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Pi Lao Luong

Is a name given to a popular airophonic instrument with free-vibrated reed of Thai minority in Son La province.

Pi Lao Luong is made from a hornless bamboo tube of 78 to 80 cm length, 1.5 cm diameter. The tube is closed with node at one end. Right at the node, a rectangular hole of 0.7cm x 2cm dimension is pierced and placed with a bronze reed of isosceles triangular shape. There are 7 finger holes on the tube. The first finger hole is at the backside of the tube and 24cm distant from blowing hole. The second hole is located at the front side of the tube and 3 cm from the first hole. The other five holes are straightly arranged with the second one and in equal distance of 3 cm, except for the fourth and fifth holes that are 6 cm from each other. Between the reed and the second hole, an added hole is made and has its edge formed with black beeswax and then is covered with a hornless bamboo membrane or spider eggshell. When the instrument is played, this membrane is vibrated making cracked sounds. Pi Lao Luong has following range: La, Do1, Re1, Mi1, Fa1, Sol1, La1, Si1, Do2 When playing Pi Lao Luong, instrumentalist holds the it horizontally down, while holding in his mouth the whole reed and then continuously blowing so as to produce unceasing sounds.
Being the exclusive instrument of men, Pi Lao Luong plays an important role in daily life of Thai young men.

Courtesy  Vietnam Datacommunication Company (VDC) and Vietnamese Institute for Musicology (V.I.M)
Text and Photos courtesy by Vietnam Datacommunication Company (VDC)
and Vietnamese Institute for Musicology (V.I.M)