Last update: February 27, 2021
What are the plants used in instrument making in Cambodia? One can distinguish the white woods ឈើ used for monoxyle instruments (drums, harp), the red woods and precious black woods for some drums (skor daey), the resonance boxes (roneat) and the structure of the fiddles (tro, tro Khmer). Let's not forget bamboo, or rather bamboos, of which various species are used in the making of instruments by both Khmers and ethnic minorities, and calabashes khlok ឃ្លោក.
russey ឬស្សី: large bamboo growing in bunches (roneat ek/thong xylophone blades, jew's harp).
pok: fine bamboo notably used for the khloy flute of the Khmers.
Two types of calabashes are used in the making of instruments in Cambodia, both of the Lagenaria genus. The first, robust, is used by ethnic minorities to make the resonance boxes of their zithers (stick zither, tube zither with metal strings). The second, fragile, is used as a resonance chamber for the Khmer kse diev zither.
This cucurbitaceae of the genus Lagenaria grows wild in the Cardamom Mountains. But it is cultivated exclusively for the manufacture of the soundbox of the kse diev zithers or as human food. Indeed, musicians are looking for thin walls in order to have a great resonance, which excludes its other utilitarian use, such as a container, which is the case for gourds grown in Ratanakiri.