the sound of siam

Luk Thung and the Sound of Siam – Digital Artefact

My digital artefact can be viewed here: https://soundcloud.com/appltones/luk-thung-and-the-sound-of-siam-digital-artefact

Contextual statement – task 3

Given the heart of this project being around the meaning and feeling of traditional Thai music and how I react and relate to it, it seemed only necessary to undertake an auto-ethnographic study in the form of a podcast.

Auto-ethnographic methodology

“When researchers write autoethnographies, they seek to produce aesthetic and evocative thick descriptions of personal and interpersonal experience.” (Ellis et al, 2011)

For the sake of authentic auto-ethnographic research, it was deemed fitting that reactions to the music, or at least some of the reactions, had to be fresh or live.

To achieve this, two things were ensured:

  • The podcast was done in one take
    • Although this was difficult and took planning to ensure timing and structure was well established prior to recording, it was an essential way to keep the methodology authentic, “aesthetic and evocative”.
    • Songs were chosen at random from the record to be listened to during the podcast
    • Another effort to ensure the listener was able to grasp how I, the auto-ethnographer was reacting to the music.

Epiphanies

“When researchers do autoethnography, they retrospectively and selectively write about epiphanies that stem from, or are made possible by, being part of a culture and/or by possessing a particular cultural identity.” (Ellis et al, 2011)

Epiphanies are what make auto-ethnographic research so valuable. This experience was highly intriguing due to the observation that before beginning the podcast, only one epiphany had been thought of for discussion, however as the recording took place and the previously unheard songs were heard, more came to mind. This can be attributed to the personal and concurrent style of auto-ethnography, where the research relies on the ongoing reaction and feedback of the reader.

A perfect example of an auto-ethnographic epiphany is best seen in the reflection towards the end of the podcast where it’s discussed how it seems these songs have strong psychedelic influences, and it’s questioned whether this can be put down to the past drug culture of South-East Asia, or its simply the listener’s interpretation.

Personal touches

Auto-ethnographers “must use personal experience to illustrate facets of cultural experience, and, in so doing, make characteristics of a culture familiar for insiders and outsiders.” (Ellis et al, 2011)

Although this podcast was planned to be in a live, or fresh setting, it was always intended to keep in touch with a personal connection. While it often contains commentary on music features, much of the reflection is based on my own persona as a passionate music fan. Heavily reflected also are the links I find between my own common listenings, and the unheard, fresh sounds of Luk Thung, an important part of keeping in touch with personal, auto-ethnographic research and presentation.

References

Ellis, C., Adams, T. and Bochner, A. (2011). Autoethnography: An Overview. [online] Volume 12, No. 1(10). Available at: http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095 [Accessed 22 Oct. 2018].