His Majesty the King's accomplishments in music are well known, not only to his Thai subject, but also to lovers of music worldwide. He is one of Thailand's best jazz musicians. He has composed 43 musical works which rank among the most well known in the history of Thai contemporary music. He has shared his musical interests with varied groups of musicians and member of the general public. His achievements in music have been internationally recognized, and has been presented with the highest accolades both in Thailand and abroad.
His Majesty's musical training started while he was a schoolboy in Switzerland. He attended lessons in classical music and musical notation for two years. His interest in jazz developed during this early period. He studied the works of famous jazz musicans comparing their divers styles of musical expression. He soon played along with recordings of Sidney Bechet's soprano saxophone,Johny Hodges' alto saxophone and Duke Ellington's piano music.
Music occupid much of His Majesty's spare time. He played music with amateur musicians wherever he went. Formalities were waived during these sessions. Music became a medium for close friendship, forging ties between the Monarch and his subjects.
His Majesty's favourite instruments are the saxophone, clarinet and trumpet. He also plays the guitar and the piano. He is able and willing to join in with any musical group of orchestra. In jazz, he enjoys playing both annotated musical arrangements and impromptu session: he is very good at also improvisation. In 1960, in New York, he played the saxophone and clarinet with world renown musicians such as Benny Goodman, Jack Teagarden, Lionel Hampton and Stan Getz. All agreed that His Majesty was a highly gifted exponent of jazz.
His favourite music is 'Dixieland' jazz with its fast, rousing rhythms and freedom for musical expression. An early jazz band which he had founded consisted of close relatives, senior members of the royal family. The 'Lai Khram' jazz band held many fun filled sessions which occasionally lasted until the light of dawn.
At the number of band members grew, he founded the 'Aw Saw' Band, and , in 1952, he set up a broadcasting station named 'Radio Aw Saw' within the palace grounds. For the next 20 years, before the popularity of television, 'Aw Saw' played big band music regularly each Friday. The programme known as 'Aw Saw Wan Suk' were broadcast live to the general audience. Requests for musical numbers were accepted by telephone, and often, it was His Majesty who answered the telephone calls.
Another regular presentation of the 'Aw Saw' Band were concerts at university auditoriums. For more than 10 years, these private and informal sessions were enjoyed with pride by the students and faculty members. Subsequently, the concert had to cease due to the increase in other royal activities. Nevertheless, His Majesty maintained close ties with his subjects by inviting musical bands and orchestras of various official and private instituitions to perform on 'Radio Aw Saw'. This has generated an increase in musical interest, and has encouraged much improvement on musical skill. One regular contributor to this programme during the past 20 years is the band of the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy. His Majesty often visited the band to give advice to band members. Some of these musicians have been successful in their military careers. Several have been promoted to the rank of General of the Royal Thai Army.
His Majesty's role as music teacher may be seen in the musical band which he founded in 1986. The 'Sahai Pattana' Brass Band has Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn as its first member and consist of a number of officials in his personal service for rural development. There are agriculturists, volunteer doctors, court officials, aides, security officers, etc. Most had no previous musical training. His Majesty spends a short priod each evening teaching music. The band has performed on special occasions, but more important is the fact that unity and friendship amongst the rural development workers have been create through music.
His Majesty the King composed his first song "Candle Light Blues" in 1946. During the next 20 years, he composed 40 more. The total number of compositions to date is 43. The majority of these are songs for which he composed the music. His own lyrics and those by other song writers followed. Five of them have His Majesty's original lyrics in English. The music of 2 songs were composed based upon the inspiration from lyrics which had been previously written. There is also a ballet suite known as the 'Kinari Suite'.
His Majesty's early compositions were mostly of the 'blues' style using the chromatic musical scale. He developed complex chords and rhythms which made possible varied arrangments for orchestral presentation. This , in turn, has made several of his songs great favourites even to the present. He later exploded the use of the pentatonic scale for simplification. He composed theme songs for Chulalongkorn, Thammasart and Kasetsart Universities, all of which have become great favourites of each university. He also took care to match musical sounds to the rising and falling tones of the Thai language not wishing to discolour the aesthetics of a tonic language.
His Majesty the King's musical accomplishments bacame known worldwide when, on a state visit to Austria in 1964, the 'Nieder Osterreich Tonkunstler' performed a concert of serveral of his compositions in the Vienna Concert Hall. This concert was broadcast on Austrian Radio to the delight of European audiences. Two days later, the 5th. of October, 1964, 'Die Akademic fur Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Wien' elected him an Honorary Member. His Majesty is the 21st. Honorary Member of this famous institute and the first Asian composer to be thus honoured.

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