The Myanmar Orchestra or "Saing Waing"

The Myanmar Orchestra or "Saing Waing"

Myanmar Musical Instruments | Maha Gita | Myanmar Orchestra ( Saing Waing) | Zat Pwe

myanmar orchestra and myanmar musical instruments

The Myanmar Orchestra or "Saing Waing"

The Myanmar musical ensemble, the Sang Wing, is special. Of the five kinds of musical instruments, brass, string, leather, wind and clapper, it is able to provide stately and springly and diverse kinds of music without resort to strings.

The Sing Wing consists of the circle of drums, the circle of brass, the frame of gongs, base drums, oboe-like hne, cymbals big and small and clappers. There are 21 drums in the drum circle, 19 brass gongs in the brass circle and 18 bronze gongs in the gong frame. The base drum group consists of the main drum, the six-set drums, the two-headed drum, the short drum and the upright drum. Thus, there are altogether 31 drums in the Myanmar ensemble. Just as there are a big hne (oboe) and a small hne, there are also big, medium and small cymbal. And there are stuck bamboo and bamboo clappers. The five-form animal from which hangs the main drum has a lion head, an elephant's trunk and tusks, deer feet, fish tail and the wings of a Brahmani duck. In the days of the Myanmar kings, the royal ensemble was permitted to display eight lamp clusters and eight maces. The drum circle, the brass circle and the main drum frame are glided and inlaid with glass.

The musicians who play the drum circle, the brass circle and the main drum sit in the front of the ensemble, the rest sit at the back. Except for those who play the big hne and the small hne the rest are called "back-sitters". If the ensemble includes a singer or speaker that person entertains the audience by standing up and performing from behind the drum circle. He is called the "back-stander".

The musician who plays the drum circle so the other musicians sit acing him leads the ensemble. During the performance, the drum circle and hne, or hne and brass circle perform in turns. Though the drum circle is the main instrument there are musical pieces where the brass circle is the principal instrument.

  • These are:-

  1. circular series of drums (pat-lone)

  2. circular series of gongs (kyay-wai)

  3. gongs (mong-sai)

  4. bamboo clapper (war-let-kote)

  5. oboe/flute (hnae)

  6. timing bells (si)

  7. bamboo (warr)

  8. short drum (si-toe)

  9. cymbals (lin-gwin)

  10. six drum set (chauk-lone-pat)

  11. great drum (pat-ma-gyee)

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