Tibetan word list

(with Wylie spellings)

a che lhamo (a-lce lha-mo) - sister goddess, also a name used for Tibetan opera

Amaleho (a ma le ho) - the most famous nangma, with a text written by the Sixth Dalai Lama, who is accredited with around sixty songs in this form

Bho ki Doegar Tsokpa (Bod kyi zlos tshogs-pa) - The Tibetan Music, Dance and Drama Society, which later became known as TIPA.

bup-chal (sbub-chal) - loud brass cymbals used in lhamo

Chabzhug Chenmo (chab zhubs) the festival at the end of the rainy season retreat conducted by Sera, Drepung and Ganden monasteries

chak-sam (lcags zam) - the iron chain bridges built by Thangtong Gyalpo, founder of the lhamo tradition

cham (' cham) - sacred dance

chang (chang) - barley beer 

Cholkasum (chol-kha gsum) - three provinces (a term first used in exile for U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo)

chu-pa (phyu-ba) - Tibetan traditional clothing

Chungpa (Gchung ri po che pa) - one of the 4 main lhamo groups

dadar (mda' -dar) - five-coloured arrow symbolizing good luck

kagroma (mkha' -' gro ma) - literally ' sky goer' - the dakinis of the five directions

damma (brda ma) - kettle drum used in gar performance

dingu (mgrin-khug) - ' throat vibration'  used in the lhamo singing style

dranyen (sgra-snyan) - Tibetan six-stringed lute

Drepung (' Brad spungs) - the name of one of the great monasteries of Tibet, which has been reestablished in India

doe-gar (zlos-gar) - performing arts, including vocal, music, dance and drama

gar dancers (ssgar phrug pa) - young boys who were trained in court dances

Gegen (dge rgan) - director/teacher of the lhamo troupe

gorshe (sgor ghas) - “round song”, Tibetan round-dance songs

gyallu (rgya-lu) - patriarchs, ' headman'

Gyangkhara (Rgyal mkhar rtse pa) - one of the 4 main lhamo groups

gyokshe (mgyogs gzhas) - 'fast song' in nangma sometimes referred to as shabdro

gyudmang (rgyud mangs) - "many-stringed" - the hammer dulcimer used in nangma usually known in Tibet by its Chinese name, yang chin.

gyurku ("gyur-khug) - different from dingu, meaning change inside the melody (of the namthar)

Jetsun Milarepa (rJe-btsun Mi-la-ras-pa) - famous yogi of the 11th-12th century

khabse (Khab-se) - deep-fried biscuits, served at Losar

Khache (kha che) - Tibetan Muslims - the word comes from "Kashmir"

ka-ta (kha-btags) - prayer scarf

(Khrom skyur gzas) - street songs, usually expressing social criticism or lampooning officials

Kyormolungpa (Skyor mo lung pa) - one of the main Lhamo groups in Tibet

Kyasel (skya-gser) - skya "lay" and gser "monk" - two representatives for the government who were in charge of testing the actors for the Shoton 

lama mani pa (Bla ma ma ni bas) - itinerant story tellers who utilize a thang ka to provide a visual aid in their teaching of of a Buddhist story

lev (le"u) - a part in the namthar

lhamo (lha-mo) - literally "goddess" or "fairy", the name used for Tibetan opera (see also ache lhamo)

lingbu(gling-bu) - bamboo flute (generic term for flute)

Losar (lo-gsar) - Tibetan new year

Mandala (dkyil "khor) - a diagram used in Tantric meditation as an aid to visualization, which represents the residence and perfected attributes of a Buddha [Powers, 1995 #178:452].

moke (mo skad) - “female voice” of the piwang (can refer to the smaller piwang or to the higher pitched string of the instrument)

nagas (klu-mo) - serpent creatures of the underworld

namthar (rnam-thars) - lhamo songs (arias), also "spiritual biography" a term generally used or high lamas" spiritual journeys and the name for the text on which the lhamo stories are based

nangma (nang-ma) - the "chamber music" of Tibet, the word is suggested to be a derivation from the Persian and Urdu Naghma, "melody" or "song"

Nangma Kyido' (nang-ma"i skyid-sdug) “The nangma group of mutual support through good and bad times" (IH)

Nangsa Woebum (sNang-sa "od-"bum) - lhamo based on a local legend from Central tibet about a young maiden who devotes her life to the Dharma

ngonpa (rngon-pa)- the hunter/fisherman figures who perform in the prelude of the opera.

Norbulingka - (nor-bu gling-kha) the summer residence of the Dalai Lama in Lhasa

("ong-bskor) - circumambulation of the fields in the autumn

pagchen ("phag-chen) - "big jumps"- acrobatic movements made by the ngonpas

piwang (pi wang) - two-stringed fiddle, corresponding to the Chinese hu-ch"in

piwang bompo (sbom po) - the coarse (larger) piwng which plays an octave lower

piwang tramo (phra mo) - the "fine" piwang which plays the higher octave

p"oke (pho skad) - “male voice” of the pi wang

ralpa (ras-pa or ral-pa) - acrobatic dances and devotional songs praising Milarepa and performed by troupes of wandering minstrels

ringa (rigs-lnga) - the ones wearing the crown with the 5 dyani buddhas (lhamo fairies)

(Rig gnas Che ba lNga) - the five major Tibetan sciences: technology, healing, communicatio/phonology, logic, Buddhist Tripitaka.

(Rig gnas chung be lNga) - the five minor sciences which include poetics, metrics, metaphor, performing arts and astrology

shabdro (zhabs bro) - "dance" sometime referring to the fast part in nangma

Shangpa (Shangs ri po che pa) - one of 4 main groups performing at Shoton

Shoton (zho-ston) - literally "yoghurt festival" the name for the annual opera festival which took place in Lhasa during the 6th-7th months of the Tibetan calendar

shung (gzhung) - lhamo libretto

shey(gzhas) - song

Shey pön (gzhas-dpon) - "song master", often teacher of a particular song style, one who is recognized as an experienced and conpetent singer. No political function. (IH)

sinpu (srin-po) - cannibal, frightening monster (IH)

Songsten Gampo (Srong-btsan sgam-po)

(srid-pa-ho) - a thangka depicting an astrological diagram hung on the pole at the center of the lhamo stage

suna (sur na) - the double-reed oboe, which is played in gar music

tashi sholpa (bkra-shis zhol-pa) - the "white mask" lhamo tradition, also the good luck dance

te-she (dal gzhas) - "slow song" section in nangma, sometime called gyangshe ("gyangs gzhas) "far song" or "long song"

Thangtong Gyalpo (Thang tong rGyal-po) - purported founder of lhamo in 15th century

toeshe (stod-gzhas) - "western songs" - modified version of folk songs and dances from western and central Tibet which became popular in Lhasa during the early 20th century

trab shung ("khrab-gzhung) - the opera libretto

treling (phred or khred gling) - transverse flute used in the nangma ensemble

tsampa (tsam-pa) - flour made of roasted and ground barley

Tsechak Lekhung (Rtse phyag Las khungs) - the tax office where the lhamo troupes registered for the Shoton Festival

Tsedrung (rtse-drung) - government officials

tsikle (tshig lhad) - filler sylables used in nangma and töshe (eg. a, le, la, ni, etc.)

Tsidevlingka (khral-sde gling-kha) - the park where troupes audition for Shoton

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