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A Short Introduction To The Music Of Vietnam

Music is an essential part of Vietnamese life and has long been appreciated since ancient times. Unlike other traditional Asian music which perhaps is a required taste, the sound of Vietnam is soothing, melodic and pleasing to the ear. It is played to express inner feelings and emotions and also to accompany traditional folk song and dance as well as water puppet shows.

Dan Nhi  player accompanying a Vietnamese folk singer accompanying vocalist

(Above photo) Dan Nhi player accompanying a Vietnamese folk singer

Dan Nhi

(Above photo) Dan Nhi

There are a wide range of interesting Vietnamese musical instruments, some of which are shared with China, the two-string Dan Nhi played vertically with a bow being one example. Others, like the Dan Bau (monochord), are totally exclusive. Although the instrument has only one string it produces a distinctive sound and can be used to perform numerous melodies which are soft and sweet. It is performed as solo, ensemble or accompaniment for singing.

Dan Tranh

(Above photo) Dan Tranh

Dan Bau (monochord)

(Above photo) Dan Bau (monochord)

Many of the traditional instruments of Vietnam can be heard as the backing of many popular songs of today alongside modern instruments like the guitar.

Sao Truc (Bamboo Flute)

(Above photo) Sao Truc (Bamboo Flute)

Dan Bau (monochord)

(Above photo) A Dan Bau (monochord) player accompanying Vietnamese dancers

Words and photos copyright Spencer Lloyd Peet. All rights reserved..

A Short Introduction to the Music of Vietnam first appeared in NEO magazine issue 154 as part of the feature NEO's Guide to Vietnam and is used with permission.

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