Traditional folk music in Vietnam’s culture - Halong Junk Cruises

Traditional folk music in Vietnam’s culture

A Xoan singing performance in a village of Phu Tho province

Throughout its history, although Vietnam was highly influenced by Chinese musical tradition, along with Korea and Japan, it has still expressed distinctive traditional music by local people. It, therefore, has brought different genres of folk music that performed the culture of Vietnam in ancient centuries. So as to be understood about traditional Vietnamese music, we would like to list three of hundreds famous types traditional folk music in Vietnam. Tours Indochina

Xoan singing (“Hat Xoan”)

Xoan singing was usually sung in communal houses in spring in the 1945s, which originated from Phu Tho province, in the north of Vietnam and 80 kilometers from the capital of Vietnam.

Fortunately, this traditional folk music has still remained and preserved as a culture of Vietnam. Therefore, we would have an opportunity to meet singers and instrumentalists who used to sing Xoan in ancient days to study and experience this traditional Vietnamese culture.

A Xoan singing performance in a village of Phu Tho province

A Xoan singing performance in a village of Phu Tho province

The origin of Xoan singing was from four villages in Phu Tho province: An Thai, Thet, Phu Duc and Kim Dai of Hac Tri district. After the innovation of province, some villages had separated and the Xoan singing has changed following to each different village. The singing style of An Thai village is the same as that of Thet village and Phu Duc village is similar to Kim Dai. Therefore, there are some differences among those villages in repertoire, words and the number of dancers, but it has still created the culture of Vietnam, which local people admires. Travel to Vietnam

It could be thought that Xoan singing has frequently been engraved in the memory of folk artists performing several years ago when there were festivals. Until now, the generation of elderly folk artists has inspired their offspring to learn the style of singing and perform that in the activity of Xoan singing Club. As an usual, People’s Committee of Kim Duc village would open a Xoan singing competition to increase the passion and pride of villagers with this special art on 18th August.

Sometimes, if visitors want to learn and practice this traditional folk music, they could be taught by elderly artists and had many interesting experiences.

Xam singing (“Hat Xam”) 

“Hat Xam” has existed since Tran Dynasty in the 13th century in Vietnam. It is the song of blind artists. It is known that Tran Quoc Dinh, a son of Tran Thanh Tong King, the father of this special performance.

In Tran Dynasty, Tran Quoc Dinh, a son of Tran Thanh Tong King, was talented and performed beautifully with this traditional folk music. Unfortunately, his brother was jealous with Dinh, so he pierced Dinh’s eyes and rendered him blind for the rest of his life. Although his eyes were blind, Dinh loved singing a lot. Then, he invented a simple musical instrument made of rattan and some creepers that brought a deep and sorrowful sound to accompany his singing voice on this special instrument.

“Hat Xam” is a traditional culture of Vietnam that local people loves a lot

“Hat Xam” is a traditional culture of Vietnam that local people loves a lot

The specialty of Xam song is expressed in the rhythms and tones of the unique music. Its touching and lively drum rhythms made it an incredible spectacle. Although it is believed that Xam songs usually has told the fate and unhappiness of the poor people, there are still some funny songs with satirical meanings to show the wrong behaviors, rules or old customs. Consequently, mostly residents loved all the stories besides this folk music and it is considered as the tradition and culture in Vietnam.

These days, despite the fact that singers who can perform Xam songs no longer exist, people have still kept this folk music alive and respected our ancient culture in Vietnam.

Van singing (“Hat van”)

 “Hat van” or it can named as “hat chau van”, is a traditional folk music in Vietnam, which combines abstracting singing and dancing. This art is a religious type to extol the merits of national heroes or godness.

Its music and poetry includes a diverse of rhythms, pauses, tempos, stresses and pitches. It depends on the contents of the text to change the tunes or rhythms and then expressing the features of modern life.

“Hat van” originated in the Red River delta in the sixteenth century, after that spreading out to the whole country. During its development and innovation, “hat van” has brought the beauty of folk music from every corner in Vietnam and amazed many people.

The origin of “Hat van” was from the Red River delta in the sixteenth century in Vietnam

The origin of “Hat van” was from the Red River delta in the sixteenth century in Vietnam

The traditional music that is played with “hat van” is “dan nguyet” (moon-shaped lute). Singers would use a piece of wood or bamboo to mark the rhythm, clappers, drum and gong to create different sounds. This instrument does not only emphasize important passages but also create different effects, which enriches the content of the songs. As a result, “hat van” is a non-tangible culture in Vietnam that should be preserved and proven a strong attraction to musicians in both domestic and international countries.

Traditional folk music in Vietnam’s culture has played an essential part to every Vietnamese people to remind them of ancient times and traditional customs and traditions. Xam singing, Xoan singing and “Hat van” are some famous folk music in Vietnam. They express many meanings and implications that tourists can understand partly the history of Vietnam in some dynasties.

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