Samphor

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The samphor (Khmer: សំភោរ; also romanized as sampho) is a small barrel drum indigenous to Cambodia. It has two heads and is played with both hands. The player of the sampho leads the pinpeat (a classical ensemble of wind and percussion instruments), setting the tempo and beat. The samphor is analogous to the taphon used in Thailand.

The samphor is made by hollowing out a single block of wood into a barrel shape. Both ends are covered with calfskin, tightened by strips of gut or rattan. One head of the drum is larger than the other to allow differing tones. The maker "tunes" each head by applying a circle of paste made of rice and ashes.

The drummer makes use of four distinct strokes: an open and closed stroke for each head. Each of these four sounds has a Cambodian name:

Open stroke, small head (ting)
Closed stroke, small head (tip)
Open stroke, large head (theung)
Closed stroke, large head (tup)

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