There are from seven to ten or more musicians in the Saing Waing ensemble.
They are the Pat Waing player, Brass Gong Circle-player, Gong set player, Main drum player,
the Xylophone player, Oboist, Flutist, Si drum player, Cymbal player and a bamboo clapper player.
Larger groups have two oboists; gong set players and a bamboo clapper players. Smaller groups have less instruments.
The minimum main instruments of the Saing-Waing are the Pat-Waing, the main drum, the brass set and the oboe.
The main instrument and possibly the hardest to play is the circle of drums (Pat-Waing)
It consists of 21 to 23 drums set in a circle that have to be individually tuned. They are tuned with a special substance,
called "drum food" and consists of cooked rice kneaded together with the ash of tamarind or Banyan wood and is used
on the top of the drumhead, in the centre. The drumhead is struck on the top along the circumference with the
fingers to create the sound. The amount of the sticky substance used determines the sound of drum.
The circle of brass gongs (Kyay Waing) are found to the right of the Patwaing and decorated in the same manner. It
too can be tuned but with bee's said to be more melodious than the gong set. The gong set (Kyay Moung) has countersunk
holes in the gongs for hanging. They are strung up and usually have 17 to 19 gongs.
The Xylophone (Pattala) is an instrument consisting of a series of bamboo strips strung up with cords.
Toddy's patella's have 24 or 25 sound strips.
The main drum (Patma) is clearly seen in the Saing Waing as the beam that has the carving of the dragon carries this drum.
The oboe like instrument (Hne) has a full musical scale that is absolutely essential for any sort of Myanmar musical performance.
Musical instruments are classified as either "Male" or "Female". Those instruments that can articulate are called female and
include the oboe and flute. Those instruments that articulate notes one by one are male and include the drum set, bras set,
gong set and Xylophone. Male instruments mark the time when music is played and the only female instrument that can compete
with male drum set or brass set is the oboe. Hence the importance is the oboe.
The oboe belongs to the right wing of the Orchestra together with the other instruments that can articulate all notes of a
The Bamboo Flute (Palwe) is used especially in musical pieces of a rural nature.
Then there are the cymbals. The small cymbals (Linguins) are made with copper and Singapore Lead. This substance
is made into a bowl with broad brims all around. Little holes are made on top of the bowls through which cords
are fixed and the instrument played with both hands by holding the cords.
Linguins are instruments than cannot be played alone. It must be player incombination with other instruments.
The bamboo clappers are used with the timing bells.
The timing bells (cee) , a pair of small metallic cymbals, is the main instrument among all Myanmar traditional instrument
for it regulates the beat of all the singing and dancing. With bamboo clapper, they regulate the music.
The cee is a brass instrument though it may be mixed with silver to give it a more melodious sound.
How marvellous our Myanmar Traditional Orchestra is! Please be amused it.