Proximity to Daily Life:

Parallel Musical Functions in the Austrian Biedermeier and Early Thai Rattanakosin Eras


  • Hayne Kim Faculty member, School of Music, Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music
  • Apichai Chantanakajornfung Faculty member, School of Music, Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music
  • Suppabhorn Suwanpakdee Faculty member, School of Music, Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music



Biedermeier style, chamber music performance, Rattanakosin era, social context, Thai music


In every culture and time period, music has always been a medium of expression that gathers people together. In Thailand, the Sadhukarn, ceremonial music from the early Rattanakosin era (1782-1851), expressed a bodily and mental salutation to heavenly spirits, reinforcing a unified belief system before the start of an event. In a parallel era in Central Europe, the music of the Biedermeier period (1815-1848) also had a unifying function as it grew out of societal conditions in which the distinction of classes became less pronounced. In order to more fully engage with these concepts, a concert was devised featuring an ensemble of instruments that would commonly have been played in a Viennese salon during the Biedermeier era. The repertoire studied and performed for this research were serenades written for the relatively rare and under-performed combination of guitar, violin, and viola by Biedermeier-era composers Leonard von Call, Wenzeslaus Matiegka, and Anton Diabelli, as well as a newly created arrangement of the Thai Sadhukarn for the same combination of instruments. Upon investigation of the role that music written in the Austrian Biedermeier and Thai Rattanakosin cultural contexts had in the broader community, it was found that both cultures were strongly driven by the middle class, resulting in a conception of music that emphasised accessibility and functionality, highlighting its proximity to daily life. The performance of these works aimed to transfer knowledge about the social function of this music to contemporary audiences of today.


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How to Cite

Kim, M., Chantanakajornfung, A., & Suwanpakdee, S. (2023). Proximity to Daily Life: : Parallel Musical Functions in the Austrian Biedermeier and Early Thai Rattanakosin Eras. Malaysian Journal of Music, 12(2), 115–134.