Type: Idiophones > Lamellophones > Heteroglot > Frames > Jawharps.
Hornbostel Sachs No#: 121.22
Region: Golden Triangle Area.
Region: South East Asia.
Description: Ata are bamboo jawharps of the Lahu people of Southern China and northern South East Asia, in the Golden Triangle area. Ata are played in pairs. Ata are then attached to a carrying ata by way of a string.
Usage: Ata were traditionally used for courting, in two different tunings. Ata are tuned a fifth apart were used for intimate conversations between young people, and taken up after the couple used the naw or hulusheng mouth organ to get acquainted. Ata tuned a fourth apart were used by older people to rekindle the feelings of youth, and for divorced or widowed people to attract a new mate.
The higher pitched of the pair is considered the female instrument and the lower a male. Ata performed a musical code with each note corresponding to a spoken syllable. Unfortunately these practices have disappeared and now these instruments are made primarily for tourists.
Citations: Bibliography: Websites: Randy Raine-Reusch @ asza.com / Ata ;