Man Mui Zienta Dance: The Influence of Burmese Dramatic Art in Thai Society An Analysis of the Title, Lyrics and Melodic Structure

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Sittiporn Netniyom

Abstract

          The objective of this article is to study the history and meaning of the title, lyrics and melody of Fon Man Mui Zienta’, a popular dance in Northern Thailand, using historical research methodology, linguistic concepts and musical structure analysis. Findings reveal that ‘Fon Man Mui Zienta’ is a legacy of the continuous and enduring Thai-Burmese cross-border cultural flow. Its name derives from ‘Wei Zyan Ta’, a Burmese traditional song with Yodaya (literally means ‘Siamese’) accent. The song is played at the beginning of the performance, with accent and some words close to Burmese language. While the original Wei Zyan Ta’ extols the beauty of Mandalay, the old capital of Burma, ‘Wei Zyan Ta’ in the performance is a lament for lover in a jungle in remote area. Over seventy-five percentages of the melodic structure of ‘Fon Man Mui Zienta’, especially in the first part, are similar to that of the Burmese Wei Zyan Ta’.

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Interviewee:
Kin Hia, U. A Myanmar music teacher. 24 September 2007.