TRADITIONAL INSTRUMENTS

Experience the sounds of Traditional Vietnamese musical instruments.

 

Traditional Vietnamese musical instruments are the musical instruments used in the traditional and classical music of Vietnam. They comprise a wide range of string, wind, and percussion instruments, used by both the Viet (Kinh) majority as well as the nation’s ethnic minorities.

Plucked

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  • Đàn bầu – monochord zither

  • Đàn đáy – long-necked three-stringed lute with trapezoidal body

  • Đàn nguyệt (also called nguyệt cầm or đàn kìm) – moon-shaped two-string lute

  • Đàn sến – two-string lute

  • Đàn tam – fretless lute with snakeskin-covered body and three strings

  • Đàn tranh – long zither

  • Đàn tỳ bà – pear-shaped lute with four strings

  • Đàn đoản (also called đàn tứ) – moon-shaped lute with short neck; little used

  • Guitar phím lõm (also called lục huyền cầm or ghi-ta phím lõm) – “Vietnamized” acoustic or electric guitar with scalloped fretboard; used primarily in cải lương

  • Đàn tứ dây – bass guitar in the shape of a đàn đáy

  • Cầm – 7-stringed zither equivalent to the Chinese guqin; no longer used

  • Sắt – zither with 25 strings equivalent to the Chinese se; no longer used

  • Đàn tính – long-necked lute with a gourd body and two or three silk strings; used by the Tay, Nung, and Thai ethnic groups

  • Bro – fretted zither with a body made of bamboo and a gourd resonator; used by minority ethnic groups in the Central Highlands

  • Goong – tube zither with a bamboo body; used by minority ethnic groups in the Central Highlands

Bowed

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  • Đàn gáo – two-stringed vertical violin with coconut resonator

  • Đàn hồ – two-stringed vertical violin with wooden resonator; hồ derives from Chinese hu, as in huqin)

  • Đàn nhị – two-stringed vertical violin

  • K’ni (also spelled k’ny or k’ný) – one-string vertical violin; played by the Jarai people of the Central Highland

Struck

 

  • Đàn tam thập lục – hammered dulcimer with 36 metal strings

Wind

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Flutes

  • Sáo (also called sáo trúc) – transverse flute made of bamboo or hardwood

 

Oboes

  • Kèn – lass of double reed instruments similar to the oboe and shehnai

  • Kèn bầu – conical oboe with gourd-shaped wooden bell

  • Kèn đám ma – conical oboe with metal bell; used for funeral music in northern Vietnam

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Free reed mouth organs

  • Đing nǎm – free-reed mouth organ with gourd body and bamboo pipes; played by upland minorities

  • M’buot – free-reed mouth organ with gourd body and bamboo pipes; played by upland minorities

Horns

 

  • Púa – valveless brass trumpet[citation needed]

  • Ốc “snail” – conch trumpet[citation needed]

Drums

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  • Trống – drum played with sticks

  • Trống cái – bass drum

  • Trống chầu or trống đế – the largest of the set of drums used in Hát tuồng.

  • Trống cơm – rice drum

  • Trống đồng (also called trống đồng Đông Sơn) – bronze drum played by the Dong Son culture in ancient times

  • Nruas tuag (also called Ư chua  – drum used by the Hmông ethnic group for funeral music

Tuned percussion

  • Cồng chiêng – tuned gong (comes in both flat and knobbed varieties)

  • Tam âm la – set of three small, high-pitched flat gongs in a frame; used primarily in nhã nhạc music

  • T’rưng – bamboo xylophone

  • Đàn đá – lithophone, commonly having 9+ stone bars, 65cm-102cm in length. It is believed the instrument dates back to 1000 BC. Also called Goong Lú (M’nong people), Kologolo (M’nong people), Gôông Luk (Mạ people).

Untuned percussion

  • Sênh tiền – coin clapper

  • Song loan – woodblock

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