Kse diev ខ្សែដៀវ
Khmer musician Yoeun Mek, a master of the tro u fiddle, experiments with a one-stringed kse diev. Mek met kse diev master, Sok Duch, at Wat Bo in 2001.
String instrument
Other namesksae diev, say diev, sa diev, khsae muoy, khse muoy

String instrument

Plucked string instrument
Hornbostel–Sachs classification311.211[1]
("Musical bow cum stick" (subeset of stick zithers, further subset of bar zithers), musical bow cum stick, with rigid string carrier, curved flexible end, one attached resonator gourd.)
Related instruments

The kse diev (Khmer: ខ្សែដៀវ) or khse mhoy (Khmer: ខ្សែមួយ) is a Cambodian musical bow with a single copper or brass string and a gourd resonator.[2][3][4] The resonator is held to the bow with a nylon cord and is open at the other end. The nylon cord holds on the resonator and acts as a loop around the copper string, bringing it to the stick. The nylon loop acts as the nut on a guitar, the place below which the string vibrates and sound begins.

To play the instrument, the musician holds the open end of the gourd against his or her chest and plucks the copper string with a "tubular" plectrum of copper or plastic, worn on the fourth finger.[4] The musician controls the pitch of the notes by applying pressure on the string near the gourd with the first finger, moving up and down on the string.[4] Pressure is applied and released to let the note sound; pressure and release are tools the musician can use to bend sound or control the way the sound falls off at the end of a pitch.[4] Harmonics may be adjusted with the left hand by moving it to open and close the seal of the gourd against the player's chest.[5] A twelve-note range is normal.[4] The kse dieve is often a solo instrument, but it may be played as well in the aareak orchestra, the traditional wedding orchestra (plenh kar boran) and the plenh areak ("magic healing orchestra").[4][6]

When the United Nations helped Cambodia to assess its cultural heritage, the kse diev was considered to be the country's oldest musical instrument.[4] Whether or not it was the oldest, the instrument was played in the Angkor court of the Khmer Empire, and the instrument appeared in a bas-relief carving from the 12 or 13th century at the Bayon temple.[7] According to ethnomusicologist , Patrick Kersalé, "the first iconography [of the kse diev] in Cambodia dates back from the 7th c. in Sambor Prei Kuk."[6]

Very few kse diev players survived the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s and the instrument almost disappeared from Cambodia.[7][6] The instrument has been saved by the remaining "master of the kse diev", Sok Duch (សុខ ឌុច), teaching others his instrument.[7][6] Since 1979, Sok Duch and now some of his students have been adding new players to the country's pool of musicians. With a group of players in existence to keep the kse diev from becoming extinct, the instrument and its traditional repertoire face the same big challenges that other traditional instruments face, the competition posed by modern music. Musicians are working now to make the instrument more popular.[8]

The kse muoy is a variant of the instrument, having an extra gourd on the bottom.[9]

Kan Tom Ruy (កន្ទុំរុយ), a Cambodian, playing an amplified kse diev


Bas relief from the north gallery of Angkor Wat, constructed in the 16th century AD, showing a musician playing a kse diev.[10][11]
  1. ^ McGraw, Andrew (2007). "The Pia's Subtle Sustain: Contemporary Ethnic Identity and the Revitalization of the Lanna "Heart Harp"". Asian Music. 38 (2): 115–142. doi:10.1353/amu.2007.0035. JSTOR 4497058. S2CID 194111957. [Google-search extract of material from book (from Summer-Autumn, 2007 issue of Asian Music) for Phin pia:] (Hornbostel, Sachs classification 311.211) and is extremely simple by design, consisting of a shaft of wood, a coconut-shell resonator at the top end, and
  2. ^ Sam-Ang, Sam (2008). "The Khmer People of Cambodia". In Miller, Terry E.; Williams, Sean (eds.). The Garland Handbook of Southeast Asian Music. New York: Taylor & Francis. p. 95.
  3. ^ Nikolova, Ivanka, ed. (2000). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Musical Instruments, From all eras and regions of the world. Bulgaria: Kibea Publishing Company. p. 86. [caption illustrating image:] Musical bow (sa-din), Cambodia
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Khean, Yun; Dorivan, Keo; Lina, Y; Lenna, Mao. Traditional Musical Instruments of Cambodia (PDF). Kingdom of Cambodia: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. pp. 62–66.
  5. ^ Tangted, Watchara; Chonpairot, Jarernchai; Pikulsri, Chalermsak (2018). "Khse-muoy in the Kingdom of Cambodia" (PDF). Journal of Graduate School, Pitchayatat, Ubon Ratchathani Rajabhat University. 13 (2): 291. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d Kersalé, Patrick. "Monochord stick zither – ksae diev". Soundsofangkor.org. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  7. ^ a b c "Sok Duch, Master of the Kse Diev". Experience Cambodian Living Arts. 28 April 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2019 – via YouTube.
  8. ^ Dara Saoyuthnea (Producer). ខ្សែដៀវ [One String] (Motion Picture) (in Khmer). Cambodia: Dara Saoyuthnea (Producer). [Song Sang, Associate Country Manager, Cambodian Living Arts:] Kse diev is one of the instruments that Cambodian Living Arts have been supporting for its revival...Now it is surviving we are trying to make it more popular... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50sVTrNPghM
  9. ^ Piyal Bhattacharya; Shreetama Chowdhury (January–March 2021). "How the Ancient Indian Vīṇā Travelled to Other Asian Countries: A Reconstruction through Scriptures, Sculptures, Paintings and Living Traditions" (PDF). National Security. Vivekananda International Foundation. 4 (1): 53.
  10. ^ Kersalé, Patrick. "Monochord zither". soundsofangkor.org. Retrieved 13 July 2019. Angkor Wat, north gallery. 16th century
  11. ^ Kersalé, Patrick. "Monochord zither". soundsofangkor.org. Retrieved 13 July 2019. [Kersalé lists dates for different images that are useful to examine early Southeast Asian musical instruments, under the section 'Spatiotemporal marks for iconography.' His list helps to make clear the varying dates for Angkor Wat artwork:] Angkor Wat, west & south galleries: early 12th century...Angkor Wat, north gallery: 16th century...Angkor Wat, frescoes of the central tower: probably 16th century.