited the word Khmer from its predecessor state, the Khmer Empire, so Khmer is used to refer all things related to Cambodian culture. Most of the Cambodian folk tunes narrate ancient stories and myths. Today, traditional Khmer music still plays a big part in the daily lives of Cambodians. It’s used for weddings and funerals, as well as traditional dance performances.
For Our music geek readers:
At the end of the video, there’s a complete ensemble performance of the folk tune I learned during the class. If you listen closely, you will notice that Khmer music is modal instead of the major and minor scales. Therefore, the concept of sharps and flats don’t really exist in Khmer music.
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Want to read more about our experience after watching our Cambodia vlog?
For further reading, check out a complete blog post – Music Experience in Cambodia: Learn to Play Khmer Music Instrument From Local Musicians.
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Also published on Medium.