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date: 14 November 2019


  • Laurence Libin
  • , revised by John Okell


Myanmar (Burmese) term for a bowed chordophone, especially nowadays a Western violin. A typical traditional ‘Burmese fiddle’ is carved of wood in a figure-of-eight outline extending into an integral neck with a large pegbox holding three lateral pegs and surmounted by a bird finial. It has no separate fingerboard. A circular soundhole is centred in the soundtable. The tail of the body extends into an elongated blunt point on which the instrument stands upright on the seated player’s leg. 19th-century examples often have a violin-shaped outline but are built much more heavily than a violin, and are held and played in traditional Burmese manner. The hùn-tayàw (‘horn violin’) is a Stroh violin with the usual four strings tuned in 5ths, having no body but fitted with a resonating plate and a conical metal horn to amplify the sound. These were originally imported from Germany, starting about 1950, but are nowadays manufactured in Myanmar in two versions: aluminium (the cheaper) or brass....

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