First of its kind: A traditional music guidebook

The Book : A guide to learn music
Author : Sangay Tala


Sangay Tala’s new book “A Guide to Learn Music” contains some interesting facets on Bhutanese traditional music.

Sangay Tala, a music teacher at Zhemgang Lower Secondary School, spearheaded the creation of “A Guide to Learn Music,” a major, useful, and practical musical manual (Ngencha Lhabjang gi Lamtoen).

The author believes that there is a growing appetite among Bhutanese music lovers for a guide book which isn’t available till date.

 “This publication, without a doubt, can contribute to educate future generations and music aficionados. It can also serve as a reference and future research for the Centre for Bhutan and GNH Studies,” he said.

According to the author, the additional goals of releasing a musical guidebook are to renew and revitalize the role of music in schools, allowing for regular programs. He also stated that it will contribute in the provision of recreational opportunities to keep young people away from unhealthy lifestyles.

Furthermore, by providing a self-guided and easily accessible reference handbook, it will improve children’s learning of music both practically and theoretically.

According to Sangay Tala, the primary goal of publishing a musical guidebook is to “promote and preserve Bhutanese age-old tradition and culture through the persistent use of music programs in schools.”

The musical guidebook is the result of his eight years of experience as a music instructor, which included conferring with other music tutors. In response to aspirations of the students, he started working on a musical guidebook in 2018.

The guidebook contents five sessions each for Dramnyen (guitar), yangchen (stringed musical instrument by two flat sticks), lingbu (flute), chiwang (fiddle), and six note dramnyen which would take four years to master.

His musical manual includes instructions for numerous Bhutanese musical instruments in musical notation with visuals. Bhutanese music has historical roots, and he claims that Bhutanese people revere and respect musical instruments because they are all incarnations of gods and goddesses.

Sangay Tala comes from Palangbi village in Zhemgang’s Phangkhar gewog. He attended Muenselling Institute in Khaling under the stewardship of Her Majesty the Gyalyum Tseyring Pem Wangchuck.

Prior to his appointment by His Royal Highness Prince Namgyel Wangchuck as a music instructor at Zhemgang Lower Secondary School in 2014, he had worked in Bhutan Star, Doegar Puensum, and Aman Kora.

As a keen musician Sangay Tala also takes online music lessons for the benefit of all interested music lovers.

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