Myanmar was known as Burma until 1989. The country’s name was officially changed by the military government that took over in 1988. Early civilization in Myanmar dates back to the 1st century with archaeological evidences of the Pyu Kingdoms of Thayekhittaya (Sri Ksetra), Beithano (Visnu), and Hanlin. The Myanmar music (or Burma) has similarities with many other musical traditions in the region, including Chinese music and Thai music, probably because its longest land border is shared with China.

The Hsaing Waing is Myanmar’s traditional folk music ensemble. It is made up mainly of different gongs and drums as well as other instruments depending on the nature of the performance.


Myanmar’s musical instruments are categorized into two types, the loud sounding and soft sounding. The loud sounding instruments are performed in open-air ensembles at ceremonies and festivals. Most of the hsaing waing instruments belong to the loud sounding category.
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The Hne has a sextuple reed (called hnegan), made from the young leaf of the toddy palm, which is soaked for six months. The body of the Hne is made of wood, with a conical bore and seven finger holes at the front, set in a straight line, with a bell hung at the top. It has a flaring metal bell and has a loud tone, and is used in an ensemble together with xylophone, tuned gongs, and tuned drums
It is a larger bronze gongs in a rectangular frame

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The Pat Waing is a set of 21 drums in a circle, traditional from Burma. The player sits in the middle of a horseshoe-shaped shell made of elaborately carved wood and decorated with gold leaf. The drums are played with the bare hands.
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It is a set of small bronze gongs in a circular frame. This instrument is very popular in Myanmar music.
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For more formal and classical performances that are performed indoors, the ensemble may be accompanied by the saung gauk (13-string angular harp with soft sound) the national instrument of Myanmar, the pattala (Burmese xylophone), or the piano and violin, both introduced during colonial rule.
Saung Gauk (Myanmar Harp) – the body of the saung gauk is made of padauk, the famous Myanmar mahogany. The flat bar is made of cutch wood and it is covered with the leather of a female deer. The strings are made of silk.
Myanmar not only has musical ensembles but also an extensive collection of classical songs called the mahagita. These songs are divided into different types like the oldest repertoires, royal court music, songs of longing, horses’ dance songs, worship songs for Burmese spirits, and songs of sorrow and music adapted from Ayutthaya and the Mon people. The Saung Gauk usually accompanies these songs.
When you are having a Myanmar travel, it will be much more wonderful if you have chance to experience the beauty of Myanmar music and its rich culture.


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