Vietnamese Traditional Instruments

Dan Nguyet
Dating back to 8th-century northern Vietnam, the instrument's popularity quickly spread throughout the country. Known as the moon lute because its round resonator resembles a full moon, it has two strings and 8-to-12 frets.

Dan Tranh
A Vietnamese adaptation of the Chinese zheng, this 16-stringed zither is made with ngo dong, a flexible soft wood. Its strings rest on movable bridges made from wood or ivory.

Dan Bau or Dan Doc Huyen
This monochord instrument is uniquely Vietnamese and can be traced back to 7th-century northern Vietnam. The musician holds a bamboo pick in the right hand and plucks the steel string to obtain harmonics while the left hand moves a flexible handle carved out of buffalo horn to create the melody.

Dan Bau Tram
An extended version of the Dan Bau fitted with a thicker string to produce bass sounds.

Dan Bau Go
In 1966, at the age of ten, Pham Duc Thanh modified the classical Dan Bau by placing pieces of bamboo under the string and used a bamboo stick to strike the string at several intervals. He introduced this redesigned instrument to the country on Vietnamese TV in 1986.

Dan Goong
Originally played by the minorities of southwestern Vietnam, this tube-like instrument is made from a bamboo trunk 50 centimetres high and eight centimetres in diameter. Six strips of attached bark are used as strings; they are elevated by bamboo bridges and arranged to produce various pitches.

Dan Nhi Cao (Nhi 1)
Originally from the Guandong region of China, this two-string fiddle is similar to the Chinese gao hu. It is frequently used to accompany female singers.

Dan Nhi Trung (Nhi 2)
Similar to the Chinese erhu, this two-string fiddle is frequently used to accompany male singers.

Thanh La
A palm-size gong used in theatrical productions and ceremonial music.

Sinh Sua
Four 25.5cm x 7.5cm pieces of wood held two in each hand originally from rural areas in central Vietnam.

Luc Lac
Resembling sleigh bells, this instrument is used to express joy.

Sinh Tien
A unique Vietnamese instrument, this coin clapper is made out of a hardwood with six old Vietnamese coins loosely attached by three screws.

Phach (Hat Van)
A woodblock played with two sticks of hardwood used in possession music of northern Vietnam.

Phach (Hue)
Two pieces of hardwood 20cm long used to accent measures in songs from central Vietnam.

Song Loan
A small cylindrical piece of hardwood and a spherical piece of wood fastened to a flexible metal clamp, this instrument creates a high-pitched sound when tapped by a foot.

Trong Trong
is the generic term for drum, of which there are many types in Vietnam. Drums are used to create both festive and solemn moods as well as to accompany the movements of actors on stage. Traditionally, a drum was used to mark the passing of time at night.

Phan Duc Thanh

Lieu Nguyet Lan

See Also:
Vietnamese Traditional Music

CD's Available:

Oliver Sudden Productions K10-19CD
Vietnamese Traditional Dan Bau Music
Oliver Sudden Productions K10-14CD
Vietnamese Traditional Music
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