Types Of Traditional Music Of Vietnam


Vietnam is a multi-ethnic country with long civilization and rich folk music. The characteristic melodies and rhythms of folk songs become the endless source of inspiration for the work of the musicians through various periods. With this article, you will be provided with some knowledge of traditional music of Vietnam.

Traditional music of Vietnam

Vietnamese folk songs originated from folk verses and poems, mainly “lục bát,” which begins with a six-syllable line and ends with an eight-syllable one. Through the time of national history, they were refined and supplemented to become different types of folk songs of each locality, region and ethnic group.

Traditional music of Vietnam

In the closest relationship with poetry is “ngâm khúc”. Similarly, the lullaby is a type of music set from Vietnamese folk verses. Meanwhile, chanty is popular kind of music throughout the country, especially in Central Vietnam and South Vietnam. Chanty is usually combined with the labor movements such as wood drawing and rice pudding. Chanty has collective characteristics; particularly, one person starts the chanty and other people that work together will follow. In some cases, chanty is also used for antiphonal singing.

Types of traditional music of Vietnam

Hò (chanty)

Tri Thien has different forms of chanty including chanty on land and chanty on the river. In the South, chanty on the river is mainly used by the locals, expressing lyrical nature and leisure.

Giặm singing

Nghe Tinh is famous for giặm singing, which can be used while working, taking a rest or gathering together. Ly singing consists of popular antiphonal songs in the Central and South Vietnam such as Lý chuồn chuồn (dragonfly), Lý ngựa ô (black horse) and Lý con sáo (starling).

Giặm singing in Nghe Tinh

Chầu văn

Chầu văn is a form of church singing and has the characteristics of worshiping gods. This kind is available in all three regions. The Central and Southern Vietnam call it “hát bóng”, serving “lên đồng”. Hát chầu văn includes an instrumentalist as a professional spirit priest who is good at playing “đàn nguyệt”, has good voice and can sing many songs. Besides, “hát chầu văn” is accompanied by drum.

Chầu văn

Ca trù (Hát ả đào)

Ca trù is a special form of the North that is prevalent in the fourteenth century. Cà trù consists of a vocalist with two hands playing her “phách”, a “đàn đáy” instrumentalist and a spectator. This is the way of singing poems with strong notes of the melody; therefore, it is quite difficult to sing “cà trù”.

Ca trù

Ca Huế

Ca Huế is a kind of chamber music that was developed into the Central and the South, called “ca Quảng” and “nhạc tài tử”. Ca Huế is the creation of good musical instruments. The instrumentalists mainly perform with sudden inspiration provided that at the end of the song, they can meet each other at tonic. The orchestra of “ca Hue” include ‘đàn tranh”, “đàn tỳ bà”, “đàn nguyệt”, “đàn nhị”, “đàn tam”, “đàn bầu” and flute. The vocalist uses “phách” to beat time.

In addition to these familiar forms, there are some other types of traditional music of Vietnam including “chèo”, “tuồng” and “cải lương”. All forms of traditional Vietnamese music are being preserved and developed. To enhance the knowledge of traditional Vietnamese features, please contact us.