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Variation is normally used for melodic development of Western music, Thai classical music and also found in music of Northeast Thailand as well. The purpose of study was to know the variation of Thongsai Tabtanon’s ancient lute (phin) music and use them as examples to explain the content of variation. This is a qualitative research using ethnomusicology method of study consisting of document study, field work, and collecting data by observation, interviewing and using ethnography analysis. Field work was during October and September, 2018.
The 3 items of research founding were; 1) there were 3 ancient lute music pieces, lai-lamploen (khunchang-khunphaen), lai-phraramdoendong (sanoo-bao), and lai-tangwai (lao accent). 2) Thongsai’s lute tuning between 1st and 2nd string was in fifth, E - A (E4 -8.7 Cents, A3 +3.3 Cents). 3) There were four places of variation found in 3 pieces; 1 in lai-lamploen, 2 in lai-phraram-doendong, and 1 in lai-tangwai. The melodic variation were always used diminution and augmentation followed by ornamentation. Most of those still used the principle notes in original tempo but had syncopation in some point. However, Thongsai Tabtanon’s ancient lute music still has other contents and cultural knowledge that worth to be found.