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Myanmar: Music by the Hsaing Waing Orchestra: The Burmese Harp 2 CD set

Myanmar: Music by the Hsaing Waing Orchestra: The Burmese Harp 2 CD set

  • $1979

The music of Burma (officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar) is characterized by two types of music: chamber music played solo on instruments such as the Burmese harp, and orchestra music played primarily on percussion instruments.

Yet, according to ethnomusicologist Jacques Brunet, Burmese music is almost entirely vocal in origin, “and each composition—even an instrumental one—can be recalled merely by singing the words of the poem which give it individual character. The great families of musicians (music is often passed on from father to son) still know the entire repertoire by heart, as music is learnt from the outset by repeating the words while practicing on the instrument.”

Disc one features chamber music performed on the Burmese harp. Constructed with 13 strings, the harp is considered by the Burmese to be their national instrument. Disc two presents orchestra music performed by a hsaing waing ensemble. Hsaing waing is traditional music played primarily on percussion instruments featuring the pat waing, a 21-drum set in ascending size arranged in a circle. Included among the selections is music played as the overture to court performances of the Ramayana.

This album is part of the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music. More than 125 albums are being released by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings to make the series publicly available again, including more than a dozen never-released albums of musical traditions from around the globe.


1. In the midst of the flower garden (pulé mode) - 10:19
2. Sombre climate (pulé mode) - 4:54
3. The girl Yamonna (autpyin mode) - 13:22
4. Flowers on the river (myinzaing mode) - 4:01
5. In praise of the city of Mandalay (pulé mode) - 2:48
6. The beauty of the skies (pulé mode) - 4:07
7. Invocation of the Buddha (thanyu mode) - 5:16
8. The king in love (thanyu mode) - 6:50
9. The lotus shines on the lake (autpyin mode) - 6:20
10. On the hill (autpyin mode) - 5:45
11. The seven dances - 12:51
12. Yama (The dance of Rama) - 8:19
13. To the right on the mountain - 8:45
14. The forest of Kanda - 8:10
15. The garland of flowers in full bloom - 19:45

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