Thai music style
Thailand retains cultural connections with the two great centers of Asian civilizations, India and China. Though Thailand was never colonized by Western powers, pop music and other forms of European and American music have become extremely influential. The two most popular styles of modern Thai music are mor lam and luk thung, which have important influences from Laos and other neighboring nations.
The music of Thailand though presently permeated by the influence of American and European pop music and other such western forms. On the other hand the dance has been comparatively free from such influence and it has been the main dramatic art form of Thailand.
Thai string instruments include a three-stringed zither, a three-stringed spike fiddle that is held vertically, and a hammered dulcimer, which is a very popular Thai traditional instrument.
Thousands of people are listening to Thai music these days. Some of them are tourists that have just returned from adventure holidays in Thailand. Others are long time friends of Thailand that have been to Thailand on holidays many times. The final group are Thai people working or studying abroad who just miss their home country. Please enjoy this selection of Thai music.
|Ber nee mai mee kon khong ther
|Jep muarai ko to maa
|Jud on khong chaan yu tee hua jai
|Khon Mai Kap Rua
|Khon nee Phom Kor
|Kon mai sam kan
|Kon sud tai
|Rhuang bon tieng
|Ya Pung Tam hay Sia Jai
Pop and Rock
By the 1930s, however, Western classical music, showtunes, jazz and tango were popular. Soon, jazz grew to dominate Thai popular music, and Khru Eua Sunthornsanan soon set up the first Thai jazz band. The music he soon helped to invent along with influential band Suntharaporn was called pleng Thai sakorn, which incorporated Thai melodies with Western classical music. This music continued to evolve into luk grung, a romantic music that was popular with the upper-class.
By the 1960s, Western rock was popular and Thai artists began imitating bands like Cliff Richard & the Shadows; this music was called wong shadow, and it soon evolved into a form of Thai pop called string. The following decade saw Rewat Buddhinan beginning to use the Thai language in rock music, and by the 1980s, this had evolved into what was called string. The 70s also saw the rise of protest songs called pleng phua cheewit.
The earliest Pleng Phua Cheewit (songs for life) band was called Caravan, and they soon emerged at the forefront of a movement for democracy. In 1976, police and rightwing activists attacked students at Thammasat University; Caravan, along with other bands and activists, fled for the rural hills. There, Caravan continued playing music for local farmers, and composed what is now their most famous song, "Khon Gap Kwaii".
In the 1980s, pleng phua cheewit re-entered the mainsteam with a grant of amnesty to dissidents. Bands like Carabao became best-sellers and incorporated sternly nationalistic elements in their lyrics. By the 1990s, pleng phua cheewit had fallen from the top of the Thai charts, though artists like Pongsit Kamphee continued to command a large audience.
String pop took over mainstream listeners in Thailand in the 90s, and bubblegum pop stars like Tata Young and Asanee & Wasan became best-sellers. Simultaneously, Britpop influenced alternative rock artists like Modern Dog became popular.
The Thai dance is divided into high art and low art. The classical dance is considered is considered as high art, while the folk dance is said to be low art. The classical dance includes Khon, Lakhon and Fawn Thai whereas the folk type includes Likay, Ram Muay and Wai khru.
The folk dances are much more original in nature. Wai Khru and Ram Muay are both ritualized dance while Likay is performed at the village festivals.
There is a large minority of Laotians in Isan, the Northeastern region of Thailand, and they are known for mor lam music. Mor lam has long had an affinity with luk thung, and many of the genre's biggest stars, like Chalermphol Malaikham and Jintara Poonlarp, are heavily influenced by luk thung. Mor lam is a distinctively Laotian genre, and can be characterized by rapid-fire, rhythmic vocals and a funk feel to the percussion. Mor lam is played by a mor khaen, who plays the khaen, and a lead singer also called a mor lam.
There are about fifteen regional variations of mor lam, and there are modern versions as well. Mor lam sing is the best-known of these, nad has become popular all over Isan, as well as in Laos. Some conservative Laotians have criticized this as the commercialization of traditional cultures.
The people of Isan are also known for kantrum, which is much less famous for mor lam. Kantrum is played by Cambodians living near the border with Cambodia. It is a swift and very traditional dance music. In its purest form, cho-kantrum, singers, percussion and fiddles dominate the sound. A more modern form using electric instrumentation arose in the mid-1980s. Later in the decade, Darkie became the genre's biggest star, and he crossed into mainstream markets in the later 1990s.
The earliest Thai ensembles were called piphat, and they included woodwind and percussion instruments, originally in order to accompany the theater. Another ensemble type, khruang sai, added stringed instruments, while mahori further added melodic percussion instruments.
The Thai scale includes seven equal notes, instead of a mixture of tones and semitones. Instruments improvise around the central melody.
written by Micky, March 24, 2010