Name: Chakhe.
Type: Chordophones > Simple > Zithers > Box > Fretted
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 314.122
Tuning: C / G / C
Country: Thailand & Cambodia.
Region: South East Asia.

Portrait of a female musician with a krapeu at the Cambodian Royal Palace, 1880

Description: In Thailand this instrument is called a [in Thai: จะเข้; Chakhe] where in neighbouring Cambodia it is called [in Khmer: ក្រពើ Krapeu] or [in Khmer: តាខេ, takhe, takkhe or charakhe].

Chakhe and krapeu are also related to the Myanmar / Mon mi gyaung [kyam], which has however realistic zoological features and not just the abstract form of a crocodile. More distantly, they are also related to the Indian Veena.

Etymology: The name chakhe is derived from chorakhe [in Thai: จระเข้], meaning “crocodile”. [in Khmer: ក្រពើ Krapeu] means “alligator” or “crocodile” in the Khmer language, as well.

Construction: The chakhe is made of hardwood and stylized in a zoomorphic image of a crocodile. The Chakhe is approximately 20 cm in height and 130 cm 132 cm in length. The “head” portion is 52 cm in length, 28 cm in width and 9 cm 12 cm in depth; the “tail” portion 81 cm in length and 11.5 cm with. The Chakhe has 11 frets where the Krapeu has 12 frets. The frets are made of bone, ivory or wood.

The frets are graduated between 2 cm and 3.5 cm in height, they maybe affixed with wax or glued onto the top of the chakhe or krapeu.

Citations: Bibliography: Terry E. Miller; Sam-Ang Sam [1995]. The Classical Musics of Cambodia and Thailand: A Study of Distinctions. p. 232 ; Terry E. Miller [2008] “Thailand” ~ The Garland Handbook of Southeast Asian Music. Routledge. p. 130 ; Sam-Ang Sam [2008] “The Khmer People of Cambodia” ~ The Garland Handbook of Southeast Asian Music. Routledge. p. 95. Websites: 

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