Title : Yodaya: Thai Classical Music in Myanmar Culture

Author(s) : Suradit Phaksuchon, Panya Rungrueang

Pages : 55-76

Abstract in English : Yodaya is one of the music genres in
Myanmar’s musical culture. It was
initially tied to the Myanmar royal court in
the past and has ever since infiltrated the
Myanmar way of life up until the present
day. This qualitative study was set out to:
1) investigate the historical development
of Yodaya, and 2) examine the features
and representation of Thai classical music
in Yodaya. Data was gathered between
August 2009 and March 2014 through
multiple techniques: survey, interview,
observation, field-notes and documentary
analysis. Informants included five experts,
eight practitioners and four related people
in Yangon and Mandalay cities in
Myanmar. Data was validated by means of
a triangulation method based on defined
objectives and was presented following
analytical description.
Findings revealed that the history of
Yodaya can be traced far back to the
Konbaung period, the era after which
Ayutthaya was ruled by Myanmar. As a
consequence of this, Thai royal families,
philosophers, experts and servants were
forced to migrate to Myanmar. One
significant piece of evidence revealing the
representation of Thai music in Myanmar
music was derived from the title and lyric
of the song “Chui Chai.” It was also found
that some Yodaya songs have lyrics in
Myanmar but titles in Thai. These songs
are Phayantin, Khaekmorn, Kamin, Tanao,
Plengcha, Tobtuan, Cherdcharn, Ngungid,
Kabi, and Mahouti.
In terms of the musical features and
representation of Thai music in Yodaya,
two Yodaya songs (Weichayanta and
Chaweitanya) were found to represent
Thai music because their melodic scales
(G A B D E and C D E G A) are similar to
both Tarngnai and Tarngnork scales in
classical Thai music. The melodic feature
in the 4th movement of Chaweitanya is
similar to the 1st movement of the
Phayadern song in Thai music. Phayadern
and Chaweitanya are based on G A B D E
and C D E G A scales respectively and are
accompanied by a percussion drum
rhythm, called “Sa Khun Dou Yia.” The
structure of Yodaya was divided into three
movements: prelude, interlude and finale.
The prelude and finale movements
contained free tempo while the interlude
movement had a consistent and related