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About this collection

This thematic digital collection represents the continuation of large-scale preservation through digitization of recorded music in Burma/Myanmar. The purpose is to safeguard the earliest but endangered recorded musical traditions of Burma, and to offer an open access avenue through which contemporary Myanmar and the global community may access those musical traditions. The media digitized for this project, 78rpm records, date from those first produced by local Burmese recording companies in the early 1920s to the end of the 1950s. Covering the stylistic and tuning changes that shift from historic traditions to “international” standards by the 1960s, these recordings are significant as our only existing aural documentation of pre-industrial music in Burma.

 

Collection records contain three styles of Romanization for both Title and Creator metadata. The first is a general approximation of pronunciation for a public audience not familiar with Burmese; the second is the Library of Congress schema; the third is the Myanmar Language Commission schema. The latter two are designed for eventual reversibility back to Burmese script and are familiar to scholars inside and outside of Myanmar. They are each more easily understood if one allows for connections to Pali. With regard to the pronunciation field, we will note that no attempt to approximate the Burmese is perfect due in no small part to the idosyncracies of the spoken language and the difficulty in anticipating the linguistic background of any one user hoping to engage with the collection. We simply hope to provide a useful window for the user and appreciate some latitude in that regard from the more knowledgable members of the scholarly community. Perfection, of course, rests within the Burmese. 

 

Each audio recording captured in the collection results in three files, represented in the repository as a compound object. Those files are: a JPG image of the recording label and stamped matrix number; an MP3 file of the audio, and a WAV file of the audio. The MP3 file is included as a streaming access file that embeds and plays natively within the repository. The WAV file is a high-quality uncompressed file, though large in size, available for download from the repository.

 
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