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date: 13 November 2019

Phīn [phīn, sueng]locked

  • David W. Hughes,
  • David Morton
  •  and Terry E. Miller


[phīn, sueng]

Generic term for Thai plucked chordophones. The word derives from the same root as the South Asian bīṇ and vīṇā. Evidence exists for its use in Thailand by the 13th century, apparently designating a stick zither (such as the northern Thai phīn nam tao and phīn phia, also known as pia). In northeastern Thailand and Laos the term phīn usually denotes a plucked lute, quite variable in form, resembling the krajappī but with a straight neck and two to four metal strings and five to eight frets. The instrument sometimes accompanies the khāēn (mouth organ). The term phīn can also refer to an idiochord half-tube zither made from bamboo, with two ‘strings’ cut from the cortex and raised from the body by small bamboo bridges. The strings are struck simultaneously by a large plectrum. The instrument, now rare, was used to provide a rhythmical drone to accompany singing.

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