King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand (1927-2016)

The following cross-post is written by Cait Miller and originally appeared on the In the Muse blog.

The following post is co-written with Musical Instruments Curator Carol Lynn Ward-Bamford.

His Majesty, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, visited the Library of Congress on June 29 [1960] as part of his official visit in the Nationa’s Capital. Pictured viewing the Thai musical instruments, which were a gift of His Majesty’s to the Library, are left to right: Harold Spivacke, Chief of the Library’s Music Division, His Majesty, Cecil Hobbs, Head of the South Asia Section, Library of Congress, and Librarian of Congress L. Quincy Mumford.

His Majesty, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, visited the Library of Congress on June 29,1960 as part of his official visit in the Nationa’s Capital. Pictured viewing the Thai musical instruments, which were a gift of His Majesty’s to the Library, are left to right: Harold Spivacke, Chief of the Library’s Music Division, His Majesty, Cecil Hobbs, Head of the South Asia Section, Library of Congress, and Librarian of Congress L. Quincy Mumford.

Early yesterday morning the world learned of the death of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, crowned in 1946 and known as the world’s longest-reigning monarch. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts and educated in Switzerland and the United States, King Bhumibol was interested in musical performance and composition, and played clarinet and other reed instruments. In 1960, His Majesty visited the Library of Congress as part of an official visit to the United States. While visiting, the King presented the Library with ten musical instruments, including a pair of ching (hand cymbals), one thon and one rammanā (small hand-played drums), two khlui ū (bamboo flutes, small and medium), one jakhē (čhakhē, a three-string zither), and two sq duang and two sq ū, both being forms of a vertically played two-string fiddle. A silver plaque accompanying the gift carried these engraved words: To the Library of Congress. This set of Thai musical instruments is presented as a token of sincere respect for a centre of knowledge and culture. Washington, DC, 1960.

Further enriching King Bhumibol’s generous gift made over half a century ago, the Music Division is also home to the Bhumibol Adulyadej (King of Thailand) Collection, consisting of his compositions (13 music manuscripts and 100 pieces of printed music), clippings, correspondence, and other miscellaneous documents. The collection had been assembled by Serge Rips, a friend of the King of Thailand. His Majesty’s original compositions are closely tied to traditional Thai musical influences; however, they simultaneously reflect his affinity for jazz and swing music. Specific jazz influences include Benny Goodman, Jack Teagarden, and Lionel Hampton, with whom he participated in jam sessions.

3 Comments

  1. Ellen Salassi
    October 16, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    I would love to learn more about his musical compositions, and if possible hear them. Any suggestions?
    Thank you,
    Ellen

  2. FRED TROMBLEY, SIMI VALLEY, CA
    October 26, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    My tears fell upon hearing the King’s Anthem at the Wat Thai, Los Angeles prayer gathering on October 15, 2016 for this great king. I came to know of him in 1968, as a young soldier stationed in Thailand, when before each movie the King’s Anthem was played. I later learned that this amazing monarch was born in my home state of Massachusetts. I have been involved in the Thai Community for over 30 years and will forever love this great “Father of his people”.

  3. Sasi
    November 12, 2016 at 7:17 am

    Ellen , key search H.M.Blue or King Bhumibol music on youtube
    There are many of his music there.

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