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The Wot (pronounced [wòːt] also written as Vot) is a circular panpipe used in the traditional music of Laos and the Isan region of northeastern Thailand. It is often a major component in Pong-Lang ensembles.
The wot, a small compact instrument, inexpensive and beautifully shaped, became one of the musical instruments in Thailand a few decades ago, according to Songsak Pratumsin (Lecturer, College of Dramatic Arts) who invented in 1968.
The wot is typically made of bamboo or Ku (a kind of wood) trunk. In general, the sound is generated by blowing. High or low pitches of volume depend on the diameter and the length of wot or, more specifically, it depends on the volume capacity of the wind that goes through the wot. If the capacity is high, it gives a low tone of sound and vice versa.
The standard wot is composed of 13 pieces of wood and can make four notes following the Isan note scales, which are Sol, La, Do, and Re that can play main music or just a few strokes. The keys can also be adjusted by increasing the notes for the higher key patterns which are La, Do, Re, Mi, Fa, and Sol. The wot generally can create the voice keys up to 6 notes, which can be played for the bigger pattern. Moreover, the customized wots with seven notes can be played for the full musical scale, which is usually more difficult than the normal ones.
Types of Wot
The wot characteristics of form classification are
1. Tail Swing Wot
The former wot is a device for recreation which is typically not considered to be a professional musical instrument because it functions more as a toy. In the past, this type of wot includes the core, which is made of bamboo stalk that has grown in a proper time.
2. Circular Wot (general)
This wot was improved by Songsak Pratumsin by using the main features of the Tail Wot. It produces only five notes, according to the characteristics of the folk pattern.
3. Panel Wot
4. Tail Wot (used to play for fun and joyful rhythm and easy to play)
This wot is used during the harvest season when the farmers have a popular activity called “Wot Throwing Competition”. The one who throws the wot farthest is the winner. The Tail Wot makes two types of noise which are bass and treble, but does not sort into notes nor adjusts the tone playing music. Thus, it is not considered to be a musical instrument.
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