Traditional Vietnamese musical instruments

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Traditional Vietnamese musical instruments are the musical instruments used in the traditional and classical musics of Vietnam. They comprise a wide range of string, wind, and percussion instruments, used by both the Viet (Kinh) majority as well as the nation's ethnic minorities.



  • Đàn bầu - monochord zither
  • Đàn đáy - long-necked three-stringed lute with trapezoidal body
  • Đàn nguyệt (also called nguyệt cầm or đàn kìm) - moon-shaped two-string lute
  • Đàn sến - two-string lute
  • Đàn tam - fretless lute with snakeskin-covered body and three strings
  • Đàn tranh - long zither
  • Đàn tỳ bà - pear-shaped lute with four strings
  • Đàn đoản (also called đàn tứ) - moon-shaped lute with short neck; little used
  • Guitar phím lõm (also called lục huyền cầm or ghi-ta phím lõm) - "Vietnamized" acoustic or electric guitar with scalloped fretboard; used primarily in cải lương
  • Đàn tứ dây - bass guitar in the shape of a đàn đáy
  • Cầm - 7-stringed zither equivalent to the Chinese guqin; no longer used
  • Sắt - zither with 25 strings equivalent to the Chinese se; no longer used
  • Đàn tính - long-necked lute with a gourd body and two or three silk strings; used by the Tay, Nung, and Thai ethnic groups
  • Bro - fretted zither with a body made of bamboo and a gourd resonator; used by minority ethnic groups in the Central Highlands
  • Goong - tube zither with a bamboo body; used by minority ethnic groups in the Central Highlands





  • Sáo (also called sáo trúc) - transverse flute made of bamboo or hardwood



  • Bi doi - double clarinet similar to the Middle Eastern mijwiz; used in courtship context mainly within the Mường people.

Free reed mouth organs[edit]

  • Đing nǎm - free-reed mouth organ with gourd body and bamboo pipes; played by upland minorities
  • M'buot - free-reed mouth organ with gourd body and bamboo pipes; played by upland minorities




Tuned percussion[edit]

  • Cồng chiêng - tuned gong (comes in both flat and knobbed varieties)
  • Tam âm la - set of three small, high-pitched flat gongs in a frame; used primarily in nhã nhạc music
  • T'rưng - bamboo xylophone
  • Đàn đá - lithophone, commonly having 9+ stone bars, 65 cm-102 cm in length. It is believed the instrument dates back to 1000 BC. Also called Goong Lú (M’nong people), Kologolo (M’nong people), Gôông Luk (Mạ people).

Untuned percussion[edit]


  • Đàn môi - jaw harp
  • Klông pút - set of bamboo tubes; hands are clapped near ends of tubes to produce musical tones
  • Đàn tre "bamboo instrument" - A hybrid form of the Vietnamese plucked string instrument similar to a Đàn tính – called a Đàn tre – was created by Nguyễn Minh Tâm, who escaped from Vietnam in 1982 and ultimately settled in Australia. The instrument has twenty-three 800mm-long wire strings attached to a bamboo tube with a metal hose-clamp around the top rim. A four-litre, rectangular olive oil tin, which acts as a resonator, is clamped to the base of the tube. The instrument is capable of playing both Vietnamese and Western music. The instrument can be seen and recordings of it being played by its creator can be heard at the National Museum of Australia.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Transnational Ties: Australian Lives in the World - Page 289 Desley Deacon, Penny Russell, Angela Woollacott - 2008 "By Jennifer Wilson The dàn tre, translated simply as 'bamboo musical instrument', is the invention of Minh Tam Nguyen. Made from available materials first in Vietnam, the"

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