Khamu tube zither

Khamu bring

Several types of Khamu idiochordal tube zither are found, varying according to the region and the subgroup. The instruments also vary according to the type of bamboo used, leading to them being given different names. Like most Khamu instruments, they are made from freshly cut bamboo for a particular occasion and often discarded once played.

The one shown here was made by the Khamu Rok group in Luang Namtha, the body being about 40cms. long and 9 in diameter. It has two strings only, resting on two wide movable bridges and separated by a thin piece of bamboo making a membrane, the strings lodged in a groove cut at each end. The strings are bound at each end with thin cane. a 2-3 cm. square aperture is cut midway along the length. The strings are struck with a thin bamboo beater, causing the string and the membrane to vibrate above the airhole.

Unlike the Karen zithers, this type of instrument (whcih could be called more properly tube dulcimers rather than zither) is made from bamboo tubes that are open at each end. One end is held to the player’s body to increase resonance; the other end is alternately opened and closed by the player’s hand to provide a sort of swooping vibrato effect. The instrument  is more percussive than melodic. Other Khamu instruments are made with closed nodes and strings can be plucked as well as struck. Sometimes the body of the instrument is struck, as well as the membrane or strings to imitate the sound of gongs or drums.

Khamu musician Luang namtha

Be the first to start a conversation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: