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Myanmar Musical Instruments


Myanmar instrumentalists do not look at the music sheet as in the west. They play from memory and personal skill. It is said that Myanmar music has no exactitude. But that shows that the Myanmar instrumentalists need not be in servitude, and can improvise to demonstrate their skill and musical imagination.

Myanmar has five kinds of instruments.

(1) one headed drum - pot- drum.
(2) two-headed drum - big drum, long drum, short drum, horizontal sitou, bjo: and rattle
(3) jingle bell, hung bell, hollow bell, cymbal, mellifluous bell, timing bell,
(4) iron rod, brass rod, wooden block, stone
(5) conch shell, hollow bamboo, gadou, hne (shawm), flute trumpet

There are also five other kinds of instruments namely brass, string, leather, wind and clapper. The brass groups includes Lingwin:, than Iwin, kyei: naun, kyei: pattala:, si.-sou, nayi, hnjin, maun, kyei:si. Khaun, laun, swe, Ie, and chu also belong to the brass group. The Harp, mi-gjaun, aun, and tayo belong to the string group. Leather (hide) instruments are those which require timing dough for the membrane. Wind instruments are hne, flute, conch, shel, gadou and trumpet. The clapper keeps time for the music. Classical music groups in the Maha Gita are kjou:, bwe thachin: khan, pa' pjou:, jou: daja:, mon, kajin , deir bo:le, tei: hta. Students of music are first taught the basic songs of the kjou: group. The school of music and drama in Yangon was inaugurated in 1952, and in 1953, a second school of music and drama was opened in Mandalay. Today, a Cultural University has been established.