I have chosen two pieces of music, both played with a woodwind instrument, but from two very different regions. The first one with title “Lam thang san” is played by a Thai performer using a free-reed aerophone that accompanies the vocalists. The second one is a Native American flute performance with use of an end-blown flute. The title of the piece is “Taos Pueblo Courting Song”. The music gives audiences a gentle touch of peacefulness and solitude of earth. There is an obvious contrast of traditional cultures between Thailand and Native American. However, there are still some musical links between these two distinct cultures in the six elements of music which are pitch, duration, timbre, texture, dynamics and structures. The two obvious musical links in the two pieces are the improvisatory free rhythm and imitations. In the Thai classical music tradition, an octave is divided into seven equal parts, while in an American tuning system, the octave is divided into twelve equal parts. The scale of this Thai music is pentatonic and it can be described as C, D, F, G and A with C being the tonic. Therefore, we may find the pitches in the Thai piece sounds differently from the American piece. It seems that this Thai piece is odd and “out-of-tune” as its frequency level is different from our commonly accepted tuning system. The Native American piece is played within a range of an octave. Music with notes in more than one octave is not commonly used in Native American music. Vibrato, a rapid wavering of the pitch is often heard on extended tones. Both pieces are performed with improvisatory free rhythm. The vocalist in the Thai piece enters with free rhythm on a single syllable of “O” and continues his improvisation with extended phrase of “O la naw”. Thai music is atonal, with crash notes In the Native American piece, it also begins in free rhythm, with each of the melodic phrase following its own sense of timing. Although the...
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