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The ranat ek (Thai: ระนาดเอก, pronounced [ranâːt ʔèːk], "also xylophone") is a Thai musical instrument in the percussion family that consists of 21 wooden bars suspended by cords over a boat-shaped trough resonator and struck by two mallets. It is used as a leading instrument in the piphat ensemble.
|Roneat ek, ranat ek lek, ranat thum, pattala|
Ranat ek bars are typically made from rosewood (Dalbergia oliveri; Thai: ไม้ชิงชัน; mai ching chan) and they are two types of ranat ek mallets. The hard mallets create the sharp and bright sound, normally used for faster playing. The soft mallets create the mellow and softer tone, used for slower songs.
In the Thai xylophone family, there are several similar instrument with bars made from different types of material, such as metal (ranat ek lek, ranat thum lek) and glass (ranat kaeo). There is another similar Thai xylophone that has a different kind of wooden bar, called “ranat thum”. Its appearance is similar to the ranat ek, but it is lower and wider. It is usually played in accompaniment of a ranat ek. Also, ranat ek is very similar to the Cambodian xylophone called “roneat ek”, and the Burmese bamboo xylophone called "pattala".