Mahidol Universitys Creative Economy Center Launches Thai Tuner, the Worlds First Innovative Thai Musical Instrument Tuner Application, Bringing Thai Culture into Thailand 4.0

Information Technology Press Releases Thursday June 14, 2018 08:39
Bangkok--14 Jun--

The Creative Economy, Mahidol University, is bringing Thai classical music into the global economy in the Thailand 4.0 era with the launch of the world's first innovative Thai musical instrument tuner mobile application "Thai Tuner" on both iOS and Android. The application is considered the first Thai musical instrument tuner invented in Thailand, leading to the development of digital manufacturing methods of Thai musical instrument models with appropriately-tuned sound frequency. The first created models are Thai small cup-shaped cymbals and Thai flutes. Not only does this innovation carry on and maintain the standards and uniqueness of Thai music, but it also hands down new body of knowledge to entrepreneurs, adds value to Thai musical instruments and expands into the local and international venues.

Assistant Professor Dr. Surapong Lertsittichai, the former director of the Creative Economy Center, Mahidol University, who initiated the "Thai Tuner" project, noted that, "The Creative Economy Center, Mahidol University, developed the "Thai Tuner" application to carry on and maintain the standards and uniqueness of Thai music. The Thai musical instrument tuner application development project was carried out by bringing in the body of knowledge from the sound frequency research project initiated by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The main purpose of this project was to bring the Thai music industry into Thailand 4.0, incorporating innovation and integration of knowledge. The mobile application was developed and it is expected to be used to produce Thai musical instrument models that meet the standards, are appropriately-tuned with respect to the correct sound frequency and add value to the Thai music industry.

This Thai musical instrument tuner application on both iOS and Android platforms was developed and designed to enhance user interface and user interaction. The application includes tuners for 89 Thai musical instruments, including stringed instruments, percussion instruments, wind instruments, and instruments for vocals, which can assist Thai musicians, students, teachers and instrument makers in tuning and setting up appropriate sound and pitch when using the instruments. The application is easy and convenient to use as it is embedded with digital display of recorded sound frequency. In addition, it contains a collection of useful detailed information about and illustrations of each musical instrument for self-study. It is expected that the application be disseminated to other users at both national and international levels.

"After the tuner application was developed, our project continued to further invent Thai musical instrument models, such as Thai small cup-shaped cymbals and Thai flutes, which need appropriate tuning of sound frequency as well as creative and exquisite packaging. The making of Thai musical instruments requires an array of expertise, integration of theoretical knowledge of multidisciplinary fields of study, and collaboration of multiple sectors — instrument makers, researchers and end users. Considering the success in the making of Thai musical instrument models, we can certainly provide support to approximately 300 instrument makers, so that they can produce high quality instruments that meet international standards, adding value to the Thai musical instrument industry which is approximately 3 million baht worth annually.

"Today, Thai musical instruments have been manufactured and sold domestically and they have become more widely known and promoted in many other countries, such as the ASEAN Community, the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Consequently, the making of quality instruments that meet international standards can greatly bring Thai musical instruments into the international cultural market," said Assistant Professor Dr. Surapong Lertsittichai.

Ajarn Pakorn Nooyee, a composer at the Office of Performing Arts, the Fine Arts Department, the Ministry of Culture, who is the researcher of the research project of sound frequency in Thai music and folk music, noted that, from his field study of sound-tuning in all 4 regions of Thailand, western music has been considerably used to tune Thai musical instruments. This is because Thai musical instruments are mostly played together with other western musical instruments and we have never had any reference in terms of sound-tuning standards. However, most Thai musical bands in the central part of Thailand have used traditional methods of sound frequency tuning, which were implemented by the Fine Arts Department.

"In the past, we did not have any tools for sound-tuning in Thailand. Thus, tuning has mainly depended on acoustic and ear training of musicians or music instructors. That is why Thai music sound frequency varies from one context to another. Furthermore, there are fewer Thai musicians who are good at sound-tuning, while there is more cultural influence from western musical instruments in the country. The "Thai Tuner" application is therefore the first application for Thai musical instrument tuning which combines the tuning technology of Thai classical and folk musical instruments. The application will display appropriately-tuned sound frequency based on the research, enabling Thai musical instruments in all regions of Thailand to follow the same standards as well as helping maintain and conserve Thai culture."

In addition, the project also includes a research on digital production methods of Thai musical instrument models, aiming to create high quality Thai musical instruments with correct sound frequency. The research set off with the making of Thai small cup-shaped cymbals and Thai flutes. These instruments are very essential and require accurate tuning of sound frequency. Therefore, the CAD/CAM technology has been used in the production process to achieve correct sound frequency. This technology helps reduce the consumption of natural resources as the system can thoroughly control the sounds so there is no damage in the production process. In the Thai Tuner project, this newly invented production process will pass the knowledge of Thai musical instrument manufacturing on to Thai musical instrument manufacturers, so that they can manufacture Thai musical instruments of high quality and continue to add value to Thai musical instruments.

The Thai Tuner is now available free of charge on App Store and Play Store for iOS and Android smartphones.

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