February 27, 2010, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Burma

By the 1930s, the imported Western piano had gained popularity among Burmese musicians. It was used in the new “modern music”, a Western-Burmese fusion, as well as being played in Mahagita chamber ensembles along side the saung-gauk (harp) and violin or used as the solo accompanist to a singer. It was even used to accompany silent films.
In the classical context, musicians transfered the playing techniques from the patala (xylophone) and pat waing (the tuned drum circle) to the piano. Pianists often play improvisations based on Mahagita pieces, with fast, virtuosic and highly ornamented runs based on the saung-gauk style developed in the 1930s.

Here’s an improvisation by university student simply titled “Best Piano Solo.”



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