Also:       cisi      

Contextual Associations

The kyi-zi is a metal plaque idiophone of the Burmese people of Burma (Myanmar). It is a sound-producing instrument used in Buddhist religious worship.  A contextual photograph showing a large kyi-zi suspended from a horizontal pole being carried in a procession at a Buddhist temple can be found in the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music (v. 4: 376). What precisely the symbolism of the instrument's shape might be or how its sounding adds meaning or structure to the practices in which it is incorporated is unclear to us; however, in many Buddhist practices throughout Asia seemingly simple objects and sounds carry significance.


The kyi-zi is a roughly triangular-shaped plaque made from bronze. It is struck with a beater, although this particular instrument did not come with one.

Player - Instrument Interface and Sound Production

No sources have been found that describe how the playing of this percussion plaque fits into the various religious practices of which it is a part. When struck with a hard beater it gives of a high, dry, and fast decaying sound.


No sources were found that explain the origin of this instrument.

Bibliographic Citations

Keeler, Ward. 1998. "Burma." In The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music v.4. ed. Terry E. Miller and Sean Williams. New York: Garland Publishing, pp. 363-400.

"Kyi-zi." 1984. NGDMI v.2: 491.


Instrument Information


Continent: Asia

Region: Southeast Asia

Nation: Myanmar

Formation: Burmese

Classification (Sachs-Von Hornbostel revised by MIMO)

111.221 idiophone--individual percussion plaque struck with a non-sonorous object (hand, stick, striker)

Design and Playing Features

Category: idiophone

Energy input motion by performer: hammering

Basic form of sonorous object/s for idiophone: plate - flat

Sound objects per instrument: one

Resonator design: no resonator

Number of players: one

Sounding principle: striking - direct

Sound exciting agent: beater/s - stick with hard ball end

Energy input motion by performer: hammering

Pitch of sound produced: indefinite pitch

Sound modification: none


7.3 in. length

Primary Materials


Entry Author

Roger Vetter