At A Sanctuary In Thailand This Pianist Plays Classical Music For Blind And Elderly Elephants

By Mayukh Saha

Even if elephants are not able to appreciate the subtle nuances of Bach or Beethoven, they still can be serenaded by a tune. According to a video from 2018, this has actually been tried and tested. Paul Barton, a famous pianist from Britain, settled in Thailand a few years back. On his birthday, he decided to play for blind elephants, who apparently love the sound of music (no pun intended)! The sanctuary he plays in is the Elephants World in Thailand, which cares for old and injured elephants- too bedraggled to get back into the wild.

Now, on to the video. 

According to Barton, if he found elephants waiting near his piano, he would take it as a sign to start playing. These blind elephants would squeal at the sound of his music and remain in a trance for the duration of his recital. This beautiful journey of connecting music and elephants began in 2011, almost a decade back. 

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Barton recalls the first time he ever played for an elephant – Chaichana. This elephant was one of those used for logging – carrying chains and dragging giant tonnes of logs through forests. But after a point of time, he just didn’t have the energy left in him to continue, so they sent him to Elephants World, where Barton decided to play for him.

While the owner initially refused, the sight of a majestic elephant swaying with the strains of the piano was a sight to behold. It appeared as if Chaichana understood and appreciated the music played. Soon, this became a regular occurrence between them, and Barton became one of Chaichana’s closest friends. But the piano wasn’t all that they shared – Barton helped bathe Chaichana, and improve his overall mood towards life. 

Armed with 9 years worth of experience playing for elephants, Barton has managed to bring out a few insightful observations – small and young elephants like fast music. Something sprightly, something to keep them moving on their limbs – and they will dance. Older elephants, on the other hand, prefer music which is deep, somber, and classical. This doesn’t separate them a lot from humans. The older generation always prefers a lighter, softer, but deeper type of music than the youth.

When you put that in context, you can see how much trust it takes for the elephant to truly sit and listen to music from a human being. After a long life filled with work, and more work, it is natural for them to see any human being as their foe. But when they listen to Barton playing his music in Elephants World, it reflects how compassionate and trusting these gentle giants are. 

As we already know, the language of music transcends all barriers – be it language or species. Music is used as a therapeutic tool for humans, so it can also be a therapeutic tool for animals. It all depends on how it is being used. If used as a medicine, it can work wonders. And Paul Barton has displayed that with his friends at Elephants World.

Source: Truth Theory

Image Credit: Paul Barton/YouTube

Hey! Message me. I am Mayukh. I help people and websites with content, videos, design, and social media management. I am an avid traveler and I started living as a digital nomad in Europe since 2019. I am currently working on – a creative media company. You can reach out to me anytime: [email protected]com Love, Mayukh Read More stories by Mayukh Saha

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