Ethnomusicology of the Pi-oo, Khmer-Thai people socio- culture’s reed instrument in Surin province, Thailand

Author: Anak Charanyananda (Mahidol University College of Music, Thailand)
Speaker: Anak Charanyananda
Topic: Semiotics and Semiology
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2019 General Session


This research project, Ethnomusicology of the Pi-oo, Khmer-Thai people Socio-culture’s reed instrument in Surin province, Thailand, aims to explore socio-cultural and musical context of the Pi-oo, a double reed woodwind type instrument, as well as to analyze the musical characteristics of the Pi-oo’s rending in the most popular Kantrum music ensemble.

Ethnomusicological research methodology was employed. Data collection was conducted by formally and informally interviewing key informants including native musicians, instrument makers, and musical experts.

Results show that the Pi-oo has been a significant musical instrument of the Khmer people for a long time. It is still prevalent among the Khmer native people, particularly in the areas of Muang district and Prasaat district. The pi-oo has always been played as the principal instrument in the Kantrum ensemble, supporting the singing and other instrumental solos. While the Pi-oo functions as the improvised supporter, various specific idiomatic techniques are manipulated into the melodic elaboration. The unique sound of the Pi-oo appears regularly in the ornamenting of drone, wavering tone, trill by seconds or thirds, turn, grace note, and, very much, the special Pi-oo, gool (a Pi-oo specific identical cadential formula).

Keywords: ethnomusicology, Pi-oo, Kantrum music, indigenous music in lower Northeast Thailand