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The pi nai is a type of musical instrument with a quadruple reed played in the Thai piphat ensemble. The objectives of this research are: 1) to study the characteristic of pi nai , 2) to study the context of pi nai, and 3) to describe and analyze the pi nai in local piphat ensembles. This dissertation is a qualitative research which employs the methodological study in ethnomusicology. Data were collected based on fieldwork from 12 samples of pi nai players. The analysis was based on structural functional theory, cultural diffusion theory, aesthetics theory and Thai music theory. The results of this research are as follows: 1) Pi nai is found in 4 sizes; 2) Pi nai is found widespread in all regions in Thailand. Pi nai has an important role in the piphat ensemble; 3) Musical pieces for pi nai are divided into 4 groups: melodies for beginners, melodies for piphat ensembles, melodies for folk ensembles, and special melodies for pi nai. The pi nai is played in various styles of melodic embellishment, therefore many patterns of melodic variation, fingering techniques, tongue techniques, and breathing techniques are applied during the performance.
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