Cornell University

During the spring semester, in-person concerts, events and lectures that involve outside guests will not be held, per the university’s COVID-19 travel and visitor policy.

This is a past event. Its details are archived for historical purposes.

The contact information may no longer be valid.

Please visit our current events listings to look for similar events by title, location, or venue.

Sound, Music, and Buddhism in Myanmar/Burma

Thursday, April 22, 2021 at 12:30pm

Virtual Event

Part of the Ronald and Janette Gatty Lecture series

Gavin Douglas, Professor of Ethnomusicology and Adjunct Professor of Anthropology, UNC Greensboro

According to the seventh Buddhist precept, participation in musical events in the Theravada Buddhist world is deemed inappropriate for devote laity and those who have taken monastic vows.  However, in practice, the life of lay Buddhists and monks is filled with sculpted sound. In this talk, I will examine this precept among the activities of Buddhists in Myanmar. In addition to many Buddhist inflected traditions that are recognized as music (zat theatre, thachin gyi, dhamma gita), there are numerous others situation where sound is musically organized to further Buddhist goals (paritta chants, prayers, sermons, bells and gongs to mark ritual moments).  Interviews with Burmese monks, devote laity, instrument makers, and musicians documented by audio and video reveal many contradictory interpretations of the seventh precept.  For Buddhist scholars, I aim to highlight the significant and largely unacknowledged role that sculpted sound plays in Buddhist practice. For music scholars, I will reveal sonics domains that have previously generated little attention. 

Dial-In Information

Please register at:

Contact with any questions. 

Google Calendar iCal Outlook
Event Type

Lecture, Webinar


Department of Music, Department of Theatre, Film and Dance, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Anthropology, Asian Studies, Music, Department of Performing and Media Arts, Southeast Asia Program, Asian & Asian American Center





Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

James Nagy

Contact Phone



Gavin Douglas

Speaker Affiliation

UNC Greensboro

Open To


Recent Activity