The Burma Bell is a traditional bronze bell from the temples of Burma.
New this year in Malmark's Percussion Line is Burma Bells, also known as Burmese Bells, Burmese Whirling Gongs or (Kyey se) Kyeezee Gongs. These unique percussion instruments have traditionally been used in Burmese music, Gamelan and in ceremonial temples but have found their way into Western music. The instruments are made of cast bronze and sometimes bear engraved symbols with cultural or spiritual and religious meanings. Malmark's Burma Bells are a metal plate chime with a highly polished finish in 3 sizes. They are not tuned but pitch varies according to their size and shape and all have the rich harmonics characteristic of Burma Bells.
Traveling to summer events with our new Burma Bells allowed us to demonstrate their unique sound to a lot of people who found them both curious and captivating! After first noticing the vibrato effect people are amazed at the depth, volume and sustain of the gong's sound – they ring on and on! Many had ideas for using them while other people were asking "how do you use this?"
So, this information comes to you, our eNewsletter readers first! Here is our current list of ideas for a Burma Bell:
Use for dramatic effect in music or readings
To create a spiritual or meditative mood, e.g. in a garden or temple
To add a unique harmonic dimension to music
Religious settings or ceremonies
For healing and meditation
Ring to open or close a ceremony or concert
Ring as part of an All Saints Service or funeral/memorial service
Percussionists/Rock bands use them for their unique bell sound
How to Play the Burma Bell:
Now that you have some ideas for using a Burma Bell, how do you play it? As with other gongs the Burma Bell is played by striking it with a mallet: it could be wood, wood-covered with felt or suede, rubber or another mallet that aligns with the size of the gong. (i.e., the small Burma Bell needs a denser mallet head than the larger Burma Bell.) To accomplish the characteristic whirling, twirling effect: strike the gong on the lower corner with the mallet while holding it suspended by a string or rope sufficient to support the moving gong's weight and the Burma Bell will start spinning. You will notice the effect is easier to discern in the smaller Burma Bell but still present in the larger size from a distance. And, as with all percussion instruments – experiment to get the sound or effect you like.
If you find a use for your new Malmark Burma Bell, share it with us at firstname.lastname@example.org