Lanna is a specific term to call the upper northern region of Thailand which was established over seven centuries ago and used to be a kingdom until about 225 years ago when it has become a part of the Kingdom of Thailand. Now, the term is also used as an adjective to define some characteristic of art and culture of the region. Lanna music in general means traditional music which has been performed and transmitted through generations in a rather conservative way, i.e. in oral transmission. The most outstanding of Lanna conservative vocal music is the saw.
The saw vocal music is usually sung by a male and a female singers, who have been known as jangsaw, and take alternative turns in singing. There is also an ensemble playing accompaniment and/or counterpart music. In Chiang Mai, the capital of the Lanna kingdom, the ensemble consists of a set of bamboo pipes and a plucked lute, of which the musicians are called jangpee. In Nan, an important province in the eastern part of the region, the musicians play one or two plucked lutes and a fiddle in the ensemble.
There are many song forms in the saw music, the words for which are in poetic forms which are generally called khaosaw.