Dienstag, 27. Juli 2010

Southeast Asian Music pt. 1

One of the common misconception about Southeast Asian music is that they are all the same. This is not true of course there are fundamental differences in the construction and presentation of the music. If we look at modern Thai and Khmer pipat/pinpeat and mahori, there are subtle but important differences between the way the songs are constructed. These includes, how the melody shifts and how each music sequence start. The are different despite of their common ancestry. Musical genre is much like biological evolution: They change, adapting to either culture, region, class, religion, and time. Eventually, a musical tradition with common ancestry will become totally different from it's ancestor. Even close cultural neighbors like Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos will have differences in the construction of music. The court music of these nation are descendant of an older tradition dating back to Angkor but have since diverged. The similarities of the ensembles are noticeable but so is the differences.

(Pictured to the left is a crocodile zither formerly used in Burmese music. The use has since died but an analogous form of the instrument is still used by Thai and Khmer classical ensemble.)

Miller, T., & Sam, S. (1995). The Classical Musics of Cambodia and Thailand: A Study of Distinctions. Ethnomusicology. 39(2), 229-243.

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