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Pi Me or its other name is Pi Lu is a reed airophonic instrument of Lu minority in the Northwest mountainous region of Vietnam.
Pi Me is made from a hornless bamboo tube of 50 to 70 cm length, 1.5 cm diameter. The tube is closed with node at one end. Right at the node, a rectangular hole of 1 cm x 2.5 cm 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 29 cm distant from blowing hole. The second hole is located at the front side of the tube and 2 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.
Pi Me (or Pi Lu) has a range as follow: Do1, Re1, Mi1, Fa1, Sol1, La1, Si1. When playing Pi Lao Luong, instrumentalist holds the it vertically down, while holding in his mouth the whole reed and then continuously blowing so as to produce unceasing sounds.
Timbres of Pi Me are ringing, cracked and somewhat mixed with overtones. Clear and lyrical sounds go well with melodies of sweet and deep sentimental feelings.
Being the exclusive instrument of men, Pi Me is played in either solo, or in ensemble at love-song singing activities, and it is also an instrument the young men make use to express their feelings to young ladies.
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)