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Instruments and ensembles
The drum circle "Pat wain"
The center of each Burmese ensemble, giving name to the idea of instruments hung up in a circle "hsain wain", is the "pat wain" drum circle. The traditional instrument knows 19, today (after 1920) 21 tuned drums with a height from 13 to 41 cm, hung down from a circeling wooden rack or stand with the player in the middle.

On of the most fascinating aspects of Asian music is the early idea of the melodical use of percussive instruments, like with the gong ensembles and the xylophones spread all over South East Asia.
Instruments like the one shown on the left can also be found on temple reliefs in India and actually in use in the Thai "Piphat Mon" ensemble, where a smaller model with seven drums is common.

The drums get tuned by filling in "pa sa", a paste of rice and ashes.
The more "pa sa" is isnerted, the lower sounds the drum.

The "pat wain" player is known as "hsain hsaya", which means he is the "master of hsain" and thus the main leader and director of the complete ensemble.

Actually, the "pat wain" also appears as a part of the "zat pwe" shows, where theatre versions of the "mahagita" (book of songs) get performed with interesting duets and antiphones between singers and the drum circle.

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