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Burmese Arched Harp

  • Robert M. Williamson
Chapter

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Modal Scale Western Music Reference Oscillator Scale Note Tunable Band Pass 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

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.

References

  1. Emmert, R. and Minegishi, Y. (1988). Musical Voices of Asia. Heibonsha, Tokyo.Google Scholar
  2. Khin Zaw, U. (1941). Burmese music. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 10(3), 717–754.Google Scholar
  3. Lawergren, Bo. (1981). Acoustics and evolution of arched harps. Galpin Society Journal 34, 110–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Morton, D. (1976). The Traditional Music of Thailand. University of California Press, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  5. Williamson, M.C. (1968). The construction and decoration of one Burmese harp. Selected Reports: Instruments of Ethnomusicology 1(2), 45–72.Google Scholar
  6. Williamson, M.C. (2000a). The Burmese Harp: Its Classical Music, Tunings, and Modes. SE Asia Publications, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL.Google Scholar
  7. Williamson, R.M. (2000b). Burmese harp scale pitch measurements. In: Williamson, M.C., The Burmese Harp: Its Classical Music, Tunings, and Modes (2000), SE Asia Publications, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL, pp. 131–153.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysicsOakland UniversityRochesterUSA

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