Traditional / folk music of Vietnam
Vietnam was under the rule of China for more than 10 centuries. It is one of the oldest cultures in the world with huge musical traditions. Unfortunately many part of folk music may be destroyed during colonization of French or later by United states. Vietnam is small country with large density of population (100 million).
Folk and traditional music is inside the daily life of Vietnamese people. Folk music is like an essential need for them. They use folk music to express their, feelings, needs, encourage themselves for working, fighting, educate their kids, lullabies and many more. These caused that during the history, different Vietnamese groups, developed many different type of folk music instruments, from primitive ones to complicated folk music instruments. Also different folk genres shaped during the different period of this long history, so although some of genres disappeared during the history, today we have a rich treasure of traditional music in Vietnam.
Some of the folk music genres of Vietnam can be mentioned are here:
Hat Xam or Xam singing, exists from 13th century. It was popular in northern area of Vietnam. Ths type of folk music is in fact, songs of blind artists who is wandering from town to town and make leaving be singing in the streets. The beauty of this folk music is in expressing by beautiful rhythms and tones. Most of Xam theme songs talk about the fate or unhappiness of the poor. Some of them also are comedy songs, or about the crimes of rulers. Dan Nhi is a two string fiddler style instrument which is used in this type of folk music.
This type of folk music is also popular in northern areas. It is mixture of trance dancing and singing. It is started from 16th century. The main instrument which is used in this type of folk music is dan nguyet which is a two string guitar style instrument. There are two type of Hát Văns: hat tho and hat len dong. Hat tho is a holy singing and accompanying with the act of worship. It is slow, grave, and dignified. Hat len dong is a psychic dancing. It is a respond to occult powers and expressing the will and orders of some super-natural being.
This type of folk music is a theatre music. It consist of pantomime, instrumental music and dances, combined with legends, poetry, history or even daily life in the lyrics. Sometimes it has acrobatic scenes and magic. This folk music can be done in a large theater or even in a public square of village.
This type of folk music is a singing of women. It is originated from 15th century. An attractive young female singer, entertained visiting men. Maybe just one men or maybe group of men who came to her for celebrating something. This folk music usually has two or three performers but the singer is always female. Dan Day is three string guitar style instrument which is used in Ca trù.
This type of folk music is one of the oldest traditions in the music of Vietnam. It is a chanting of group of men and women. It is challenge and responses between these two groups. The topic of the songs are usually about love. Today there are huge number of Quan họ songs exists and they have been recorded. From complicated to simple one. Some accompanied by instruments and some not. Instrument which is used are traditional or even western instruments.
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Traditional / folk songs for Vietnam
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