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Vietnamese Instruments played by KCBM's members
Dan Bau is a one-string zither native to Vietnam. It is constructed of a long narrow sound box, with a tall curved stem made from water buffalo horn inserted at one end.The single string runsbetween the sound boxand a small wooden gourd attached to the stem. The stem is bent tochange the pitch of the string.
The bass bau was adapted from the dan bau to provide a musical range equivalent to that of a bass guitar. It is simply an electric dan bau with a very thick string on it.
K’Ni is a special form of stick fiddle found only in Vietnam. It was developed from the one-string “violin” of some ethnic groups (Bahnar, Gia Rai, E De, Xe Dang, Pako, and Hre) who live in the Truong Son-Tay Nguyen region in the south central highlands Vietnam. The modern k’ni has two strings. The player sits, holding the instrument between both legs.
The k’ni does not have a resonating chamber or sound box. Rather, the strings are attached by silk cords to a small fish’s scale or plastic resonating disc that is held in the player’s mouth. The player’s mouth acts as the resonating chamber and precise movements of the lips and tongue create a broad range of tonal colors and emotional expression, giving the k’ni its unique sound. Thus, the sounds are altered, almost evoking human pronunciation.
K’longput is another instrument unique to Vietnam. It is made from a series of large bamboo pipes of varying lengths, each closed at one end or open at both ends. The pipes are placed on their sides with the open ends facing the musician, who has no direct contact with the instrument. Instead, the player cups both hands and claps quietly in class="style62">According to a legend, this instrument is the residence of Mother Rice (goddess). Therefore, it is closely associated with agricultural production, being played exclusively by women in the field and at specific festivities such as closing the rice storage house, welcoming the New Year, etc…
The k’longput is native to the Bahnar people of the central highlands, who are said to have created it after hearing the wind blowing into the opening of bamboo in the forest.
T’rung is a suspended bamboo xylophone, which is closely associated with the spiritual life of the Bahnar, TSedan, Giarai, Ede and other ethnic minority people in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The original instruments were simply made, using a series of bamboo pipes struck with small sticks.
There are three types of T'rung: high, medium and bass t’rung. It has been largely improved; the modern t’rung has three rows of pipes spanning three full octaves (about 48 tubes) and is fully chromatic.
Tre Lac is a pair of bamboo tubes mounted on a bamboo frame and tuned an octave apart. The tubes are in different lengths and are cut halves at the upper two-thirds. A node closes the lower end of each tube. Two prongs extend out and fit loosely into a corresponding slot of the horizontal base tube. The base of the frame is attached by a handle which held by a player. When shaken, the concussion of the tubes against the base produces a pitch. Since each instrument makes only one pitch, it takes many single tre lacs to make a complete melody.
Dan Moi (Jaw harps) is usually made from bronze or bamboo.It is held loosely between the two lips, in front but not close to the teeth. It can be found in many cultures around the world and made from a variety of materials.
Khen be Khen be is a six to fourteen-pipe bamboo mouth-organ instrument of Thai ethnic people who live on the Highland regions of Vietnam, with versions to be found in Laos, Northern Thailand and Southern China. Each tube contains a small bronze or silver reed. All tubes are boundtogether into two rows and extend through both sides of the wind chamber.
Khen Be is the exclusive instrument of men and played in entertainment activities. It is usually used accompanying singing and dancing in the moonlight. As nights fall down, young men come and play Khen below houses-on-stilts of their beloved girls to open their hearts. Sometimes, Khen is played during working time such as on the way to the paddies.
Nguyet is used to accompany Van singing, Hue singing, Tai tu singing, Bat am music, ceremonial music and traditional stage orchestra. Today it also used as a solo instrument.
Dinh Pa is found in the south central highland regions of Vietnam, is made from a number of large bamboo tubes fastened in two rows and stood upright. It is played by striking the top ends of the pipes with a padded stick, although originally the open hand was used.
The bass dinh pa is simply a much larger version of the dinh pa.
Sao ba nguoi is a novelty instrument a very long bamboo flute that allows three players to play on it at once.
Dan Bau (see photo Dan Bau above ): Khac Chi, as one of his innovations to the dan bau, has added frets to the instrument’s already complex array of pitch production mechanisms. With this part added, now Dan Bau has more sound with new technique.
Sao Bop (squeezing-bamboo flutes)
Together, Chi Ho and Bic Hoang made this instrument works for their duet.