Aside from cooking classes, my other goal coming to Chiang Mai was to take lessons in Lanna music instruments with Manop Thammapoondinaj, musician, instrument maker and owner of Music House 2 Apartment, a traditional music instrument store with a homestay at the apartment. Google led me to his FB page and after quick exchanges at messenger (helped by Google translate), set-up a visit to his place. The store wasn’t difficult to find as there was a large sign and it was in Google maps (what would life be without Google?). Easy enough to navigate on board an Uber ride.
When I arrived, Manop greeted me warmly and led me to his shop—a music collector’s paradise! Aside from Thai and Lanna music instruments, there were African drums, Chinese ocarinas, and even an Australian Aborigine didgeridoo— all made in Thailand! Talk about globalization and the market for world music instruments. He kindly demonstrated some of the instruments.
My instrument of choice was the pinpia, a unique 4-stringed struck zither. I actually hesitated buying it and was thinking of getting the sao u (bowed lute) instead as the pinpia cost TH 4, 500. But as the Chinese student from Shanghai who wad there learning the pinpia, she chose it because it was unique. So pinpia it is. Fortunately, credit cards are accepted.
It wasn’t easy to play as the bigger string tuned to A in order to play E and A octave higher, one needed to press the string a bit with the 2nd finger while striking with the 3rd and quickly releasing both. An hour later, I already had a blister on my 3rd finger and I had only learned to play 3 notes!
With the high cost of the instrument, I have to make sure I can play it. Anyway, lessons are free.