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The traditional characteristics of Thai music have declined since World War II; meanwhile Western music has become key components for the development of Thai music. The rearrangement of Thai music in accordance with Western music theory and culture enables it to be more contemporary to young audiences who are acquainted with Western harmony, vocal style, and musical instruments. Music of this style is entitled ‘Thai contemporary music’.
From the audiences’ perspective and experiences, Western music is the carrier of Thainess. To decode Thainess in musical signs and symbols, audiences need to have experiences in Thai culture, understand Thai social values and be acquainted with water instinct and simple lifestyle. The interviewees note that melody, melisma, accent in singing and playing music, and wording and composition are signs of Thainess, whereas mildness and simplicity in musical sound are symbols of Thainess, associated with water instinct and simple lifestyle. Therefore, listening to Thai contemporary music shapes the audiences’ perception on the existence of Thainess and its alignment with globalization.
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