The pinpeat (Khmer: ពិណពាទ្យ) orchestra or musical ensemble performs the ceremonial music of the royal courts and temples of Cambodia. The orchestra consists of approximately nine or ten instruments, mainly wind and percussion (including several varieties of xylophone and drums). It accompanies court dances, masked plays, shadow plays, and religious ceremonies. The pinpeat is analogous to the piphat ensemble of Thailand.
According to Chuon Nath's Khmer dictionary, the 'pinpeat' is composed of the Sanskrit terms vina (វិណ) referring to a chapey which was formerly used as the premiere instrument in this ensemble and vadya (វាទ្យ) referring to an ensemble of instruments. Chuon Nath mentions, the term piphat was also used among Cambodians familiar with the Thai language; this can be attributed to the former annexation of the northern provinces of Cambodia.
Instruments used in pinpeat ensembles
This list presents instruments which are or have been used in various pinpeat ensembles.
- roneat - xylophones
- roneat - metallophones
- sralai - a quadruple-reed
- sralai thom - a large quadruple-reed flute
- sralai toch - a small quadruple-reed flute
- khloy - a type of bamboo flute (was used in place of the sralai in the past)
- chhing (chhap) - finger cymbals
- krap - wooden clappers (presently rarely used)
- Sam-Ang Sam "Cambodia" in New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed., 2001. pp. 861-863
- Chuon Nath Khmer Dictionary. 1966, Buddhist Institute, Phnom Penh