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Vietnam Art Performance

Vietnam Art

Hue music and song

Chamber music originated from royal music at the beginning of the 19th century in the Nguyen Dynasty. It was well developed by the time of King Tu Duc. By the end of the 19th century, it was popularized and ditties were added along with other folk songs of the Binh Tri Thien people. With this foundation, the music and songs of Hue are a combination of folk and royal music.

 

The musical characteristics of Hue music and song have developed considerably, and musicians can play all the styles common to musical instruments, including solos, duets, trios, etc. Apart from that, there is also a pair of "Senh" and sometimes there is flute accompaniment. In the latter half of the 20th century, Hue music was professionally performed in public spaces to make a landmark out of a new traditional style of Vietnamese performance art.

 

Hue music and songs bear a unique feature of characterizing the lives of people living in the central regions of Vietnam. In fact, Hue music is a combination of musical factors from various groups such as the Viet, Cham, Chinese, and others

Gongs or Cong-Chieng

Gongs are musical instruments made of alloy bronze, sometimes with gold, silver, or black bronze added to their composition. In the Kinh language, the word cong identifies convex gongs and the word chieng refers to the flat ones. Gongs vary in size from 20 to 120cm in diameter.

Gongs may be played one at a time or in groups of 2 to 20 units. The Muong, as well as other ethnic groups in the Truong Son-Tay Nguyen regions, use gongs not only to beat the rhythm but also to play polyphonic music. Ensembles of gongs usually include several sets that vary in number and function during the performance.
Gongs can be struck with wooden sticks, mallets, or even bare hands. There are techniques that can be used to shut off sounds and to produce melodies.
In some ethnic groups, gongs are only intended for men to play. However, the sac bua gongs of the Muong are played by women. In other ethnic groups, both men and women may play. In general, taboos regarding cong-chieng customs differ from ethnicity to ethnicity.
Gongs hold great significance and value for many ethnic groups in Tay Nguyen. The gongs play an important role in the lives of the inhabitants of Tay Nguyen; from birth until death, the gongs are present at all the important events, joyful as well as unfortunate, in their lives. Almost every family has at least one set of gongs.
In general, gongs are considered to be sacred instruments. They are mainly used in offerings, rituals, funerals, wedding ceremonies, New Year’s festivities, agricultural rites, victory celebrations, etc.
In the Truong Son -Tay Nguyen region, playing the gongs electrifies the people participating in dances and other forms of entertainment. Gongs have been an integral part of the spiritual life of many ethnic groups in Vietnam.


Nha nhac, Vietnamese Court Music - An Intangible Cultural Heritage

On November 7, 2003, UNESCO bestowed world heritage status on 28 relics of nations as masterpieces of oral and intangible heritage of humanity. Among the 11 masterpieces of Asia, nha nhac (royal music) represents the first intangible legacy of Vietnam to have been put on this list.

The UNESCO Council appraised Vietnamese royal music in the following terms: “Vietnamese royal music represents an elegant and refined music. It deals with the music performed in the imperial courts and on different anniversaries, religious festivals, and on such particular occasions. Of the different categories developed in Vietnam, only the royal music was national.”Nha nhac (Vietnamese royal music) and its principles came to Vietnam under the Ho Dynasty (1400-1407). The Ho Dynasty, however, only existed for a short time, so nha nhac rapidly fell into oblivion. In 1427, Le Loi defeated the Chinese Ming invaders and liberated the country. However, nha nhac only began to develop in the reign of King Le Thanh Tong (1460-1497) and reached its peak under the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945).Nha nhac is genre of scholarly music. It attracted the participation of many talented songwriters and musicians, with numerous traditional musical instruments.From now on, nha nhac will have opportunities to preserve, develop and popularize to the public, inside and outside the country

Dan Bau

Dan bau is a musical instrument that touches the heart. The music of dan bau (one-stringed zither) should be solely for the pleasure of its player. Don 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.

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. It consists of an oblong box-shaped sound board, slightly narrower toward one end, with a slightly warped top made of unvarnished soft light wood, sides made of hard wood, and a bottom of light wood pierced with holes for better sound. At one end of the sound board is a flexible bamboo rod that goes through a dried calabash whose bottom end has been cut out before being fixed on the sounding board. At the other end of the sounding board is a peg made of wood or metal used for tuning. The metal string is attached to the rod and to the peg. 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 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 that the sound carries, while still preserving the quality of the sound.

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 dan bau has been performed on major stages in foreign countries.

Lullabies song

 

Hát Ru (Lullabies) are a sort of folk music often heard in Vietnam, especially in the countryside. Ru, certainly, are songs to lull babies, but vietnamese women use them to consign their fates and also to express human feelings such as homesickness, wife missing her husband, etc. As the function of a lullaby song is to make the child slowly fall into sleep, the song is quiet, the tones stretched and melodious.

The melodies of Ru vary from one region to another. Ru are original or modified six-and-eight foot/line popular poems put to music. The rhythm is determined by the meter of the poem, but the lines are elongated with nonsense syllables à ơi, ù ơ, à á ơ, à ơi ơi.
In North Vietnam, Ru are sung in a straight pentatonic scale DO-RE-FA-SOL-LA. The following songs are lullaby songs sung by a mother to her child.


Cai Luong

Cai luong is a kind of folk music that developed in the early 20th century. It was first played by amateurs in the south. Thanks to their soft voices, southerners sing cai luong very romantically.

The performance includes dances, songs, and music; the music originally drew its influences from southern folk music. Since then, the music of cai luong has been enriched with hundreds of new tunes. A cai luong orchestra consists mainly of guitars with concave frets and danakim.
Over time, cai luong has experienced a number of changes to become a highly appreciated type of stage performance.

Traditional martial art

Vietnamese martial arts have also assimilated elements of traditional Asian medicine. Confucianism and other Asian philosophies, as well as systems of ethics, military arts, and aesthetics. The practice of martial arts expresses the concept of a perfect whole embodied in yin and yang and also the notion of the five basic elements that make up the universe.

Hát Chầu Văn

The Vietnamese are very religious but not fanatical. Compared to other categories, cult music was not widely developed. The most significant cult song type is Hát Chầu Văn. This is a kind of incantation music (although it was classified as ritual music), but its purpose was to hypnotize the person who was estranged from the spirits through musical airs, rythms and lyrics.

Quan Ho singing

Hát Quan Họ was born about the 13th century in the Bắc Ninh province and was always heard during spring festivals, especially of the Buddhists. Bắc Ninh is the province where numerous pagodas were built, therefore, big Buddhist offering ceremonies were celebrated each year in spring. Boys and girls came to adore Buddha and after that, gathered together in front of or inside the pagoda orin the field to sing "Hát Quan Họ".

Water puppets

Roi Nuoc is a traditional Vietnamese performance art using colorfully painted and costumed wooden puppets. They most closely resemble marionettes, with jointed arms, legs and heads. Roi Nuoc are controlled by a puppeteer by way of long poles that are hidden under water. The stage is a small pool, with a scenic backdrop, hiding the puppeteers. Performances are based on traditional folklore or historical events. Music and audio, either recorded or live, accompany the performances.


When To Travel To Vietnam

Good time to Travel in Vietnam is from September to June. However, Vietnam has three different regions – the North, the Central and the South – each with different weather patterns and different rainy seasons. This means that there is neither a best time nor a worst time to visit Vietnam. Hot summer or Cold winter is not that a big deal. Nice beaches such as Halong bay, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Mui Ne - Phan Thiet or Phu Quoc Island are always available; Sapa and Dalat highlands offer great places for cool temperature. You can find your favourite kind of weather all year round for your next Vietnam Tours!

 

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