Kating Ga Un

Name: Kating Ga Un.
Type: Chordophones > Zithers > Idiochords > Tube >
Hornbostel-Sachs No: 312.11
Area: Mergui Archipelago.
Country: Myanmar [Burma].
Region: South East Asia.

Description: The Moken people, who live in the Mergui Archipelago in the southern end of Myanmar, have a two-string bamboo-tube zither, the kating ga-un which they pluck and bow.

Construction: The instrument, made from a tube of bamboo about 622 mm [24.48 inches] in length and 48 mm to 52 mm [1.8 — 2 inches] across, was originally strung with plant fibre or gut from sharks or dogs. The Moken people have modernized their instrument, using nylon fishing line in place of the plant or gut strings. One long string is folded in half and the folded bight is hooked onto the lower end of the instrument. The two string-ends are each tightened and tied at the top of the instrument.

The strings are held off the bottom of the instrument with a bridge. The bow is made of bamboo, with a strip of rattan for a bowstring and bee’s wax for rosin. The bamboo tube is closed at the bottom and open at the top, and three holes are burned through the bamboo in the lower half of the instrument. The sound radiates upward, so that the player hears it best. The bow is stored inside the bamboo tube.

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