Tag Archives: Percussion



Name: Pattala.
Type: Idiophones > Percussion > Xylophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#:
Country: Myanmar.
Region: South East Asia.

Description: The Pattala [in Burmese: ပတ္တလား in IPA: patta.la: Burmese pronunciation: [pattəlá] in Karen: paw ku[1]; in Mon: ဗာတ် ကလာ; is a Burmese xylophone, consisting of 24 bamboo bars [called ywet / ရွက် or asan အဆံ] suspended over a boat-shaped resonating chamber. It is played with two padded mallets.

The pattala is tuned similar to the diatonic scale. The earliest historical mention of the pattala is in the Kalyani Inscriptions and dates to CE 1479. The pattala is similar to other mainland Southeast Asian instruments, including the ranat ek and the Cambodian roneat ek.

A Pattala being played – Myanmar 19th Century

In pre-colonial Burma, the pattala was used in royal court music. In fact, when the piano was first introduced to the Burmese court in the late 1800s. It was tuned to the scale of the pattala.

In modern days, classical Burmese chamber music is accompanied by either the pattala or the saung gauk [the Burmese harp], both of which are capable of performing a harmonic countermelody. The pattala is also a key instrument in the Burmese ensemble orchestra, the hsaing waing. The pattala is also prominently featured in Burmese drama, anyeint.

Construction: The bamboo slats are typically made from the wood of giant bamboo [Dendrocalamus giganteus], which is durable and produces a stable sound. Slats are occasionally made from brass or iron. The mallets are made from hardwoods such as teak, padauk, black cutch, yindaik, or pyinkado. The resonance box is made from teak and decorated with inlaid glass or gold leaf.

Citations: Bibliography: Cooler, Richard M. 1995. The Karen Bronze Drums of Burma. BRILL. p. 29. ISBN 9789004099333 ; 簡約雍容狂野. 國立傳統藝術中心. 2006. pp. 112–113. ISBN 9789860059182 ; Description of the Burmese Empire. Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. 1833. pp. 128 ; Parakilas, James; E. Douglas Bomberger 2002. Piano Roles: A New History of the Piano. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300093063. Rice, Timothy 2011. Ethnomusicological Encounters with Music and Musicians. Ashgate Publishing. p. 185. ISBN 9781409434023. Brandon, James R. 2009. Theatre in Southeast Asia. Harvard University Press. p. 127. ISBN 9780674028746 ; Websites:


Name: Bhusayah.
Type: Idiophones > Percussion > Metallaphones > Cymbals.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#:
Culture: Newari.
Area: Kathmandu valley.
Country: Nepal.

Description: The bhusayah are cymbals that are played by the Newari people in Nepal. In the Kathmandu valley the term designates a category of large-bossed cymbals made in three sizes. The largest of the bhusayah is is mainly users in the instrument ensemble it is called the dhime baja.

Citations: Bibliography: S. Wiehler-Schneider and H. Wiehler: ‘A Classification of the Traditional Musical Instruments of the Nevars ; Websites: Grove Music / Bhusayah article ;


The xylophone [from the Greek words ξύλον—xylon “wood” and φωνή—phōnē meaning “sound or voice” or “wooden sound”. It is a musical instrument of the percussion family consisting the use of wooden or metal bars struck by mallets to produce the sound. Each bar is regarded as its own Idiophones as sound vibrates from the entire bar when struck.

In theory almost any scale can be used in tuning a xylophone, although most ranges include pentatonic [five note] and heptatonic [seven note] scales such as the Burmese Patalla is tuned something not all that dissimilar to a diatonic scale. Xylophones are widely played by many cultures in Africa [balofon, marimba] and they are found in South East Asia [patalla]. In many Western countries diatonic and chromatic instruments are found. They are made available as children’s toys or orchestral use.