5W 1H about Khmer Harp
Khmer Harp (Khmer Pin) is one of Cambodian musical instruments, which is performed in traditional and classical music of Cambodia. Khmer harp has been newly reintroduced within these two years after being disappeared for centuries without a certain reason.
What: What is harp? The harp is a stringed musical instrument which is curved like a boat with a long neck and has a number of individual strings running at an angle to its soundboard. The more stings, the more beautiful sound it is. Its strings are made from silk starting from 6, 8, 13, 16, or 22 strings, while its soundboard is made from animal hides—the skin of snake, goat, or cow. The golden head of harp is decorated into different sharps—the head of dragon, garuda, swan, or lion— which are the representatives of powerful creatures. Its body is made by native wood that could help producing loud and attractive sound. Khmer harp can be in any colors, and it costs from 400$ up.
Why: Why harp?
Harp is made in a creative, flexible, and beautiful feature. It functions so many roles. It can play alone or with other instruments both traditional and international. Some people believe harp could bring them luck besides the good look.
Where and When? Harp can be placed anywhere and played anytime. Harp is seen in almost every single performance and orchestra including Pinpeat, Mohory, and Opera except in the funeral. The harp can play in any national and international events and festivals.
Who: Who is a harp player?
Anyone can play harp, yet for those who born with talent may need only 6 months. And for those who born with no talent need double or even triple times comparing to those talented people, which means they need one to two years to be able to play harp. Until now, there are only around 10 harp players; the first harp player is Snguon Kavei Sereyroth, 14-year-old, a daughter of harp creator Keo SonanKavei.
How: How Khmer Harp has been revived?
Although this ancient musical instrument is lost for centuries, its image remained and recorded on the sculpture of Cambodian temples—Angkor Wat and Bayon. According to the temple walls, Khmer harp was first existed since 7th century, was disappeared after 12th century, and was newly revived in 2012 by senior Cambodian musicians Keo SonanKavei and Him Sophy together with a French ethnomusicologist Patrick Kersalé. Resulting from the image on temple wall, this long-lost sound has been finally brought to reality after being reinstalled again and again. However, nobody is sure how to play this stringed instrument or what it should sound like as it went unheard for centuries.
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