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Thai Classical Music for the Phrommas Episode in Khon performance

Sowat, Suchada (2018) Thai Classical Music for the Phrommas Episode in Khon performance. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

The Phrommas is one of the best-known episodes from the Thai masked dance-drama called khon, whose narrative is adapted from the Indian epic, the Ramayana – in Thai tradition the Ramakian. The dramatic text and its music together form the Phrommas repertoire, arranged by Prince Narisaranuvatiwongse in 1899, which continues to be performed to the present day. This research considers the repertoire from three main perspectives: 1) its significance in relation to the theatre, 2) the musical characteristics of the individual pieces which constitute it, and 3) its current state within modern Bangkok. The significance of the Phrommas repertoire is constructed through both internal and external factors. Internal significance is found mostly within conventional meanings that enable a tradition of using pieces of pre-existing music within the directionality of the Phrommas narrative, whereas external significance is manifest through three main aspects involving cultural association: 1) creation and function, 2) transformation and continuation, 3) interpretation and implication. The characteristics of the music reflect a wide range of refined musical techniques, which require complex inculturation in order to be understood. Direct expression is found in the delivery of the text and specific musical devices, whereas indirect theatrical meaning is reflected not only through a conventional musical implication, but also the individual interpretation of the musicians. The current state of the Phrommas repertoire in modern Bangkok largely depends on the patronage system associated with government and royal institutions, with these aspects contributing in turn to the structural issues of performance and transmission, which thereby bring about the continued relevance, popularity, and sustained future of the Phrommas repertoire in Thai society. The Phrommas repertoire thus emerges as a multi-expressive art form demonstrating a particular and revealing instance of how music is created, transmitted, used and survives within its culture.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Related URLs:
Academic Units: The University of York > Music (York)
Depositing User: Ms Suchada Sowat
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2019 16:15
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2019 16:15
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23075

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