Burmese Arched Harp
Our knowledge of the history, construction, and tunings of the Burmese arched harp (saùng gauk) comes from a variety of sources. Conversations with master harpists, together with recordings made of their performances between 1960 and 1980, provide richly detailed examples of the effect of Western music on a non-Western musical tradition. Scholars’ essays and conference proceedings complement these first-hand accounts, expanding our understanding of Burmese music and musical instruments.
KeywordsModal Scale Western Music Reference Oscillator Scale Note Tunable Band Pass
I am indebted to Muriel Williamson for my interest in the Burmese harp and for recordings of its music. Because twenty-first-century Burmese musicians may no longer know the traditional intonations of the harp scale notes, the information provided by Daw Khin May and U Myint Maung is invaluable. John Okell shared his knowledge of Burmese music and provided the recording of U Myint Maung’s tunings. Judith Becker has been generous with her advice and encouragement.
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