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Martial Music in Sri Lanka

Martial Music in Sri Lanka

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Published by Anton Edema
Military Music in ancient Sri Lanka
Military Music in ancient Sri Lanka

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Anton Edema on Oct 05, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/24/2012

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 Martial Music in Sri Lanka. Compiled by Major Anton Edema
The earliest reference to any kind of music associated with military activities and statefunctions are during the reign of Devanampiyatissa, 3
rd
Century BC. The ensemble referredto as
Thalavachara
is said to have been used in the battle field as well as at state functions.The instruments that constituted
Thavalachara
are not known, but from latter referencesthat occur in various chronicles, Treatises, it can be safely concluded that percussion andwind instruments had been used.Texts like Chulawansa, Thupavansa, Bodhivansa, Kuveni Asna, Dabadeni Asna andSddharmalakaraya mention a large variety of musical instruments which cheered theSinhala Soldiers to chivalry in the battle field. The mainstay of the Sinhala military bandwas undoubtedly the drum
many varieties of it. As in the case of modern military bandsthe other variety was the wind instruments. Undoubtedly the wind instruments of theancient Sinhala military band did not have the scope of the sophisticated instruments of today. They primarily used in creating a defiant atmosphere in order to dispel any trace of fear that would have lingered in the mind of the soldiers.It is recorded that King Parakrama Bahu had in his hand, among many varieties, a drum bythe name of Adam Bera. The Sak or the Conch had a place of pride and he even created apost called Sankhanayaka Kitti for the officer who blew the conch.The Sinhal army on its march to the war
front carried a special drum on an elephant. It was held in veneration and the capture of this drum by the enemy was considered to be adefeat of war.In the long annals of history of Sri Lanka, the musical instruments which inspired theSinhala soldier to many a victory in war have come down t 
he age’s up to the end of the
Kandyan period
19
th
century AD. One can the grandeur of the Sinhala Martial band and itsmagnitude by the following list of musical instruments, which according to manyreferences led the army of King Dutugemunu in its long march from Ruhuna toAnuradhapura.
 
Geta Bera
 
Pana Bera
 
Ekas Bera
 
Mihingu Bera
 
Maddala
 
Pataha
 
Loho Bera
 
Yuwala Bera
 
Maha Bera
 
Daduru Bera
 
Roda Bera
 
Mudangu Bera
 
Ghosha Bera
 
Thalappara
 
Virudam

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