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History and background of Court Dance

Dance Costumes & Dance Characters

Royal Dance Spectacles

Classical Court Dance Music

Masked Theatre (Lakhon Khol)

Shadow Theatre (Nang Sbek)

Traditional Cambodian Music Discography

Skor (drums) are very important in many Khmer orchestras because, they help to regulate the tempo, more importantly in dance they control the gestures and movements of the dancers and actually serves as a kind of musical cue for getting from one movement to the next.  However in the pin-peat orchestra it goes beyond on that.  The drums are always placed at the front of the orchestra because, it has always been the tradition, unlike other orchestras where the musicians just find a spot and sit down ready to perform.  The two drums skor thom and samphor would sometimes lead the orchestra in a traditional performances.  Candles and incense sticks would sometimes be lit and placed on the drums to invite and invoke the spirits .


Skor samphor or generally called samphor is a two headed barrel drum mounted horizontally on a stand and is permanently attached with two cords underneath the drum.  The body of the drum is usually hollowed out from a single solid piece of wood from any kind of tree.  One head of the drum is slightly larger than the other because, the samphor needs to produce two different pitch.  The two heads are covered with cow hide and is laced with rattan or strips of leather to tighten the heads. 


Skor samphor

The head of the samphor has tuning paste because, the more heavier the application of ash from a burnt branch of a palm mixed with cooked rice and sometimes bread is also added the deeper the sound.  The samphor is played with both hands.

The samphor has been known for centuries there are depictions of instruments on bas-reliefs of Angkor, also the samphor serves a ritualistic and entertainment role right through to the present. Also the samphor is often associated with the pin-peat orchestra and is the most important drum in the orchestra because, it leads the orchestra.  The samphor is equally important in accompanying the solo playing of the sralay (oboe) in freestyle-boxing pieces.


Skor thom are two large bass drums that have buffalo skin heads that are struck with two wooden beaters.  Sometimes the drums are struck on the sides with beaters.  The two drums gives two un-tuned pitches. One drum will sound more tighter and louder, while the other drum will have a loose and more flatter sound.

Skor thom

Skor thom is usually made from strong but light wood. The longs are 50 centimetres long and is 46 centimetres in diametre at the centre and at the end about 40 centimetres.  The drum is hollowed out from a single solid block of wood for it's entire length and thickness of 1 centimetre.

The skor thom is played adding a dramatic hightlight to the compositions.  As accompaniment music to the dance, they would emphasize certain movements of the dancers thus giving a more dramatic colouring to the development of the dance, making the dance more lively spectacle to watch.