Tense Harmony: Thai Cinema and Popular Music


This paper follows the development of the special connection between Thai cinema and Thai popular music from the 1920s onward. The main argument is that the two dominant musical styles of luk krung and luk thung have become representative of different social groups within Thailand and that this diversification can also be found in Thai cinema. Luk thung, identified with the rural poor, was mostly rejected by producers and audience during the 1950s and 1960s. Only from the 1970s onward did a cinematic style that represented this sector of Thai society and culture develop. In this sense, one can view Thai cinema as an archive of Thai popular music.