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Musical Instruments - Pot-Drum (Ozi)


The pot-drum (ou:zi) is a single-headed drum on a long hollow stalk which is flared at the bottom. The single head has a membrane tightly stretched over a round frame. The pot drum is tuned by sticking a piece of tuning dough (pa'sa) made of rice and ash to the head.

The hollow upper part of the pot-drum is the dome over which the tightly stretched membrane, usually made of dear skin, is held in place by a taught cord. The lower part of the dome is the "chicken breast" (kje'jin), then the throat, the "butterfly wing" located below the throat, followed by the mouldings. The end part is called the padain (padain:). The butterfly wings, the mouldings and the padain are decorated with glass mosaic and gilt. The pot-drum was popular during the reign of King Mindon.

There were three pot-drum troupes within the palace, they are

(a) vanguard troupe,
(b) princess's troupe and
(c) the main palace troupe.

The pot-drums of these troupes had the neck wholly gilded, the bottom lip decorated with glass mosaic and gilded too. The head had a frill of velvet.

There were several ranks of royal pot-drums, namely:

1) lower neck had the pot-drum decorated with glass mosaic and gilded
2) whole neck gilded
3) the head had two velvet frills
4) the neck had a single white fril.

To perform in the palace, the pot-drum troupe had to wait at a distance while the royal big drum starts to play upon the king's entrance. Then the king gives the order for the pot-drum troupe to play. The four pot-drum players would rise slowly from their crouching positions and sway slowly and start to play the pot- drum softly at first, then gradually louder as the musical performance continues.

The rural pot-drum troupe has one pot-drum, one flute or shawm (oboe), a pair of cymbals and bamboo clappers.

The pot-drum is also the chief instrument for the lively pot-drum dance. The dancer would pass the pasoe between his legs and tuck it at the back, exposing a trouser-type dress beneath, which covers the knees. He would wear a short- sleeve jacket and dance joyously. However in other performances such as the grand drama, the dancers would be well dressed with some parapharnelia. The pot-drum is also played for group dancers in formation.

Though the pot-drum is single-headed, it can be played to produce a complete set of sounds.