The kong vong toch (Khmer: គង់តូច) is a number of gongs that are attached to a circle-shaped rack, closely resembling its larger relative, the kong thom. Both instruments belong to the percussion family of traditional Khmer instruments, along with the roneat ek, roneat dek, and roneat thung. These instruments are all performed in the pinpeat and mahaori orchestras. The kong toch is made of three parts; the frame of the gong circle, the gongs themselves, and the gong mallets.
Construction and Design
The frame of the gong circle is made from a rattan vine which is smoothed and rounded into shape. Four lengths of the vine are taken to make one frame. The lengths are divided into two pairs, a shorter pair for the inner circle and a longer pair for the outer. The instrument is held up with 16 supports, made of neang nuen, krennoonf, or beng wood. The gong circle is held together with six crossbars, designed to keep the distance between the inner and outer frames fixed. Copper wires are wrapped around the length of each support post, one on the inner and one on the outer.
There are 16 gong heads, which cover a range of pitches. They are rounded and flat in shape with a raised knob in the middle, known as the nipple. The nipple is crucial to the sound, as this is the part being struck by the player. In addition to this, the gongs are tuned by sticking promor (a lead and wax combination) to the underside of the nipple. Two holes are drilled on either side of the gong so it can be suspended in the frame with copper wire. The same gong mallets are used for the kong toch and the kong thom. The mallets have a 25 cm long stick. The heads are made from the earlier mentioned promor, which is then wrapped in four or five layers of cloth and stitched with nylon thread.
The kong toch's 16 gong heads are tuned accordingly: (from lowest to highest pitch) ·D ·Eb ·F ·G ·A ·Bb ·C ·D ·E ·F ·G ·A ·Bb ·C ·D ·E
1. Khean, Yun. "kong vong toch and kong vong thom." Apakaraṇ tantri purāṇ Kambujā = Traditional musical instruments of Cambodia.. 2nd ed. Phnom Penh: Aṅgakār Aparaṃvidyāss̄tra niṅ Vappadham nai Sahaprajājāti, 2003. 162-171. Print.
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