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The Roneat Ek is a percussion
instrument, which is tuned to pitch and is rather similar to the western
equivalent of a xylophone. It is found in the Pin Peat and Mahory orchestras.
The function of the Roneat in the ensemble is to keep the harmony going
The Roneat Ek is built in the shape
of a curved, rectangular boat. This serves as the sound box, and is approximately
1.10-cm long and over 11 cm wide. The sound box is made of a hardwood called
Beng or Neang Nung and consists of two long walls and two short walls, called "Snok
Khawls. The base of the sound box is called Cherng Pean.
Originally these instruments were highly decorated with inlay and carvings
on the sides of the sound box, now they are simpler. The sound bars are
made of bamboo or wood and are suspended from strings attached to the two
walls, Khawls ; this helps the resonance of the bars.
Each of the twenty- one sound bars are the same width, but not the same
length, as the length determines the pitch of the bar. Those on the left,
produce the lowest sound. The furthest to the left and the lowest, therefore,
is F , which is around 40mm long. The highest note, is the twenty-
first bar, which is around 30 mm long and makes the sound E .
Under each of the sound bars, are small round knobs of mixed lead and bees
wax, to assist fine tuning of the bars. Using two beaters made of bamboo,
with the heads covered in rolled cloth plays the Roneat Ek. Sometimes the
heads are waxed using wax from a special tree to assist the sound as the
beater hits the bars. There are two kinds of beaters according to the orchestra
in which the Roneat is being played. For example, harder beaters are used
for the Pin Pheat Orchestra, while softer beaters known as Onlung Melun
are used for the performance of Mahory music.
There are additional differences in sound, when the Roneat plays in the
Pin Peat orchestra and when it plays in Mahory, with the sound of one slightly
lower and the other higher.
note: click on the sound link to listen to the sound of the instrument.
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