Dan ty ba
Gongs or Cong chieng
Khen Mong |
Lithophone or Dan da
Mong flute or Sao
Moon-shaped lute or Dan nguyet
| Tinh tau musical lute
Tranh zither |
The tinh tau is an original
musical instrument very popular among the Tay, Thai and
Nung minorities of the northern highlands.
It is also called the then lute because it is played in
rituals performed on the occasion of then ceremonies.
Its name describes how it is made: tinh means musical
instrument, tau means gourd. Tinh tau means "lute made
with a gourd".
A tinh tau comprises a sound box made of the dried half
of a gourd shell pierced with sound holes. The sound
board is made of light unvarnished wood and is about
25cm across. The neck is a tapered rod about 80cm in
length, with no frets. The bigger end of the rod goes
through the shell of the gourd; the other end is curved
backward. It has small bells attached to it and two or
three pegs for turning. The strings, two or five in
number depending on the ethnic minority using the
instrument, are made of silk.
The player rests the neck of the tinh tau on her thumb
and middle finger, and plucks it with her index, either
downward or upward, at times in a quick run. The lute
can sound a semi-tone, four quarter-tone and a three
quarter tone because it has no frets. The playing
technique includes vibrato, trills and harmonics.
The tinh tau has a sweet and warm tone. It plays a major
role in then ceremonies and traditional dances. Bass and
soprano instruments are often played together with good
effects. Recitals of tinh tau are well liked at home and
Source: Vietnam Nation Administration of Tourism