A Contribution to the Ethnomusicology of Trang
Musical Instruments Collected by American Naturalist William Louis Abbott in 1896
This article presents information about Trang in southern Thailand from two trips there by the American naturalist William Louis Abbott (1860-1936), focusing on twelve locally used musical instruments Abbott collected in 1896 on his first visit. A second visit (late December 1898 to March 1899) provided another opportunity for him to record observations. The musical instruments he collected are now in the Ethnology collection (Department of Anthropology) of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. The information presented here adds to the relatively few 19th-century primary sources for the ethnography and music of southern Thailand. This article also notes similarities between some of these village instruments and the elaborately decorated but structurally similar ones produced under royal patronage for the Thai court, represented within the same Smithsonian collection by other musical instruments received as royal gifts from Thai monarchs.
Brandt, John H. 1961. “The Negrito of Peninsular Thailand”. Journal of the Siam Society, Vol. 49.2, pp. 123-159.
Damrong (Rajanubhab), Prince. 1931. Siamese Musical Instruments. 2nd Edition. Bangkok: The Royal Institute.
Dowsey-Magog, Paul. 2002. “Popular Workers’ Shadow Theatre in Thailand.” Asian Theatre Journal, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 184-211.
Johnson, Irving. 2006. “Little Bear Sells CDs and Ai Theng Drinks Coke: Sacred Clowning and the Politics of Regionalism in South Thailand”. Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia, Vol. 21, No. 2, Dynamics of the Local, pp. 148-177.
Kartomi, Margaret, J. 1995. “’Traditional Music Weeps’ and other Themes in the Discourse on Music, Dance and Theatre of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 366-400.
McQuail, Lisa. 1997. Treasures of Two Nations: Thai Royal Gifts to the United States of America. Washington, D.C.: Asian Cultural History Program, Smithsonian Institution.
Miller, Terry E. 1984. “Reconstructing Siamese Musical History from Historical Sources: 1548-1932.” Asian Music, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 32-42.
Miller, Terry E. and Jarernchai Chonpairot. 1979. “The Musical Traditions of Northeast Thailand.” Journal of the Siam Society, Vol. 67.1, pp. 1-16.
Morton, David. 1970. “Thai Traditional Music: Hot-House Plant or Sturdy Stock.” Journal of the Siam Society, Vol. 58.2, pp. 1-44.
____. 1976. The Traditional Music of Thailand. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Nida Sudasna na Ayudhaya.; Buranee Rachjaibun; Putri Viravaidya, M.R.; Israporn Posayanond; Charles Bernard Mehl; and Support Foundation of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand [=Mūnnithi Songsœ̄m Sinlapāchīp nai Somdet Phranangchao Sirikit Phraborommarachinat]. 2007. Sin Phǣndin = Arts of the Kingdom. Phim khrang rǣk ed. Krung Thep: Mūnnithi Songsœ̄m Sinlapāchīp.
Osterholz, Martin, Lutz Walter, and Christian Roos. 2008. Phylogenetic position of the langur genera Semnopithecus and Trachypithecus among Asian colobines, and genus affiliations of their species groups. BioMed Central [BMC] Evolutionary Biology PMCID: PMC2268674. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2268674/#B21
Sumrongthong, Bussakorn. 2008. “The Blending of Thai-Muslim Musical Performances in Southern Thailand.” Manusya: Journal of Humanities, Special issue No. 16, pp. 99-113.
Taylor, Paul Michael. 2002. A Collector and His Museum: William Louis Abbott (1860-1936) and the Smithsonian. In: Treasure Hunting? The Collectors and the Collecting of Indonesian Artefacts. (Reimar Schefold and Han Vermeulen, eds.) Leiden: Research School of Asian, African, and Amerindian Studies (CNWS), University of Leiden. Mededelingen van het Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde, no. 30, pp. 221-239.
____. 2014. “William Louis Abbott in Thailand: A Research Resource on Southern Thailand in the 1890s.” Journal of the Siam Society, Vol. 102, pp. 143-168.
____. 2015a Thailand’s “Chow Pah Negritos” (Maniq) in 1897 and 1899: Smithsonian Records of W.L. Abbott’s Expeditions to the Trang-Phatthalung Border Highlands. Journal of the Siam Society, Vol. 103, pp. 161-182.
____. 2015b William Louis Abbott in Madagascar: Revisiting Archival and Museum Resources of a Smithsonian Naturalist from the 1890s. Museum Anthropology 38(1), pp. 28-45.
Taylor, Paul Michael, and Cesare Marino. 2018. Reassessing Two Nineteenth-century Proto-ethnographic Collections in Italian Museums: Giacomo Costantino Beltrami (1799-1855) and Antonio Spagni (1809-1873). Journal of the History of Collections [Oxford U.]. https://doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhy056
Taylor, Paul Michael, and William Bradford Smith. 2017. “Instruments of Diplomacy: 19th Century Musical Instruments in the Smithsonian Collection of Thai Royal Gifts.” Journal of the Siam Society, Vol. 105, pp. 245-272.
Taylor, Paul Michael, and Supamas Snitwongse. In press. “Plaited Arts and Royal Patronage in Thailand.” Arts of Asia.
Verney, Frederick. 1885. Notes on Siamese Musical Instruments. London: William Clowes and Sons, Limited.
Yupho, Dhanit. 1960. Thai Musical Instruments (translated from the Thai by David Morton). Bangkok: S. Phorn.