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Musical Instruments - Xylophone (Pattala)


The earliest historical mention of the pattala is in the Bago Kalyani Sima lithic inscription of A.D.147. The xylophone appears in a list of gifts exchanged with the king of what is now Sri Lanka. The Court official Twinthin Mingyi also mentions it in 1798 as one of the six instruments of the anyein (non- dramatic dance and comedy) ensemble.

The Myanmar xylophone attained international recognition through written articles. The author F.A. Neilly, in a book about Thailand, wrote, "The Thai xylophone is derived from the Myanmar xylophone which the Myanmar play exceedingly well. This also suggests that the xylophone was extant in Myanmar earlier than in Thailand.

A person intending to become a player in the drum circle first has to learn to play the pattala. The pattala is the accompanying instrument in presenting the anyein, in classical music ensembles, and sitting-singer troupes. The pattala is widely employed in today's Myanmar music.