Fine Arts

Traditional Southeast Asian Music Competition on Mobile Application

Type/Category: Educational Outreach / Collaboration

Date/Duration: September – December 2018

As an organization supporting activities in archaeology, arts and culture in Southeast Asia, SEAMEO SPAFA acknowledges the importance of traditional music of the Southeast Asian region as an important form of cultural expression in need of preservation. Meanwhile, the Centre also believes that technology, especially mobile technology, can be used as a possible tool to encourage Southeast Asian youths to be exposed to, play and create traditional music.

Rejecting technology in favour of tradition goes against the grain of cultural expression, the latter being a result of creative innovation, adaptation and evolution in itself. In fact, technology has been constantly changing the world’s musical landscape since the 1960s, giving rise to various forms of music, some of which have become local cultural identities in themselves, as is the case for the Lam folk music of Laos and northeastern Thailand, which has embraced the use of electrified instruments in the development of Mor Lam, and in so doing has preserved traditional sounds and even given rise to the popular Luk Thung music genre.

As a result, embracing the use of technology can not only contribute towards preserving traditional sounds in how it ensures continuity of practice, but can also participate in the strengthening of local cultural identities.

Furthermore, the use of smartphone applications is supported by the Thai government’s “Thailand 4.0” campaign, a strategic growth model that highlights the development of an innovation driven economy as the foundation for a strong, prosperous and sustainable nation. The successful implementation of this policy requires collaboration among the private sector, governmental agencies, educational institutions and the general public.

Hence, SEAMEO SPAFA’s initiative to launch a traditional music composition contest using digital technology can be considered as a response to this campaign, creating an avenue for musical innovation whilst promoting traditional culture.

  1. Encourage youths to learn about Southeast Asian traditional music through smartphone technology
  2. Provide a platform for youths to be exposed to Southeast Asian traditional music and instruments in a contemporary context
  3. Create an opportunity for youths and more generally the public at large to engage in recreational self-learning
  4. Raise awareness on the value of traditional cultural expressions among the younger generation and across cultures

1. Identification of available digital music applications and other music resources

2. Official announcement of the competition via SEAMEO SPAFA’s website and social media platforms.

3. Competitor qualification: students, general public

4. Establish committee of judges

5. Judging criteria and scoring, according to the following:

  • a. musical performance skill,
  • b. musical creativity,
  • c. quality of video clip including audio.
  1. Raised appreciation for the diversity of Southeast Asian musical traditions
  2. Contribute to the preservation of traditional music knowledge
  3. Arouse interest in the use of digital and live instruments and in the creative process of music-making
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