Pi joom (also spelled bee joom, bpee joom, pii jum, pee chum, etc.), alternatively known as pi saw (also spelled pi so, bee saw, etc.) and look bee kaen, comes from the Lanna culture of Northern Thailand. Traditionally three or four end-blown free reed pipes are cut from the same length of bamboo and the full set is known as pi joom see. Each of these particular instruments has six fingerholes (and a tuning hole that is never fingered) and a range of a minor seventh, although some pi joom have seven fingerholes and cover a range of one octave. The largest instrument of the set is called pi mae (ปี่แม). It is 70cm long and its scale starts on the D below middle C:
The next largest is called pi klang (ปี่กลาง) and it sounds a fifth higher than the pi mae:
The next larget is called pi koy (ปี่ก้อย) and sounds an octave above the pi mae:
The smallest instrument of the set is called pi lek (ปตัด) and sounds one octave above the pi klang:
Each instrument has a brass free reed set near the closed end of the pipe:
The reeds of the pi mae and pi klang are about 22mm long; the reed of the pi koy is about 20mm and that of the pi lek about 18mm. During use, the player holds the end of the pipe in his mouth, completely enclosing the reed. Traditionally, it is played as part of a pi joom ensemble, although similar free reed pipes are found used as solo instruments throughout Southeast Asia.
A YouTube playlist devoted to the pi joom.
A Brief History of Mouth Blown Free Reed Instruments
What Is A Free Reed?
Origins Of The Free Reed
Eastern Free Reed Instruments
A Selective Discography Of Asian Free Reed Instruments
Western Free Reed Instruments
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