Barton was a rock star to hundreds of hungry wild monkeys that he hoped his music could calm, at a time when Thailand's coronavirus-induced tourism hiatus meant there were fewer visitors to feed them, and less funds allocated for their welfare.
The macaques were instantly drawn to Barton's rendition of Greensleeves, Beethoven's Fur Elise and Michael Nyman's Diary of Love, some were eager to share his stool while others pounced upon the musician's shoulders and peered over while he played.
"We need to make an effort to make sure that they eat properly. And when they eat properly they will be calmer not so aggressive," said 59-year-old Barton, who is a long-time Thai resident.
Barton played at four venues in Lopburi, a province famous for its marauding monkeys, including an ancient Hindu temple, a hardware store and a derelict theatre.
"I was surprised to play the piano and find that they were actually eating the music as I was playing it." he said.
The musician hoped to raise awareness of the monkeys' hunger while also study their behavioral responses to classical music. The macaques are his latest audience, having played Bach, Schubert, Chopin, and Beethoven for more than a decade to elephants at retirement sanctuaries.