chap, xiv GREAT SINGERS HONOURED
though a band of musicians takes part in the celebration of every great event of life, so that it is said no Burman can be born, married, or buried without music, yet there are no teachers of music and singing in Burma, and there are also no written scores. The musician learns by listening to other players, and Burmese music is always more or less descriptive and Wagnerian in character.1
Great singers and dancers are as much honoured in Burma as in Europe. In the King's time Moung Thah Byan was the royal favourite. He had the habit of improvising, and whenever he sang in public, his songs were eagerly taken down by reporters. It was a law of court etiquette that it was treasonable to sing a new song before the King ; led away,
1 See the interesting article on the subject by Shway Yoe in " The Burman," vol. ii. p. 9.
MUSICIANS PLAYING A HARMON1CON AND A HARP.MUSICIANS PLAYING A HARMON1CON AND A HARP.