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Vietnamese Culture

Traditional Instrument

The dan tranh is a 16 stringed musical instrument in the class that is mainly played by female musicians dressed in the ao dai, a traditional Vietnamese dress.

 

The dan tranh is played on a flat surface, like a stand or a table, using all fingers to pluck the strings which run the length of the bamboo sounding box with 16 bridges (one for each string)  placed toward the middle of the box. The player uses her right hand to pluck the strings on one side of the bridges to produce a melody and her left hand on the other side of the bridges to “bend” the notes, allowing for subtle tones with a quiet and delicate sound. The sound reverberates through the hollow wooden box.

 

Today, the dan tranh remains a popular Vietnamese musical instrument and can be played in solo performance, to accompany a singer or with an orchestra.

Performance