What Kind of Music Is That?
As I walked into the sports hall, a massive drone of loud music greeted me. Rock & Roll, I guess, although I can’t be sure—I am not into that kind of music. I was excited because it was going to be my first encounter with Muay Thai fights.
The Rock & Roll didn’t give way to the beautiful music I heard later that evening. My son, Klaas, forgot to tell me that there was special music with a Muay Thai fight when he dragged me along to the gala, so that pleasantly surprised me. That night I didn’t hear the nuances. I learned about those later on.
Sarama or Wong Pee Glong
In Spain you will hear the music coming out of the speakers. That is for practical reasons, since a live Thai band isn’t available most of the time. Which is a pity, because a live band will respond to the atmosphere of the fight and play faster and louder if the fight gets heavier or towards the end of the fight.
The band consists of four musicians playing the “Wong Pee Glong,” the Muay Thai music, also called “Sarama.”
Different kinds of music go with the different parts of the fight. Listen to them here:
- Wai Khru Ram Muay
- Round 1
- Round 2
- Round 3
- Round 4
- Round 5
When you compare the music of Round 1 and Round 5 you can clearly hear the difference in rhythm and intention.
Traditional Instruments For a Traditional Sound
The most important instrument of the Wong Pee Glong is the flute, the “Pee Chawaa,” resembling a kind of oboe or clarinet. It is originally from India and refined by the Javanese. Hence, the name, which translates to “Java Pipe.” It’s a reed instrument with a very specific sound.
The Glong Kaek are a pair of Thai drums played by two musicians. They are different in size and tone. The higher-toned drum is referred to as tua pu (male) and the lower-toned drum as tua mia (female). Like the congas, they are played with palms and fingers.
The Ching is a brass percussion instrument, held by the cord in the hands and is not very big. The name is what it sounds like, a high melodious, chiming sound. The Ching takes care of beating the rhythm.
Enchanted or Annoyed?
One of my CDs is called “Buddhist Monks of Maitri Vihar Monastery” and I listen to it regularly. Of course it is not the same as Muay Thai music, but it means I am used to listen to music that is not from our part of the world.
How about you? Are you mesmerized by the Wong Pee Glong or do you think it is an annoying kind of music?
In 1984 she participated in a Muay Thai classes for 2 months. The teacher was Thai, born in the Netherlands. It wasn’t quite her thing at the time and she switched to yoga, but with a long detour she is again interested in Muay Thai.
She is a Dutch graphic designer and internet entrepreneur.
- Sean "Muay Thai Guy" Fagan owns & operates the largest online Muay Thai community and the #1 training resource for nak muay of all levels.