Name: Ata.
Type: Idiophones > Lamellaphones > Jaw-Harps.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 121.2
Country: Thailand.
Region: South East Asia.

Description: The Ata is a bamboo jaw harp from the Lahu peoples of Southern China and Northern South East Asia [Thailand, Myanmar, Laos or the “golden triangle” region]. Traditionally it was played during courting. Currently this instrument is mainly made four tourists. Bamboo and metal versions are available.

Playing Techniques: They are played in pairs and are attached to each other by a common string that ends at a bamboo carrying case. Ata were traditionally used for courting, in two different tunings.

Instruments tuned a fifth apart were used for intimate conversations between young people. The ata a is taken up after the couple used the naw or hulusheng mouth organ to get acquainted.

Usage: Instruments 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 @ [Ata Article] ;

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