Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Dan bau embodies Vietnamese culture

VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam’s dan bau, or monochord, produces seductive sounds which represents the Vietnamese soul and feelings. Dan bau is considered a special witness of Vietnam’s history and culture.

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People’s artist Hoang Anh Tu plays the dan bau — Photo: VOV
The dan bau has a simple design and is made of materials widely available in Vietnam. The bamboo tube once used to make the body of the instrument has been replaced by a rectangular wooden box 1 meter in length.
A string is stretched between two fixed bridges. A bigger bridge, 50-70 cm bamboo or buffalo horn stick, is linked to a sound box made from a dried gourd. The steel string used to be made of rattan or silk.
The player plucks the string of the monochord with his or her fingers, or a plectrum while vibrating the bridge to produce sounds. Monochord player Kim Thanh said “The dan bau produces sounds that contain multiple frequencies.
It has two main parts: the plectrum which creates sounds and the bridge like the on the guitar frets are used to change the pitch, while a dan bau player uses a hand to manipulate the bridge and the string.”
The dan bau is played in almost all Vietnamese traditional music genres: Xam singing, Cheo popular opera, Cai luong renovated theatre, and Hue royal court music.
The dan bau is considered singing the sound of Vietnamese soul. Assoc. Prof. Dang Hoanh Loan said “Vietnam’s dan bau, like the folksong, was born when the Vietnamese nation was founded.
There are 3 tasks that need to be done: promptly organize a national or international workshop to promote dan bau, submit a national dossier on this instrument, and compile a dictionary of Vietnamese traditional music.”
Dan bau is played in traditional setting and in contemporary performances of Pop or World music to entertain foreigners and introduce Vietnamese culture to the world.


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