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Thai Jakhay


It is believed that the jakhay is a further development of the earlier phin instruments from India. It is made to be played sitting horizontally on the floor or ground. the player sits on the floor also. In order to make it seem more natural in this position, in the old days the case or body of the instrument was made in eh shape of a crocodile's jaws. However , the body was also made hollow to serve as a resonance chamber. The word for crocodile in Thai is Jaw ra khay , which was gradually shortened to jakhay after it became the name of the instrument. In India the phin type instruments (vina or bina) from which the jakhay was probably evolved were made in the shape of a peacock, the upper end being the tail. This instrument was called ma yu ri , which means peacock. Today the jakhay body is made more simply and usually without carving and can be considered to resemble the body of a crocodile only in a general, rather stylized way.

Also because it is more convenient, today the instrument is made in two parts - the long, narrow neck and the body or sound box, each side of which bulges out. The instrument is made of a hardwood, hollowed outfrom the bottom. When it is finished,another flat thin piece of wood is fastened to the bottom to make the sound box.

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