Thailand has an incredible variety of popular and traditional musics. This website attempts to make Thai music available to people who are not Thai and also aims to facilitate the exchange of information and views between Thais and non-Thais. Within the region of Southeast Asia Thailand (can be debated - I know) has the longest and most stable musical history. The Thai popular music industry is the most developed in the region and has an unbroken history that extends over 100 years (even through WWII). However, Thai music is generally not available outside Thailand and has not made any impression on Western sensibilities. Tourists are often presented with a small section of the Thai royal music traditions (Thai classical or Thai doem - meaning ‘original) through restaurant or theatre performances. Those game enough to venture to Muay Thai competitions will hear the dulcet tones (actually not at all sweet) of the pi , a reed instrument. Expatriates, particularly those living in Isan (Northeast Thailand) or those married to Isan people, will often be aware of Thai folk, especially Lao-Isan morlam , and the more industrialized and spectacular lukthung . Visitors to Thai night clubs may come across some variants of Thai pop and/or the pseudo-protest genre of phleng phuea chiwit or ‘songs for life'.
Overall, however, the rich tapestry of Thai music is not available to non-Thais and the study of Thai music (both popular and traditional) is still in its infancy in comparison to that of China, Japan, Indonesia and India. Even in Thailand, the study of Thai music (usually popular) is often not considered to be a worthwhile activity.
This website hosts articles on various aspects of Thai music, some scholarly and some more popular in approach, lesson plans for high school teachers, and the Thai 78 rpm Discographical Framework. The two main authors are Dr James Mitchell and Peter Garrity. James has studied and published widely on Thai music and Peter is a very well known figure in the Bangkok lukthung concert scene. Comments in Thai or English are encouraged and every effort to facilitate communication through these comments will be made.
We would like to stress that this website is only for educational purposes and is intended to foster a love of Thai music and Thailand. It will never be for commercial purposes. If any copyright owner sees something that belongs to them and would like it removed please contact me through the Contact page and I will remove it immediately.
The authors would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Australian Thai Institute, an Australian government body that seeks to build links between the two countries. It is hoped that this website will indeed forge lasting chains of happiness between Thailand and Australia.