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Unknown artist: Burmese Drum

The instrument

Traditional Burmese musical drum

According to the Myanmargamelin website,  this drum belongs to the Thaye group of instruments  traditionally used in Burma.

The double-headed slung drum, dobat is most popular in the countryside. The dobat was played to bring in the harvest or to call for rain when the monsoon was late. The dobat may be seen at pagoda festivals, charities and at labour contribution functions when the villagers come out to build a road or to reap the harvest.

The double-headed slung drum can be played on both sides. The left side of the drum is called the female side and the opposite side is the male side. The female side is tuned to the fundamental (taya) while the male side is tuned to the dominant (tayo). The female side requires more tuning dough. The dobat is played briskly and joyously. The player uses both hands to strike the drum so that the left hand hits the female side, and the right hand strikes the male side. Fingers, palms, or the heels of palms, and sometimes elbows are used.

There was a second drum that accompanied the dobat as a gift to the University from the Burmese people. This was a pot-bellied drum or  oozi.  The pot-drum (ou:zi) is a single-headed drum on a long hollow stalk which is flared at the bottom. The single head has a membrane tightly stretched over a round frame. The pot drum is tuned by sticking a piece of tuning dough (pa’sa) made of rice and ash to the head.

The pot-drum is the chief instrument for the lively pot-drum dance. The dancer would pass the pasoe between his legs and tuck it at the back, exposing a trouser-type dress beneath, which covers the knees. He would wear a short- sleeve jacket and dance joyously. However in other performances such as the grand drama, the dancers would be well dressed with some paraphernalia. The pot-drum is also played for group dancers in formation. Though the pot-drum is single-headed, it can be played to produce a complete set of sounds.