The Klong put is the Xe Dang language name of a musical instrument of the wind family, air driving-in branch. It is played by ethnic groups in Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) such as the Xe Dang, Bahnar, Gia Rai, Hre, etc. A traditional Klong put consists of many large empty hornless bamboo sections. The length of each section ranges from 60 to 200 cm and a diameter ranging from 5 to 8 cm.
What is the Klong Put?
This woodwind instrument is intended for women. When played, the tubes are laid horizontally and the player must either stand with her back bent or kneel while clapping her hands at a distance of about 10cm to push air into the tubes to produce sounds. Generally, each tube produces only one tone. However, some ethnic groups use the hand to block one end of the tube to produce some different pitches. With this technique, a two-tube Klong put can produce four or five pitches. The Klong put can also be played by two girls at a time.
Meaning of the Klong Put in Vietnamese Culture
Ethnic minority people often play the Kong put on the milpa land during the rice planting time and on the day of closing doors of rice storage. It is believed that hornless bamboo or ordinary bamboo sections of the Klong put are related to those used for containing breed seeds. This belief seems somewhat reasonable because they both give the same sounds when being blown with air. In the breed seeds is existing the spirit of “Mother Rice”. Therefore, if the Klong put is played on the milpa land during the planting time, “Mother Rice” will come and help rice grow rapidly. If one plays the Klong put on the day of closing doors of the rice storage, “Mother Rice” will come along and sleep all winter in the storage, then when the next planting season comes, she will come together with seeds to the milpa land.