The Siamese historical music transcription of “Phra Aphaipholrop”: The pioneer musicologist of Thailand

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Francis Nuntasukon


This research studied and analyzed the script which mainly derived from the three historical textbooks written by Phra Aphaipholrop. They include 1. Dontriwittaya [Musicology] (1912) 2. Bab Hud Arn Saeng Lem 1 [Music Reading Practice, Book 1] (1912), and 3. Tamra Kaen Lae Arn Pleng Arnutsunya Nai Krom Taharn Bok [How to Write and Read the Bugle Call for Army Regiment] (1908). The study was to analyze meanings of signs that enhanced the definition of "music" in the relevant historical context from 1907 to 1932. This study found that Dontriwittaya  and Bab Hud Arn Saeng Lem 1  were the first music textbooks in Thailand, while Tamra Kaen Lae Arn Pleng Arnutsunya Nai Krom Taharn Bok was developed to be a textbook studied at the Army Cadet Academy. This bugle call’s signals were mandated and revised by Phra Aphaipholrop. His textbook contained a large number of incomprehensible marks, which had never been studied by a music scholar since it was written. In particular, the research has two important proposals. First, the positional concept of a “moving C" in music as a relative pitch system was different from Phra Chenduriyang’s proposition, which suggested to use the absolute pitch system for Thai music as Thai-C and subsequently by B-flat in pitch. Second, variety of rhythmic rates of music could be presented in at least 7 types in Thai music notation, which differs from the common practice at present time.


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