Đàn tỳ bà
It is made of wood, with a pear shape and four strings made of nylon (formerly twisted silk). The instrument is held in a near-vertical position when playing and its playing technique involves frequent bending of the tones with the fingers of the left hand. The strings are plucked with a small plectrum similar to a guitar's but larger. It was associated with the royal court and is still used in the ensemble that performs at the Imperial Palace at Huế.
The instrument's name is a Vietnamization of the name of the Chinese pear-shaped lute, called pipa, from which the đàn tỳ bà is derived. "Đàn" is the Vietnamese prefix meaning "stringed instruments", which is part of the name of most traditional stringed instruments of the Viet majority.
- Garland Encyclopedia of World Music South East Asia p262 "The tỳ bà, a pear-shaped lute, first appeared in Vietnam in the early 600s"