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Vietnamese Music Overview

Vietnamese Singers

Vietnamese Musicians

Vietnamese Dance and Performing Arts

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Traditional Vietnamese music is highly diverse and syncretist, combining native and foreign influences. Throughout the country's history the largest foreign influence on traditional music was from the music of China, but later on there was a smaller influence from the music of Champa, which the Vietnamese court found intriguing. Some claim that classical Vietnamese music more closely resembles that of Mongolia and Japan.

Imperial court music

Nh nhạc is the most popular form of Imperial Court music, specifically referring to the court music played from the Tran Dynasty to the very last Nguyen Dynasty of Vietnam, being synthesized and most highly developed by the Nguyen emperors. Based on earlier Vietnamese imperial court music, which has primary influence from Ming dynasty's imperial court and later the music of Champa. Along with Nh nhạc, the Imperial Court of Vietnam in the 19th century also had many royal dances which still exist until nowadays. The theme of most of these dances is to wish the kings longevity and the country wealth.

Folk music

Vietnamese folk music is extremely diverse and includes quan họ, ht chầu văn, ca tr, and h, among other forms.

    Quan họ

Quan họ (alternate singing) is popular in H Bắc (divided into nowadays Bắc Ninh and Bắc Giang Provinces) and across Vietnam; numerous variations exist, especially in the northern provinces. Sung acappella, quan họ is improvised and is used in courtship rituals.

    Ht chầu văn

Ht chầu văn or ht văn is a spiritual form of music used to invoke spirits during ceremonies. It is highly rhythmic and trance-oriented. Before 1986, the Vietnamese government repressed ht chầu văn and other forms of religious expression. It has since been revived by musicians like Phạm Văn Tỵ.

    Nhạc dn tộc cải bin

Nhạc dn tộc cải bin is a modern form of Vietnamese folk music which arose in the 1950s after the founding of the Hanoi Conservatoire of Music in 1956. This development involved writing traditional music using Western musical notation, while Western elements of harmony and instrumentation were added. Nhạc tộc cải bin is often criticized by purists for its watered-down approach to traditional sounds.

    Ca tr

Ca tr (also ht ả đo) is a popular folk music which is said to have begun with Ả Đo, a female singer who charmed the enemy with her voice. Most singers remain female, and the genre has been revived since the Communist government loosened its repression in the 1980s, when it was associated with prostitution.

Ca tr, which itself has many forms, is thought to have originated in the imperial palace, eventually moving into performances at communal houses for predominantly scholars and other members of the elite (this is the type of Ca tr most widely known). It can be referred to as a geisha-type of entertainment where women trained in music and poetry entertained rich and powerful men.

    Ho

"H" can be thought of as the southern style of Quan họ. It is improvisional and is typically sung as dialogues between a guy and girl. Common themes include love, courtship, the countryside, etc.

Modern music

Tn nhạc, literally means modern music, was developed in the 1930s with Western instruments and theories in contrast to the traditional style. Nguyen Xuan Khoat is credited to be the founder. Several famous tn nhạc songwriters include Diệp Minh Tuyền, Thanh Tng and, most especially, Pham Duy, Trịnh Cng Sơn and Văn Cao.

    Pham Duy divides his career into several periods:

  • Folk Songs (Dn Ca), which recorded the images of the Vietnamese during the struggle for independence, culminating in his Song Cycles (Truong Ca), which join several folk tunes to proclaim the greatness of the Vietnamese people.
  • Heart' Songs (Tm Ca) - which aimed to awake humanity's conscience, to protest against violence and inhumanity.
  • Spiritual Songs (Đạo Ca), with a Zen character, which aimed to seek for the truth.
  • Profane Songs (Tục Ca), which tackled head-on hypocritical attitudes and phony virtues.
  • Children's Song (B Ca), Young Women's Songs (Nữ Ca) and Peace Songs (Bnh Ca), which were songs of joy.
  • Resistance Songs and for the motherland
  • Refugees Songs and for life in exile\.

In addition, his many love songs have been sung and learned by heart by three generations over the last 40 years.

After the fall of Saigon, Pham Duy and his family moved to the United States where he settled in Midway City, California. His music was banned in in unified Vietnam between 1975 and 2005. He continues a minstrel's life and appears regularly all over the world to sing his new refugees' songs (tị nạn ca), prisoner's songs (ngục ca) and hoang cam songs.

In 2005, he and his son, the singer Duy Quang, returned to Vietnam to live. To date, dozens of his songs have been allowed to circulate in Vietnam again.

    Trinh Cong Son wrote over 600 songs, and, during the 1960s and 1970s, Joan Baez dubbed him the Bob Dylan of Vietnam for his moving antiwar songs. He became one of South Vietnam's best-known, after his first hit, Ướt mi (Tearing 'Lashes) in 1957. He was frequently under pressure from the government, which was displeased with the pacifist's lyrics of such songs as Ngủ đi con (Lullaby, about a mother grieving for her soldier son). His songs were restricted by the South Vietnamese government. After the reunification in 1975, Son was sentenced by the new communist government, to "retraining" in a labour camp after his family fled to Canada. However, he was eventually honoured by the government and many officials sent their respects with floral tributes. His often melancholy songs about love and postwar reconciliation earned new acceptance and popularity in later years.

There are two singers' names often associated with Trinh Cong Son. One is Khanh Ly. The other one is Hong Nhung.

Khanh Ly, with her unique vocals, helped popularize Trinh Cong Son music in the early years. They often performed together in South Vietnam University Campuses. The voice and the music seemed to be inseparatable.

Later on in his life, Hong Nhung, many years his junior, replaced Khanh Ly's place until his death.

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered at his funeral in Ho Chi Minh city, for a spontaneous ad hoc funeral concert, making such a spectacle the largest in Vietnamese history, next to the funeral procession of Ho Chi Minh. His music remains very popular among Vietnamese, old and young.

    Văn Cao (November 15, 1923 July 10, 1995) was a noted Vietnamese composer whose works include Tiến Qun Ca, which became the  of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and its successor, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. He, along with Pham Duy and Trinh Cong Son, is widely considered one of the three most salient figures of modern Vietnamese music. He was also a poet and a painter.

Since 1956, after the scandal Nhn Văn - Giai Phẩm - a movement for political and cultural freedom, he had to stop composing. All his songs, except Tiến Qun Ca, were prohibited in Nord Vienam. In 1987, his songs were authorized in Vietnam.

He was born Nguyễn Văn Cao in Haiphong and grew up in Nam Dinh Province. He died in Hanoi.

 

Traditional musical instruments

Đn bầu (monochord zither)

The đn bầu is a Vietnamese one-stringed zither. Its origin goes back to the 7th century.[citation needed] This instrument is played by plucking the string while touching it lightly with the side of the hand at specific points, producing harmonics. At the same time, the left hand manipulates a thin, flexible rod made of water buffalo horn, which varies the string's tension. This allows for the production of tones between the harmonics, as well as a wide variety of vibrato and ornamentation.

The instrument was originally amplified with a dried gourd (bầu meaning "gourd" and đn meaning "string instrument"), though today only a small piece of wood in the shape of a gourd placed over the flexible rod remains. Although it was said that "the music of the đn bầu should be solely for the pleasure of its player," in recent years the instrument has also been played in orchestra concerts. Originally, the instrument had a very quiet sound, but since the late 20th century nearly all players use electric pickups and amplifiers to make its sound audible to wider audiences.

A nearly identical instrument called duxianqin (likely derived from the đn bầu) is used in China.

Đn bầu, a musical instrument that touches the heart

"The music of the Dan Bau should be solely for the pleasure of its player.
Don't listen to it if you are a young woman."

This warning, probably coming from vigilant parents wishing to protect their daughters from the emotional appeal of love songs played on this instrument; this gives an idea of the power and charm of its music.

If one sound had to be chosen to evoke Vietnam, for many it would be the sound of the Dan Bau as it is one of only two traditional musical instruments of purely vietnamese origin. The word "bau" means gourd and refers to the dried gourd fastened to the handle, surrounding the string at the point where it connects to the handle. In the past this gourd may have served as a resonator, but today it survives as a decorative feature. Nowadays the Dan Bau is constructed using hardwood for a frame and softwood for the surface.

According to the "Dai Nam thuc luc tien bien" the first dan bau was made in 1770. At its first appearance it was a very simple instrument comprised of a bamboo section, a flexible rod, a calabash or half a coconut. After a process of evolution and improvement, the present form of the Dan Bau is a bit more sophisticated, yet still quite simple.
Bau in general consists of 4 components including soundboard (resonator), spout, gourd, string and tuning peg.

The spout is a piece of bamboo or a buffalo horn that is square-framed at the root, while flat and gradually bent at the top. The spout plays an important role in producing sounds of different pitches beyond fundamental overtones of the instrument.
The string runs along the body of instrument. The past silk-made string is now replaced with iron one.

The gourd is made up from a half of a slender-necked gourd. The gourd covers the spout at the very point where the string is hung. The gourd contributes to increase the loudness of sound for the instrument. Nowadays, gourd is usually made from wood and therefore only served as an adornment.

The tuning peg is made from bamboo (if bamboo Bau), or from wood (if wooden Bau). The tuning peg is located at the inside frame towards the bottom of the soundboard. The string goes through a small hole at the end of the instrument's surface and then gets through the tuning peg. In front of such a hole is a bridge to support the string.
The pluck is a pointed stick of bamboo or rattan.

The Dan Bau is usually tuned to the note C. It uses harmonies (or overtones). When playing the musician plucks the string while touching it lightly with the side of his hand at a point producing a harmony. But because the flexible rod causes the tension of the string to vary, the pitch may be made to rise or fall, the note may be lengthened or shortened, and trills may be played. The technique involving the fingers of the left hand includes vibrating, pressing, alternate pressing and releasing. The Dan Bau may be played on a scale consisting of third-tones or even quarter-tones.

The instrument is played solo or to accompany a poetry recital. During recent years, it has taken a role in orchestral accompaniment to cheo and cai luong opera.
The notes played by the Dan Bau are smooth, sweet, and captivating. In recent years success has been achieved in amplifying the sound, causing an increase in volume and distance the that the sound carries, while still preserving the quality of the sound.
With soft sounds, Bau is suitably used in serene context. In the past, Bau is the instrument of itinerant singers of Xam genre. Later, Bau also participates in orchestra of Cheo genre, Tai tu style's orchestra, in orchestra serving for declamation, in smaller ensemble or solo performance. There have been many musical pieces exclusively composed for Bau solo, such as Vu Khuc Tay Nguyen (Dance of the Central Highland) by Duc Nhuan, Dong kenh trong (The clear channel) by Hoang Dam, Vi Mien Nam (for the South) by Huy Thuc, and so on.

Among many kinds of monochord of countries all over the world, there are Tuntina of India, Cung of East Africa, Tushuenkin of China. However, none of them can produce such a popular and highly artistic system of overtones as that of Bau of Vietnam. The Dan Bau has been performed on major stages in foreign countries.

Đn go (2-stringed fiddle with coconut body)

The đn go is a Vietnamese bowed string instrument with two strings. Its body is made from half of a coconut shell covered with wood, with a small seashell used as bridge.

The đn go is closely related to a similar Chinese instrument, the yehu, and was likely introduced to Vietnam by Chaozhou immigrants.

 
Đn nguyệt (2-stringed fretted moon lute)

The đn nguyệt (also called nguyệt cầm, đn km, moon lute, or moon guitar) is a two-stringed Vietnamese traditional musical instrument. It is used in both folk and classical music, and remains popular throughout Vietnam (although during the 20th century many Vietnamese musicians increasingly gravitated toward the acoustic and electric guitar).

The đn nguyệt's strings, formerly made of twisted silk, are today generally made of nylon or fishing line. They are kept at a fairly low tension in comparison to the guitar and other European plucked instruments. This, and the instrument's raised frets, allow for the bending tones which are so important to the proper interpretation of Vietnamese traditional music. Such bending tones are produced by pressing the string toward the neck rather than bending to the side. The strings are generally plucked with a small plectrum; often a plastic guitar pick is used.

The instrument's standard Vietnamese name, đn nguyệt, literally means "moon string instrument" (đn is the generic term for "string instrument" and nguyệt means "moon"). Its alternate name, nguyệt cầm, also means "moon string instrument" (cầm meaning "string instrument" in Sino-Vietnamese, coming from the Chinese word qn).

 

Đn nhị (2-stringed fiddle with hardwood body)

The đn nhị (also called đn c) is a Vietnamese bowed string instrument with two strings. Its sound box is generally covered on one end with snakeskin.

It is related to the huqin family of instruments of China.

 

 
Đn sến (two-string fretted lute)

The đn sến is a Vietnamese plucked string instrument with two strings and a slender neck with raised frets. It is derived from the Chinese qinqin and is used primarily in the traditional music of southern Vietnam.

 

Đn tam (fretless lute with snakeskin-covered body and three strings)

Đn tam thập lục (hammered dulcimer)

The đn tam thập lục (also called simply tam thập lục, literally "36" in Vietnamese) is a Vietnamese hammered dulcimer with 36 metal strings. It is used in various genres of traditional music and drama, as well as in modernized traditional music.

This is a beating chordophone of Viet minority. Because the instrument has 36 strings, its name as Tam Thap Luc or thirty-six strings was made. Tam Thap Luc has shape of an equal trapezium, with the surface convex in the middle and made from light, soft and undecorated wood. String holders and frame are made from hard wood. On the surface, the two rows of bridges are alternately arranged consequently making 18 bridges for each row. At the left string holders, there are 36 hooks for string hanging, while at the right string holders, 36 tuning pegs are located. Strings are made from metal. Mallets consist of 2 thin and flexible bamboo slabs with their ends covered with felt for soft sounds.

The Tam Thap Luc plays an important role in the band accompanying cheo and cai luong operas. It can also be played to accompany instrument solos, singing, or as part of an orchestra. Recently, more strings have been added so that all semi-tones can be played.

Tam Thap Luc gives sounds with pure, melodious and bustling timbres. Register of Tam Thap Luc is quite large with over 2 octaves tuned according to whole-tone scale. Lower register gives warm and sonorous sounds. Middle register gives full and pure sounds. Upper register gives sharp and neat sounds. When playing, instrumentalist beats on the surface of Tam Thap Luc with two mallets and takes advantages of techniques such as vibration, tremolo, stopping, sliding, making chords, and others. The tones are bright and merry and the notes of an arpeggio can be played in swift succession or simultaneously.

Tam Thap Luc plays an important role in stage orchestras including Cheo popular opera and Cai luong renovated theatre. Tam Thap Luc can be played solo or to accompany singing, or in ensemble in the integrated orchestra of traditional instruments.

Đn tranh (long zither)

The đn tranh (檀箏) is a plucked zither of Vietnam. It has a wooden body and steel strings, each of which is supported by a bridge in the shape of an inverted "V."

The dan tranh can be used either as a solo instrument, or as one of many to accompany singer/s. The dan tranh originally had 16 strings but it was renovated by Master Nguyen Vinh Bao of South Vietnam in the mid 1950s. Since then, the 17-stringed dan tranh has gained massive popularity and become the most preferred form of the instrument used throughout Vietnam.

The dan tranh is derived from the Chinese guzheng, and is also related to the Japanese koto and the Korean kayagum.

The đn tỳ b

The đn tỳ b is a Vietnamese traditional plucked string instrument. It is made of wood, with a distinctive pear shape and four strings made of nylon (formerly twisted silk). The instrument is held in a near-vertical position when playing and its playing technique involves frequent bending of the tones with the fingers of the left hand. It was associated with the royal court and is still used in the ensemble that performs at the Imperial Palace at Huế.

The instrument's name is a Vietnamization of the name of the Chinese pear-shaped lute, called pipa, from which the đn tỳ b is derived. "Đn" is the Vietnamese prefix meaning "string," which is part of the name of most traditional stringed instruments of the Viet majority.

 

 
Kn bầu (oboe)

The kn bầu is a double reed wind instrument used in the traditional music of Vietnam. It is similar in construction and sound to the Chinese suona and the Korean taepyeongso. It comes in various sizes and is a primary instrument of the music of the former royal court music of Huế.

 
T'rưng (bamboo xylophone)

 

Modern and Contemporary Vietnamese Music and Performing Arts   Thuy Nga new Singers
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Vietnamese Music Production in US

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Thy Nga is one of the most respected, and most popular Vietnamese music companies in the world. It is the parent company of their hit-famous musical program, Paris by Night, named after the location of their headquarters and founding place. Paris by Night, is a program full of music, of all genres, skits, folks, and among many others. Its Masters of Ceremonies are Nguyen Ngoc Ngan and Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen.

http://www.trungtamasia.com/

For over 25 years, Asia Entertainment, Inc., an internationally acclaimed, the oldest and most established of the Overseas Vietnamese musical production company, has provided valued entertainment to the homes of millions of Vietnamese around the world.

http://www.vansonentertainment.com/

Ngoi con đường đi thch hợp, kỹ thuật, sng tạo tn kỳ của nhm Vn Sơn Productions, nếu khng c những nghệ sĩ ti hoa ăn khch gp phần th c lẽ, đy cũng chỉ l một cy to trong vườn bch thảo, chnh những nghệ sĩ m Vn Sơn đ nhn ra, đ khai ph mới l những bng hoa cnh l cho trung tm ny tỏa thnh những bng mt đậm đ nghệ thuật.

 

Home page Vietnamese Dessert As Health Food Vietnamese Cuisine Cooking Utensil
Diet & Fitness Popular Dish Nutrition Asian Grocery Online Eat & Travel in Vietnam Vietnamese Recipe Search
History of Vietnamese Food Vietnamese Beauty- Beautify With Food Ingredients & Nutrition Vietnamese Food Calories Restaurant Search
Cooking tips Restaurant Menu Using Cooking Oil Using Herbs- Spices Grocery search
How to Cook Beef How to Cook Shrimp How to Cook Pork How to Cook Fish How to Cook Chicken
Food to Enhance Look Bizarre food of Vietnam Vietnamese Dance/ Performing Arts Vietnamese food Video Clips Visit XUVN.COM for More Insight of Vietnam
 
Vietnamese Culture Vietnamese Society Vietnam Towns in America Asian Communities in America Vietnam Headline News
Vietnamese Dating Dating Race Factor Dating in Vietnam Online Dating Sites Popular Vietnamese Dating Sites
Vietnamese Art Vietnamese Dance/ Performing Arts Vietnamese Singers  Modern/Contemporary Vietnamese Music Vietnamese Religion & Beliefs
Vietnamese Music  Vietnamese Musicians   Vietnamese Music Overview Vietnamese Traditional   Music Modern/Contemporary Vietnamese Music
Vietnam Tourism Overview Vietnam Picture Tour Picture Tour Show Vietnamese Legends & Folklores Vietnamese Classical Literature
Vietnam Travel Guide Vietnamese Clothing Video about Vietnam Vietnamese Religion & Beliefs Vietnamese Music & Performing Arts 
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