A heterophonic sonic journey.
As classical Thai music is heterophonic, the songs on "Thailand: Ceremonial and Court Music" are nonharmonic, melodic, or linear. The fundamental musical organization is horizontal. The main melody is played simultaneously with progressively slower and faster rhythmic variants swirling around it in what might seem a cacaphony of sound to a Western ear. The emphasis in classical Thai music is on the final beat of a measure or group of pulses and phrase, as opposed to the first as in European-influenced music. There are various ensembles which perform classical music - on this album, the performers sound as though they are piphat, a form that consists of performances using woodwind and percussion instruments, and mahori, which mixes strings with melodic percussion instruments and flute. Traditional Thai music can sound discordant to the unfamiliar ear, but that distinction adds to its appeal for fans of the music of Southeast Asia.