WIKIPEDIA : Music of Vietnam

Music of Vietnam

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to navigationJump to searchPerformance of ca trù, an ancient genre of chamber music from northern Vietnam, inscribed by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2009

Traditional Vietnamese music encompasses a large umbrella of Vietnamese music from antiquity to present times, and can also encompass multiple groups, such as those from Vietnam’s ethnic minority tribes.[1] Throughout its history, Vietnam has been most heavily influenced by traditional Chinese music, along with KoreaMongolia and Japan.[2]



Drum from Sông ĐàVietnam. Dong Son II culture. Mid-1st millennium BCE. Bronze.

Traditional Vietnamese music has been mainly used for religious activities, in daily life, and in traditional festivals. Vietnam’s ethnic diversity has also made its music scene diverse. Each of Vietnam’s ethnic group owns many unique types of musical instruments. The influence of Chinese culture on Vietnamese music is also quite prevalent, such as maids, harps and erhu. However, traditional Vietnamese music, whilst often compared to traditional Chinese music, is not exactly the same.

Royal court music[edit]

Royal Vietnamese court music first appeared in the 1040s after a successful seaborne raid against Champa led by king Lý Thái Tông in 1044. Cham women were taken as singers, dancers and entertainers for the court. The chronicles recorded that a special palace for Cham women was built in 1046, then in 1060 the king ordered a translation of Cham songs, and incorporated Cham drum known as trong com into the royal band.[3] During the 13th century, a new trend of music came from China: songs set to Chinese tunes with Vietnamese lyrics.[4]

Nhã nhạc is the most popular form of royal court music, specifically referring to the court music played from the Trần dynasty to the last Nguyễn dynasty of Vietnam, being synthesized and developed by the Nguyễn emperors. Influenced from Ming Chinese music, it slowly emerged in the royal court in 1430s.[5] Along with nhã nhạc, the imperial court of Vietnam in the 19th century also had many royal dances which still exist in present times. The theme of most dances is to wish the emperor or empress longevity and the country prosperity.Traditional orchestra performing at the Temple of Literature, Hanoi

Classical music is also performed in honour of gods and scholars such as to Confucius in temples and shrines. These categories are defined as Nhã Nhạc (« elegant music » or « ritual and ceremonial » music), Đại nhạc (« great music »), and Tiểu nhạc (« small music ») are classified as chamber music, often for entertainment for the ruler.[6][7][8][9][10] In Vietnamese traditional dance, court dances were encompassed van vu (civil servant dance) and vo vu (military dance).[11][12][13]

Dilettante music[edit]

Main article: Nhạc tài tử

Dilettante music is a genre of chamber music in the traditional music of southern Vietnam. Its instrumentation resembles that of the ca Huế style. Sometimes, modified versions of European instruments like the guitar, violin, and the steel guitar are also included. Vọng cổ ( meaning « Longing for the Past ») is one of the more popular tài tử melodies, and was composed in 1919 by songwriter Mr Sáu Lầu, of Bạc Liêu, in southern Vietnam.[14]

Folk music[edit]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it(January 2011)

Vietnamese folk music is extremely diverse and includes dân caquan họhát chầu vănca trù, and hát xẩm, among other forms.


Chèo orchestra accompanies the performance of water puppetry

Chèo is a form of generally satirical musical theatre, often encompassing dance, traditionally performed by peasants in northern Vietnam. It is usually performed outdoors by semi-amateur touring groups, stereotypically in a village square or the courtyard of a public building, although today it is also increasingly performed indoors and by professional performers.


Blind artists performing xẩm

Xẩm or Hát xẩm (Xẩm singing) is a type of Vietnamese folk music which was popular in the Northern region of Vietnam but is considered nowadays an endangered form of traditional music in Vietnam. In the dynastic time, xẩm was performed by blind artists who wandered from town to town and earned their living by singing in common places.

Quan họ[edit]

Singing quan họ at Hoàn Kiếm Lake

Quan họ (alternate singing) is popular in Hà Bắc (divided into nowadays Bắc Ninh and Bắc Giang provinces) and across Vietnam; numerous variations exist, especially in the Northern provinces. Sung a cappella, quan họ is improvised and is used in courtship rituals.

Hát chầu văn[edit]

Hát chầu văn or hát văn is a spiritual form of music used to invoke spirits during ceremonies. It is highly rhythmic and trance-oriented. Before 1986, the Vietnamese government repressed hát chầu văn and other forms of religious expression. It has since been revived by musicians like Phạm Văn Tỵ.

Nhạc dân tộc cải biên[edit]

Nhạc dân tộc cải biên is a modern form of Vietnamese folk music which arose in the 1950s after the founding of the Hanoi Conservatory of Music in 1956. This development involved writing traditional music using Western musical notation, while Western elements of harmony and instrumentation were added. Nhạc dân tộc cải biên is often criticized by purists for its watered-down approach to traditional sounds.

Ca trù[edit]

Band performances Ca trù

Ca trù (also hát cô đầu) is a popular folk music which is said to have begun with ca nương, a female singer who charmed the enemy with her voice. Most singers remain female, and the genre has been revived since the Communist government loosened its repression in the 1980s, when it was associated with prostitution.

Ca trù, which has many forms, is thought to have originated in the imperial palace, eventually moving predominantly into performances at communal houses for scholars and other members of the elite (this is the type of ca trù most widely known). It can be referred to as a geisha-type of entertainment where women, trained in music and poetry, entertained rich and powerful men.

Cải lương[edit]

Excerpts from reformed salary Tự đức dâng roi

Cải lương originated in Southern Vietnam in the early 20th century and blossomed in the 1930s as a theatre of the middle class during the country’s French colonial period. Cải lương is now promoted as a national theatrical form. Unlike the other folk forms, it continued to prove popular with the masses as late as the 1970s and the 1980s, although it is now in decline.

Cải lương can be compared to a sort of play with the added aspect of Vọng cổ. This term literally means « nostalgia for the past », it is a special type of singing with the background music often being the đàn tranh zither or the đàn ghi-ta (Vietnamized guitar). In a typical cải lương play, the actresses and actors would use a combination of regular spoken dialogue and vọng cổ to express their thoughts and emotions.


« Hò » can be thought of as the southern style of Quan họ. It is improvisational and is typically sung as dialogue between a man and woman. Common themes include love, courtship, the countryside, etc. « Hò » is popular in Cần Thơ – Vietnam.

Ritual music[edit]

Traditional musical instruments[edit]

Classical music[edit]

Phạm Tuyên was one of the representatives of Classical music

Vietnamese composers also followed Western classical music, such as Cô Sao by Đỗ Nhuận, considered as the first Vietnamese opera. Hoàng Vân signed Thành Đồng Tổ Quốc, in 1960, considered as the first Vietnamese symphonie, and Chị Sứ as the first Vietnamese ballet in 1968, as well as the dozen of Choir with symphonic orchestra among his hundred famous patriotic tunes. Nguyễn Văn Quỳ also wrote 9 sonatas for violin and piano, following his French music studies and Vietnamese traditions.[15] Phạm Duy also wrote classical compositions mixed with Vietnamese folk music.

Red music[edit]

Main article: Nhạc đỏThanh Lam was one of the representatives of Red music

Red music (Nhạc đỏ) is the common name of the revolutionary music (nhạc cách mạng) genre in Vietnam. This genre of music began soon after the beginning of the 20th century during the French colonial period, advocating for independence, socialism and anti-colonialism. Red Music was later strongly promoted across North Vietnam during the War, to urge Northerners to achieve reunification under the Communist Party of Vietnam and fight against the « American imperialist puppet » in South Vietnam. Other forms of non-traditional, non-Revolutionary music and culture in the North, like Vietnamese popular music and Western music and culture, were banned, being labelled as « counter-revolutionary », « bourgeois », or « capitalist ».

Yellow music[edit]

Main articles: Yellow music and BoleroChế Linh was one of the representatives of Yellow music

Yellow music (Nhạc vàng) in Vietnam has two meanings. The first meaning is the lyrical and romantic music from pre-war, post-development in southern Vietnam in the period 1954s-1975s and later overseas as well as in the country after Đổi Mới, influenced by music of South Vietnam 1975s. The second meaning is the common name of popular music that was formed in the late 1950s in South Vietnam, using many different melodies such as boleroenkarumbatangoballademambochachacha,…[16]

Overseas music[edit]

Main article: Vietnamese diasporic musicTâm Đoan was one of the representatives of Overseas music

Overseas music also called Vietnamese diasporic music, refers to the Vietnamese music brought overseas, especially to the United States and France by the forced migration of Vietnamese artists after the Fall of Saigon in 1975s.Thúy Nga Productions was one of the record label biggest of Overseas

Since the Đổi Mới economic reformation began in 1986s, an increasing number of foreign tourists have visited Vietnam, constructing a new dimension to the musical life of the country. Many hotels and restaurants have hired musicians who played traditional Vietnamese music to entertain their new customers. Spectacles of musical performances present tourists with some aspects of the musical culture of Vietnam, though musicians also play westernized folk music to cater to foreigners’ tastes because of economic necessity. The cultural industry in Vietnam shows a positive tendency towards prosperity. Some excellent musical festivals have taken place, namely the Lullaby Festival, modernized Theater Festival, Theater Song contest, the Traditional Theater Festival, etc. A considerable amount of film music has been composed to enrich the film industry in Vietnam. Furthermore, the Institute of Musicology has played an important role in the preservation and academic research of Vietnamese music. The institute is well using modern technology to help restore and preserve Vietnamese music and songs on compact discs for the longer and better conservation of sound documents. Stored in the Sound Archives of the Institute of Musicology are 8,850 pieces of instrumental music and nearly 18,000 folk songs performed by more or less 2,000 performers. Thousands of technology products in the form of an audio CD, video CD, and videotapes featuring performances on folk music have been released.

1940s–1980s, singer-songwriters[edit]

Songwriter Phạm Duy (1920u–2013)Main article: Popular music of Vietnam

The Vietnam War, the consequent Fall of Saigon, and the plight of Vietnamese refugees gave rise to a collection of musical pieces that have become « classical » anthems for Vietnamese people both in Vietnam and abroad. Notable writers include Phạm Duy and Trịnh Công Sơn. Singers include Thái ThanhKhánh Ly and Lệ Thu.[17][18][19][20]

Many of these composers, in the North, also contributed Vietnamese revolutionary songs, known as nhạc đỏ « Red Music »: Lưu Hữu PhướcVăn CaoHoàng VânNguyễn Xuân Khoát

Modern music[edit]


Main article: V-popSơn Tùng M-TP singer representative of music V-pop

The embrace of modern pop music culture has increased, as each new generation of people in Vietnam has become more exposed to and influenced by westernized music along with the fashion styles of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. Musical production has improved and expanded over the years as visiting performers and organizers from other countries have helped to stimulate the Vietnamese entertainment industry. Such performances include international stages like the Asia Music Festival in South Korea where popular Vietnamese singers such as Hồ Quỳnh HươngMỹ TâmHồ Ngọc HàLam TrườngSơn Tùng M-TP and others have performed along with other singers from different Asian countries. During the recent years such as 2006 and beyond, Vietnamese pop music has tremendously improved from years past. Vietnamese music has been able to widen its reach to audiences nationally and also overseas. There are many famous underground artists such as Andree Right Hand, Big Daddy, Shadow P (all featured in a popular song called Để anh được yêu) or Lil’ Knight and countless others who have risen to fame through the Internet. In addition, there are also other singers that have gone mainstream such as M4U, Hồ Ngọc Hà, Bảo Thy, Wanbi Tuấn Anh, Khổng Tú Quỳnh, Radio Band, etc. There are also amateur singers whose songs have been hits in Vietnam such as Thùy Chi. These singers tend to view singing as a hobby, therefore not being labeled as mainstream artists. Overall, the quality of recording and the style of music videos in Vietnam has improved a lot compared to the past years due to many private productions and also overseas Vietnamese coming back to produce a combination of Western and Vietnamese music.

Rock and heavy metal[edit]

Introduced by American soldiers, rock and roll was popular in Saigon during the Vietnam War. This genre has developed strongly in the South and has spread out over the North region after the rise of Bức Tường in the 90s. For the last 10 years, metal has become more mainstream in Vietnam. Ngũ Cung and Microwave are the current top Vietnamese metal bands in the 21st century.[citation needed]

Hip Hop and Rap[edit]

Main article: Vietnamese hip hop

The early 1990s Hip Hop import into Vietnam. However, due to language limitations, the number of listeners is not much. Until the early 2000s, hip hop begins to grow in Vietnam become a movement of young people. Not long after that, the movement quickly subsided and many turned their backs on Hip Hop and Rap. Although it can be considered as the freezing period of Vietnamese Hip Hop, it also helps Vietnamese Underground Hip Hop become more stable when the true continues the mission of making this culture ever stronger and promises more and more talents are born from this cradle.Suboi rapper representative of Vietnamese Hip Hop

Until the early 2005s new groups and communities were born Most prominent is Wowy a famous rapper in Vietnam in 2005s, After that, he teamed up with Karik to become a very famous rapper couple in Vietnam in 2005s–2010s. Another famous rapper in Vietnam is name Suboi, she is the first Vietnamese female rapper to become successful in her country and is considered « Vietnam’s queen of hip hop« .

Currently, hip hop plays an important role in V-pop, hip hop gameshow competitions are currently developing in Vietnam such as Rap Viet, King of Rap,… Contributing to bring Vietnamese hip hop internationally.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ó Briain, Lonán (2018). Musical minorities : the sounds of Hmong ethnicity in Northern Vietnam. New York, NY. ISBN 9780190626976OCLC 994287647.
  2. ^ « Southeast Asian arts Vietnam »Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica. 23 July 2008. p. 36.
  3. ^ Vu 2017, p. 11.
  4. ^ Baldanza 2016, p. 42.
  5. ^ Whitmore 2009, p. 12.
  6. ^ Vietnam – Page 95 Audrey Seah, Charissa M. Nair – 2004 « There were three categories: dai nhac (dai nyahk) or great music, chamber music for the entertainment of the king, and ritual music- accompanying important ceremonies such as the one to ensure a good harvest. The Ly kings, in particular « 
  7. ^ International Workshop on Nhã Nhạc of Nguyễn Dynasty: Huế court music – Page 201 Huế Monuments Conservation Center, Ủy ban quốc gia Unesco của Việt Nam, Viện nghiên cứu âm nhạc (Vietnam) – 2004 « … by stricter rules. That was the rule in using « Great music » and « Small music ». Great music … »
  8. ^ Tư liệu âm nhạc cung đình Việt Nam – Page 103 Ngọc Thành Tô,ön (Mounting the Esplanade-simple version), -Dàngdàn kép (Mounting the … »
  9. ^ Asian Pacific quarterly of cultural and social affairs – Volumes 3-4 – Page 67 Cultural and Social Centre for the Asian and Pacific Region – 1971 « Đại nhạc (literally : great music) or Cd xuy Đại nhạc iW&^k.1^), composed … Tiểu nhạc (literally :small music) or // true Tiểu nhạc (UYrB%:) : small group of silk or stringed instruments and bamboo flute. Ty khanh: … Traditional Vietnamese Music 67. »
  10. ^ [1] Court Music « He with the profound knowledge about Vietnamese Court Music not only taught the performance skill of such repertoires as Liên hoàn, Bình bán, Tây mai, Kim tiền, Xuân phong, Long hổ, Tẩu mã extracted from Ten bản ngự (Small music); Mã vũ, Man (Great music) but introduced their origin and performance environment. »
  11. ^ International Workshop on Nhã Nhạc of Nguyễn Dynasty: Huế court music – Page 152 Huế Monuments Conservation Center, Ủy ban quốc gia Unesco của Việt Nam, Viện nghiên cứu âm nhạc (Vietnam) – 2004 « What is Dai nhac (great music) and what is Tieu nhac (small music)? On basis of terminology and canon-like document, there are some notions for our deep concern: – Nha nhac is a genre of music used by Chinese emperors in sacrifices to … »
  12. ^ Selected musical terms of non-Western cultures: a notebook-glossary – Page 132 Walter Kaufmann – 1990 « Dai nhac (Vietnam). « Great music. » Ceremonial music of Temple and Royal Palace performed by a large instrumental ensemble. The instruments of a dai nhac ensemble were: 4 ken, … »
  13. ^ Visiting Arts regional profile: Asia Pacific arts directory – Page 578 Tim Doling – 1996 « Court orchestras were also organized into nha nhac (‘elegant music’) and dai nhac (‘great music’) ensembles and court dances were defined as either van vu (civil) or vo vu (military). Confucian music and dance was presented at court until … »
  14. ^ Garland Encyclopedia of World Music South East Asia p.262 Nhạc tài tử
  15. ^ Nguyễn, Trâm (7 July 2011). Nguyen Van Quy – A Biography. Hanoi: Nguyễn Trâm. p. 38. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  16. ^ Duy, Dinh (12 October 2016). « The Revival of Boléro in Vietnam »The Diplomat. The Diplomat. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  17. ^ John Shepherd Continuum encyclopedia of popular music of the world: Volumes 3–7 – 2005
  18. ^ Phạm Duy. 1975. Musics of Vietnam
  19. ^ Olsen
  20. ^ Popular Music of Vietnam 5 Sep 2010 – Popular Music of Vietnam: The Politics of Remembering, the Economics of Forgetting by Dale A.Olsen Routledge, New York, London, 2008

Work cited[edit]

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Music of Vietnam.


showvteMusic of Asia
showvteVietnam articles


Navigation menu





In other projects


Edit links

Nhạc Lính Việt Nam Cộng Hòa Hay Nhất Trước 75 | Nhạc Vàng Thâu Thanh Trước 75

Nhạc Lính Việt Nam Cộng Hòa Hay Nhất Trước 75 | Nhạc Vàng Thâu Thanh

Nhạc Vàng Thâu Thanh Trước 75 Published on May 27, 2016 =================================================► Đăng ký kênh để nghe lại những bản Nhạc Vàng nổi tiếng NHẠC VÀNG THÂU THANH TRƯỚC 75 NHẠC VÀNG TRƯỚC 75 NHẠC VÀNG THU ÂM TRƯỚC 75 🔵 Facebook: 🔷 Youtube: 🌐 Website: 🔄Tuyệt phẩm Nhạc Vàng:

TRẦN THẾ BẢO : Lịch sử âm nhạc Việt Nam

lich sử âm nhạc vietnam

Lịch sử âm nhạc Việt Nam bị chi phối bởi lịch sử đấu tranh và phát triển của dân tộc Việt Nam. Chúng ta chia ra làm 3 giai đoạn chính và trình bày trong 5 chương dưới đây :

Giai đoạn 1: Trước năm 1945, khi đất nước còn bị đô hộ bởi thực dân Pháp

Giai đoạn 2: Từ năm 1945 đến năm 1975, âm nhạc trong thời kỳ kháng chiến chống Mỹ và thống nhất đất nước

Giai đoạn 3: Từ năm 1975 cho đến nay, âm nhạc trong thời kỳ đổi mới, công nghiệp hóa và hiện đại hóa

TRẦN THẾ BẢO (1937 – ) tiểu sử

Thế Bảo

thế bảo.jpg
Thế Bảo

Thế Bảo

Chuyên ngành lý luận

Phó Giáo sư – Tiến sĩ Thế Bảo, tên khai sinh là Trần Thế Bảo, sinh ngày 22 tháng 8 năm 1937 tại Bình Sơn, Quảng Ngãi. Hiện công tác tại Hội Âm nhạc Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, nguyờn Ủy viên Ban Chấp hành Hội Nhạc sĩ Việt Nam nhiều khúa, Ủy viên Ban Chấp hành Hội Âm nhạc Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh
Là Tiến sĩ Nghệ thuật năm 1990.

Thế Bảo hoạt động âm nhạc từ nhỏ ở vùng tự do Liên khu V. Tập kết ra Bắc, ông theo học tại Trường Âm nhạc Việt Nam, sau khi tốt nghiệp trở thành giảng viên của Trường. Sau thống nhất đất nước, ông tu nghiệp tại Nhạc viện Liszt – Hungari. Sau đó về làm Chủ nhiệm Khoa Sáng tác – Lý luận – Chỉ huy Nhạc viện Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh. Năm 1991, Thế Bảo về công tác ở Viện Văn hóa – Nghệ thuật tại Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh. Từ 1994, ông về Hội Âm nhạc Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh.

Qua nhiều năm nghiên cứu, công trình về đề tài
Nhạc tài tử
đã giúp ông đạt học vị Phó Tiến sĩ. Bên cạnh nghiên cứu, Thế Bảo còn sáng tác một số lượng lớn ca khúc, trong đó có những bài như:

Dệt áo mùa xuân, Hát mừng chiến thắng Nam Lào, Cờ Đảng bay trên núi Bài Thơ, Đi cấy

(hợp xướng)… Đã có 3 CD
Album âm nhạc

Tuyển chọn ca khúc
. Thế Bảo còn có nhiều sáng tác khí nhạc như 2 giao hưởng thơ
Đường chiến thắng

Rừng Sác,
2 concerto cho piano và dàn nhạc và violoncelle hòa tấu cùng dàn nhạc, tổ khúc giao hưởng
990 năm Thăng Long,
Lễ hội Cầu Ngư,
2 tổ khúc ballet, nhiều tác phẩm thính phòng cho dàn nhạc dây, v.v… Ông đã tham gia đào tạo nhiều thế hệ sinh viên sáng tác, nghiên cứu âm nhạc.

Ngoài ra, ông còn viết nhiều tiểu luận, bài báo âm nhạc đăng tải trên các tờ báo, tạp chí trong toàn quốc. Cuốn sỏch
Suy nghĩ về nhạc luật cổ truyền Việt Nam
đoạt giải A Hội nhạc sĩ Việt Nam năm 2011,
Concerto cho violoncelle và Dàn nhạc giao hưởng
đoạt giải C Hội nhạc sĩ Việt Nam 2011.

TRAN Quang Hai : La musique vietnamienne depuis ses origines jusqu’à nos jours

La musique vietnamienne depuis ses origines jusqu’à nos jours

De la passion de sa vie, de ses connaissances larges et profondes et de son talent exceptionnel en musique, TRAN Quang Hai, ethnomusicologue, retraité du CNRS (Centre de recherche en Ethnomusicologie), nous présente l’histoire de la musique vietnamienne, des origines à nos jours, avec toutes ses composantes et ses caractéristiques.

Du Nord au Sud du Vietnam, chaque région et chaque peuple possèdent ses propres chants et ses instruments ce qui rend la musique traditionnelle vietnamienne extrêmement riche et diversifiée. Nombreuses sont ses composantes : la musique de cour, les musiques religieuses, la musique populaire… En 2008, la musique de cour a été inscrite sur la liste représentative du patrimoine culturel immatériel de l’humanité par l’UNESCO.

TRAN Quang Hai est à la fois musicien et chercheur en chant diphonique. Issu d’une famille de musiciens traditionnels depuis cinq générations du Vietnam, il a reçu une formation de dix ans de musique asiatique au Centre d’Etudes de Musique Orientale à Paris (1962-1972). Il a réalisé plus de 3000 concerts, a participé à plus de 120 festivals internationaux, a écrit de nombreux articles scientifiques et a enregistré nombres de CD et de films qui complètent sa carrière de musicien professionnel.

>> Pour en savoir plus sur Tran Quang Hai, consultez son site :


————TRAN Quang Hai, est né à Linh Dong Xa (Vietnam), il est issu d’une famille de musiciens traditionnels depuis cinq générations. En 1968, il entre comme ethnomusicologue au CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) jusqu’en 2009, où il prend sa retraite. Son domaine de recherche est la musique vietnamienne, la musique asiatique, et le chant diphonique sibérien.

Il est membre de nombreuses sociétés scientifiques dans le domaine de l’ethnomusicologie : Société d’Ethnomusicologie aux Etats-Unis depuis 1969, Conseil international de Musique Traditionnelle – ICTM depuis 1971 et membre du bureau exécutif depuis 2005, Société Française d’Ethnomusicologie comme membre fondateur depuis 1985, Société international de Guimbardes comme membre fondateur depuis 2000, …

Il a publié beaucoup de CD sur la musique traditionnelle du Vietnam (Grand Prix du Disque Charles Cros en 1983), de DVD sur le chant diphonique (2004, 2005, et 2006) et sur la musique du Vietnam (2000, 2009), un film sur sa vie (2005), et quelques centaines d’articles sur les musiques du monde et le chant diphonique.

Il a reçu la médaille de Cristal du CNRS (1995), la médaille du Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (2002), et la médaille d’honneur du Travail, catégorie Grand Or (2009).

  • Date de réalisation : 10 Octobre 2013
    Lieu de réalisation : Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme – ESCoM-AAR – Réseau Asie – 190 avenue de France, 75013 Paris, France
    Durée du programme : 75 min
    Classification Dewey : Sociologie et anthropologie , Groupes raciaux, ethniques, nationaux, Culture et normes de comportement – Anthropologie sociale et culturelle, Histoire du monde. Civilisation, Sociologie de la danse, de la musique, du théâtre (sociologie des arts du spectacle), Méthodes, recherche, statistiques relatives à la musique, Musicologie, Analyse et histoire de la musique en relation avec les groupes ethniques, nationaux, raciaux particuliers, Ethnomusicologie
  • Catégorie : Entretiens
    Niveau : niveau Doctorat (LMD), Recherche
    Disciplines : Anthropologie et Ethnologie, Histoire, Sociologie, Musique
    Collections : TRAN Quang Hai
    ficheLom : Voir la fiche LOM
  • Auteur(s) : TRAN Quang Hai
    producteur : FMSH-ESCoM
    Réalisateur(s) : de PABLO Elisabeth, DO Thi Thanh Tam, NGUYEN Cong Khanh, LE Thi Thuong
  • Langue : Français
    Mots-clés : ethnologie, sociologie de la musique, Histoire des peuples, anthropologie culturelle, ethnomusicologie, Histoire de la musicologie, Sociologie de la vie quotidienne
    Conditions d’utilisation / Copyright : Tous droits réservés.


Ajouter un commentaireLire les commentaires

Aucun commentaire sur cette vidéo pour le moment (les commentaires font l’objet d’une modération)

Dans la même collection

Thường thức về âm nhạc cổ truyền Việt Nam và Lịch sử âm nhạc (Ebook.chm)

Thường thức về âm nhạc cổ truyền Việt Nam và Lịch sử âm nhạc (Ebook.chm)

Ajoutée le 23 déc. 2013

474. Thường thức về âm nhạc cổ truyền Việt Nam và Lịch sử âm nhạc Tác giả: NGUYỄN THỤY LOAN Nhà xuất bản: GIÁO DỤC – 2001 Xem toàn bộ:… Ebook.chm:… —————————– Sơ lược sách: Phần một: ÂM NHẠC CỔ TRUYỀN VLỆT NAM Chương 1. Khái lược về các vùng dân ca I. Khái quái về dân ca Việt Nam II. Bước đầu tìm hiểu các vùng dân ca Chương 2. Vài nét về kịch hát cổ truyền của người Việt I. Hát chèo II. Hát bội (hát tuồng) Phần hai: L!CH SỬ ÂM NHẠC Chương 1. Lược trình tiến triển lịch sử âm nhạc thế giới I. Âm nhạc thời nguyên thủy II. Những nền Âm nhạc lớn thời cổ đại III – Âm nhạc thời trung đại IV – Âm nhạc thời cận đại V. Âm nhạc thời kì hiện đại. Chương 2. Sơ giản về lịch sử âm nhạc Việt Nam I. Âm 11hạc thời bắt đầu dựng nước và giữ nước II. Âm nhạc thời xây dựng và bảo vệ quốc gia phong kiến, độc lập tự chủ (thế kỉ X – cuối thế kỉ XIX) III. Âm nhạc trong thời kì đụng độ và giao lưu Đông – Tây (cuối thế kỉ XIX cho tới nay) —————————– Kho sách nói dành cho người mù……

ca sĩ LỘC VÀNG ,người từng bị đi tù vì hát Nhạc Vàng sẽ biểu diễn ở Sài Gòn

Subject:  Người từng bị đi tù vì hát Nhạc Vàng sẽ biểu diễn ở Sài Gòn
 Như vậy là kể từ sau khi được ra tù thì đây là lần đầu tiên Lộc Vàng sẽ biểu diễn ca hát tại Sài Gòn-nơi mảnh đất được coi là quê hương của Nhạc Vàng. Như chúng ta đã biết thời trước năm 1975 do yêu mến và hát dòng nhạc này mà ông Lộc Vàng đã bị bắt giam suốt nhiều năm 1 cách vô lý. Hiện ông đang gấp rút chuẩn bị cho ngày ra mắt cực quan trọng tại sài Gòn lần này. Lần đầu tiên ca sĩ Lộc Vàng, người từng phải vào tù vì hát “nhạc vàng” có một live show cho riêng mình tại Sài Gòn. Đây cũng là lần đầu tiên khán giả tại đây có dịp thưởng thức giọng hát của anh qua những ca khúc tiền chiến một thời vang bóng mang nhiều kỷ niệm buồn vui đời anh như: Gửi người em gái miền Nam, Chuyển bến, Thu quyến rũ, Gửi gió cho mây ngàn bay (Đoàn Chuẩn – Từ Linh), Con thuyền không bến (Đặng Thế Phong), Hoài cảm (Cung Tiến), Niệm khúc cuối (Ngô Thụy Miên).

Ca sĩ Lộc Vàng (tên thật Nguyễn Văn Lộc) kể từ thập niên 1960 là người gắn bó với dòng nhạc tiền chiến qua những ca khúc lãng mạn, người đã « tạo nên » vụ án âm nhạc ở miền Bắc khi đất nước còn bị chia cắt.

Ông Lộc sinh năm 1945 tại Hà Nội, vì yêu “nhạc vàng” nên nhiều người thường gọi là Lộc Vàng. Gọi là « nhạc vàng” bởi nó có vẻ đẹp sang trọng và đáng quý nên người ta so sánh nó như vàng, chứ không phải nhạc vàng hiểu theo nghĩa xấu mà người ta gán cho nó dạo nào. Ông thừa hưởng cái gien nghệ thuật từ người bố giỏi về tuồng, chèo, cải lương, tân nhạc… nên đã yêu âm nhạc từ rất sớm và có giọng hát rất hay. Ông đam mê những cung bậc mượt mà của những giai điệu tuyệt vời gợi lên từ dòng nhạc trữ tình êm ái. Ông sinh hoạt với các bạn cùng sở thích là Phan Thắng Toán (guitarist nổi tiếng) và Nguyễn Văn Đắc; nhiều khi tụ họp với nhau nghêu ngao ca hát trên căn gác xép những nhạc phẩm của Văn Cao, Đoàn Chuẩn – Từ Linh, Đặng Thế Phong, Lâm Tuyền, Nguyễn Văn Khánh, Nguyễn Văn Thương, Nguyễn Văn Tý…

Trong thời gian sinh hoạt ở đây, một người em gái của bạn ông tên Mai thường đứng ngoài cửa nghe giọng ca Lộc Vàng rồi mê đắm chàng. Hai người đôi khi cùng hẹn tâm tình theo từng bước chân trên những con phố dài Hà Nội. Đấy là những năm tháng của tuổi đôi mươi. Nhưng trớ trêu thay, chính vì đam mê dòng nhạc lãng mạn trữ tình đó mà cả ba người đều vướng vào vòng lao lý.

Vào thời ấy dòng nhạc tiền chiến được nhà cầm quyền gọi là “nhạc vàng” và bị cấm hẳn. Chuyện sinh hoạt âm nhạc của nhóm ông Lộc đã lọt vào tai công an nên ngày 27.3.1968, cả ba người bị bắt giam vào nhà tù Hỏa Lò và sau đó bị kết án với tội danh “truyền bá văn hóa đồi trụy”. Báo Hà Nội Mới ngày 12.1.1971 trích bản luận tội: “Khi đi biểu diễn nhạc kiếm tiền ở những đám cưới, các cuộc liên hoan, chúng tìm cách đánh xen kẽ những bản nhạc vàng để truyền bá và thăm dò thị hiếu của lứa tuổi thanh niên. Chúng phân chia nhau đi tìm mua đĩa hát loại nhạc vàng lọt vào được, đi sưu tầm các bài hát và nhạc vàng cổ, ghi chép các bản nhạc giật, nhạc tâm lý chiến của đài Mỹ và đài Sài Gòn. Chúng dùng các bản nhạc này để luyện cho nhau những giọng hát, tiếng đàn thật là bi quan, sầu thảm, lả lướt, lãng mạn để đi truyền bá, lôi kéo thanh niên…” (!). Ông Phan Thắng Toán bị 15 năm tù và chịu 5 năm quản chế; ông Nguyễn Văn Ðắc 12 năm tù và 5 năm quản chế; ông Nguyễn Văn Lộc (Lộc Vàng) bị 10 năm tù giam và 4 năm bị tước quyền công dân (năm 1973, nhân ký hiệp định Paris được giảm án còn 8 năm tù, 4 năm quản chế).

Ngày 26.3.1976 Lộc Vàng được thả, từ trại giam ông đi bộ 30km để về ga Hàng Cỏ (Hà Nội). Ra về với đôi bàn tay trắng, không tiền bạc; ông không dám liên hệ với ai vì sợ người ta ngại quen biết với người tù. Cứ nghĩ rằng lúc này đây người yêu sẽ không chờ đợi mình nữa nhưng kỳ lạ thay, người yêu vẫn đón ông trong vòng tay thắm tình yêu thương nồng ấm. Chị Mai yêu ông và cũng yêu luôn dòng nhạc đã làm cho mình say đắm dù phải trả giá đắt. Khi biết chị gắn bó với một người tù, ông trưởng đoàn Nghệ thuật tuồng trung ương, nơi chị công tác, đã xúc phạm người tù, chị đã nặng lời với ông ta rồi bỏ việc để ra chợ bán đậu phụ mưu sinh. Chỉ là để được sống bên người yêu mà bao năm chị đã chờ đợi.

Ông Lộc Vàng kể lại chuyện bị đi tù: “Chúng tôi gặp gỡ, hát với nhau nghe thôi chứ cũng chẳng phản đối chính sách nhà nước gì cả. Chúng tôi chỉ thấy dòng nhạc này hay quá, trữ tình và đầy tình người nên muốn lưu giữ lại và đóng cửa hát cho nhau nghe. Sau khi ra tù, nhà cửa anh Toán cũng tan nát, anh chán đời và tìm vui bên men rượu. Anh lang thang trên đường phố, sống vào tình thương của người qua lại. Ðêm 30.4.1994, người ta nhìn thấy anh Toán nằm gục chết, đói lả, cô đơn trên hè phố… Còn ông Nguyễn Văn Ðắc mất năm 2005. Nghĩ đến cuộc đời của mình sao mà cay đắng, chua chát quá. Mình có làm cái gì đâu, chỉ yêu thích âm nhạc thôi mà bị tù đày. Sau khi dòng nhạc này được khôi phục, những bản nhạc này được hát lên tivi. Khi nghe người ta hát mà mình ngồi ứa nước mắt ra”.
loc vàng ca si.jpg
Ca sĩ Lộc Vàng hát song ca cùng một nữ nghệ sĩ

Năm 1981 Lộc và Mai hai người lấy nhau, có được cháu trai. Cả hai sống chung trong một mái nhà 9m2 che tạm phía trên toilet của nhà vợ. Ông phải làm đủ nghề để kiếm sống, từ phụ việc, quét vôi đến lái xe. Nhưng sự khốn khổ không dừng lại ở đó: tai họa oan khiên từ người láng giềng đem lại khiến mẹ vợ ông bị chém ở chân và con trai 9 tuổi bị chém ngang lưng. Khi ông đưa mẹ vợ vào bệnh viện này thì chị Mai đưa con vào bệnh viện khác. Ông phải đi vay nợ khá nhiều để chạy chữa cho hai bà cháu. Trong cảnh đời khốn khó như vậy mà ông vẫn nặng lòng với tình yêu âm nhạc, những bài hát trữ tình đã cho ông niềm tin vào cuộc đời.

Những lúc rảnh rỗi, ông hát cho vợ nghe những câu: “Dù cho mưa tôi xin đưa em đến cuối cuộc đời/ Dù cho mây hay cho bão tố có kéo qua đây/ Dù có gió, có gió lạnh đầy, có tuyết bùn lầy/ Có lá buồn gầy, dù sao, dù sao đi nữa tôi vẫn yêu em…” (Ngô Thụy Miên, Niệm khúc cuối). Năm 1987, khi đã có những chương trình nhạc vàng được hát ở Hà Nội, lần đầu tiên ông đi hát cho chương trình của nghệ sĩ Khắc Huề, sau đó nhiều nơi khác mời ông đến hát. Khi sinh đứa con thứ hai, vợ ông trở bệnh nặng. Nhiều năm chăm sóc vợ trong cảnh nghèo nàn, đến lúc nhà cũng chẳng còn gạo còn tiền. Đang ngồi trong bệnh viện, có người quen mời đến quán Zcafe để hát. Ông không đành lòng vì vợ đang đau đớn. Nhưng rồi không còn cách nào khác, nhờ đứa con trông mẹ, ông đến hát để có được 200 ngàn đồng lo thuốc thang cho vợ. Đến quán hát mà lòng ông rối bời, trong tiếng hát dường như nước mắt muốn tuôn rơi. Biết vợ mang bệnh nặng ông đã đi khắp nơi, thậm chí ra nghĩa địa tìm cây thuốc nam, lên chùa cầu khẩn Phật. Dù đã chăm lo hết sức mình, nhưng chỉ mấy hôm sau vợ ông vẫn qua đời. Lòng nặng trĩu nỗi đau, ông chỉ còn biết dựa vào tiếng hát, vào niềm đam mê âm nhạc mà sống.

Ông quyết định thuê một chỗ mở quán nhạc nhỏ để thỏa lòng mong ước. Cuộc sống không khá hơn, đã phải bán nhà để bù lỗ chuyện mê hát. Hằng ngày ông phải thầu thêm công việc quét vôi cho các công trình xây dựng để quán cà phê Lộc Vàng (17A đường Hồ Tây, Hà Nội) được mở cửa mỗi đêm để ông có thể đem tiếng hát bằng cả tâm hồn đến cho người yêu nhạc tiền chiến. Tiếng hát đi cùng những tháng năm đau khổ trôi qua đã đem đến những rung động sâu đậm cho người nghe. Ông Lộc ước mơ đến một ngày nào đó được trả lại danh dự cho người chịu oan trái chỉ vì lòng đam mê âm nhạc.

Người ta không hiểu bằng sức mạnh nào mà người nghệ sĩ đã trải qua bao thăng trầm nghiệt ngã của cuộc đời lại có thể cất lên tiếng hát trong từng đêm như lời kinh nhật tụng. Thật vậy, nhạc tiền chiến đã là số mệnh của ông, nghệ sĩ-ca sĩ Lộc Vàng.

BARLEY NORTON : Vietnam: Popular music and censorship

Vietnam: Popular music and censorship

The Vietnamese state operates a thorough system of music censorship, and the few songwriters who dare to directly challenge the authority of the Vietnamese Communist Party or its policies face serious consequences. Focusing on popular musicians, this article charts the history of music censorship in Vietnam from the mid twentieth century through to the current digital era.
By Barley Norton    INSIGHT 

May I ask, who are you?
Why arrest me? What have I done wrong?

May I ask, who are you?
Why beat me mercilessly?

May I ask, who are you?
To stop me from protesting on the streets

Our people have endured so much
for the love of our country

May I ask, where are you from?
To prevent me from opposing the Chinese invaders

I cannot sit quietly while Vietnam falls
and as my people sink into a thousand years of darkness

I cannot sit quietly to see children grow up without a future;
where will their roots lie
when Vietnam no longer exists in the world?


These lyrics are from a song called ‘Who are you?’ (‘Anh là ai?’) by the Vietnamese singer-songwriter Việt Khang. The song is in the style of a mainstream pop-rock ballad and Việt Khang’s warm, yearning voice seems to implore us to sing along. Yet the lyrics are unusually bold: they speak out about the police’s treatment of protestors, who are portrayed as true patriots.

Việt Khang recorded ‘Who are you?’ after street demonstrations where suppressed by Vietnamese security forces. In the summer of 2011, a series of large-scale demonstrations took place on the streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in response to rising tensions between Vietnam and China about the long-disputed sovereignty of the Spratly Islands and territorial boundaries in the East China Sea. For several months the authorities allowed these demonstrations to take place, but in September 2011 the government decided that they had to stop, partly due to fears that the rallies were being used to ‘stir up dissent against communist rule’. To prevent further demonstrations, the police employed strong-arm tactics, using violence to arrest and disperse protestors. Since then, activists have continued to hold small-scale demonstrations and to write internet blogs to express their anger about the government’s foreign policy concerning the East China Sea. But large public protests are no longer tolerated.

‘Who are you?’ went viral on YouTube, and shortly after it was posted on the web, Việt Khang was detained by the police. He was formally arrested in December 2011 and was brought to trial on 30 October 2012 after spending 10 months in detention without trial.

Charged with conducting propaganda against the state under Article 88 of the penal code, Việt Khang was given a four-year prison sentence followed by two years of house arrest. A “Free Việt Khang Movement” was established by Vietnamese communities in the US, and a petition concerning human rights, which includes a reference to Việt Khang, was submitted to the US government. After serving four years in prison, Việt Khang was released in December 2015 and returned to his family in the city of Mỹ Tho in southern Vietnam.

Any activity that challenges the primacy of the Vietnamese Communist Party or opposes the one-party nation state is forbidden in Vietnamese law and the prosecution of Việt Khang highlights the draconian forms of punishment that musicians in Vietnam are likely to face if they are deemed to oppose the government’s policies. Given this situation, it is not surprising that few Vietnamese musicians have directly challenged the authority of the Party by writing songs with lyrics that overtly challenge the government’s policies or actions. Yet a few musicians still do. Alongside Việt Khang, another musician, Trần Vũ Anh Bình – a prominent member of the Patriotic Youth movement who was involved in producing some of Việt Khang’s songs – was also charged under Article 88. He was given a six-year prison sentence and is still languishing in prison.

The Vietnamese state operates a thorough system of music censorship. Officially, music must be approved in advance by censors connected to the Ministry of Culture before it is publicly performed, broadcast or released as a recording. The lyrics of songs are typically the main concern of censors, although the way in which music is performed and aesthetic factors are also important.

The censorship of music in Vietnam is not straightforward and cannot be reduced to the overt actions of state censors alone. Music censorship is mostly achieved through a complex system of prior restraint and restriction, and acts of suppression like the imprisonment of musicians and the overt banning of music are quite rare. Acts of censorship are rarely done in an open, transparent way and involve numerous organisations. Censors in the Ministry of Culture and the directors of the state-run radio and television companies, record labels and publishing houses are often not clear about what they should or should not permit. Party decrees on culture and the arts set the general tone, but specifics are often left vague and open to interpretation. Such ambiguity can lead to arbitrary decisions, which are usually not fully explained or justified, and this further encourages a climate of caution and restraint.

A lack of clarity over what is permissible not only spreads confusion, it also plays into the hands of self-censorship. Musicians are left to second-guess what might be censored and this encourages them to err on the side of caution. Such internalised censorship, which permeates the social realities and mind-set of musicians, is often hard to pinpoint, but is all too familiar to many of the Vietnamese musicians with whom I have discussed censorship.

The system of music censorship in Vietnam today is not a new phenomenon and is rooted in a particular historical context. In order to understand the current situation it is worth delving into this history.


Music, war and censorship 1954-1975
From 1954 to 1975 Vietnam was divided into North and South along the 17th parallel. In the northern, Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) the government, led by the Vietnamese Communist Party, quickly moved to establish ideological control over the arts and it was quite effective at using music for propaganda purposes.

In the DRV, the Vietnamese Communist Party’s cultural policy was that the arts should serve the ideological interests of the Party, the nation, the socialist revolution and the fight for the unification of the country. Musical activities were tightly coordinated by the state and an extensive network of state-run music troupes and schools was established. Music was considered by the Party to be an ideological weapon to propagate the new socialist society.

In the 1950s, some leading intellectuals, including the musician Văn Cao who composed Vietnam’s national anthem, argued for more intellectual freedom and criticised the restrictions that were being placed on artists. By the early 1960s, however, the Party quashed this dissent and managed to exert a high level of control over cultural expression.

As the Vietnamese-American war escalated in the mid-1960s, considerable efforts were made to harness music to support the war effort. In response to the bombing raids in the North by American planes, which began with the ‘Flaming Dart’ and ‘Rolling Thunder’ campaigns in 1965, a movement known as Song Drowns Out the Sound of Bombs (Tiếng hát át tiếng bom) was established. Its aim was to use the power of song to boost the morale and resolve of the troops and the general populace.

norton 2.jpg


Musicians in the ‘Song Drowns Out the Sound of Bombs’ (‘Tiếng hát át tiếng bom’) movement performing on the battlefield. Source: unknown


Music that did not promote socialist ideals, such as foreign love songs and pre-war Vietnamese music, was derided as “yellow music” (nhạc vàng) and was banned. Yet some musicians in the DRV like the singer Phan Thắng Toán, known as “Hairy Toán”, dared to perform it. In the mid-1960s, Hairy Toán performed yellow music at weddings and parties, but in 1968 he was arrested along with other 6 other band members. When the band members were eventually put on trial in 1971, they were accused of “disseminating depraved imperialist culture and counter-revolutionary propaganda” and were sentenced to long jail sentences. Even though these musicians claimed they did not have a political agenda and were only motivated by their love for yellow music, their imprisonment illustrates the extent to which Party leaders were determined to crack down on musical activity which they thought would undermine people’s commitment to socialism and their resolve for war. The long sentence meted out to Hairy Toán, who was not released until 1980, served as a warning to other musicians: toe the Party line or be incarcerated.

Compared with the DRV, popular music in the American-backed Republic of Vietnam (RVN) was less tightly controlled. Popular songwriters in South Vietnam had greater scope to experiment with different musical styles and to express diverse feelings about the war. While patriotic and anti-communist songs that expressed support for the RVN government and army were encouraged, the regime was unable to silence dissent. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, for instance, Vietnam’s most famous singer-songwriter Trịnh Công Sơn (b.1939-d.2001) wrote sentimental anti-war songs about the pain and suffering of war, about the desire for peace, and about lost love and human fate.

On 30 January 1968, the army of the northern Democratic of Vietnam (DRV) and the guerrilla forces of National Liberation Front (NLF) launched the Tet Offensive, which consisted of a series of co-ordinated attacks against targets across the RVN. As part of the Tet Offensive, the old imperial city of Hue was attacked and held by communist forces for nearly a month before South Vietnamese and American troops regained control of the city. In the fierce fighting in Hue, thousands of civilians, as well as troops, were massacred and the city itself was reduced to ruins.

Trịnh Công Sơn was in his hometown of Hue during the Tet Offensive and he witnessed the devastation first-hand. In direct response to the horrific loss of life, Trịnh Công Sơn wrote several songs including ‘Singing on the corpses’ (‘Hát trên những xác người’), which conveyed a humanist and pacifist stance. The lyrics of ‘Singing on the corpses’, sung by Khánh Ly, describe corpses strewn around after the battle and the confused reaction of bereaved women. The final lines are as follows:


Afternoon by the mulberry groves,
Singing on the corpses.
I have seen, I have seen,
Trenches filled with corpses.

A mother claps to welcome war,
A sister cheers for peace.
Some people clap for more hatred,
Some clap to repent.


During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Trịnh Công Sơn performed regularly with the female singer Khánh Ly at the Quán Văn club in Saigon and at other venues across South Vietnam. In addition to live performances, Trịnh Công Sơn’s songs became hugely popular as a result of Khánh Ly’s recordings and through the printing of songbooks, which encouraged others to learn his songs.

norton 3.jpg


Trịnh Công Sơn and Khánh Ly. Source: unknown


As Trịnh Công Sơn’s fame grew, the RVN regime became concerned about the impact of the “Trịnh Công Sơn phenomenon” and in 1969 a decree was issued banning the circulation of his songs. However, the ban proved ineffective as Khánh Ly’s recordings were still widely circulated and Trịnh Công Sơn moved from one printing press to another to ensure that he could still self-publish his songbooks.

Trịnh Công Sơn did not associate himself with a particular musical movement or political faction. Other songwriters in South Vietnam like Tôn Thất Lập, Trần Long Ẩn and Miên Đức Thắng, however, were active in the anti-war movement called ‘Sing for our compatriots to hear’ (‘Hát cho đồng bào tôi nghe’). This student-led movement held street demonstrations, public debates and performance events at university campuses, which voiced opposition to the RVN regime and the American military presence.

When I interviewed Tôn Thất Lập, the recognised leader of the Sing for our compatriots to hear movement, in 2012, he estimated that about 10,000 people participated in the movement’s first event in 1968 just before the Tet Offensive. At the protest Tôn Thất Lập told me that his song ‘Sing for my people to hear’ (‘Hát cho dân tôi nghe’) was sung in unison by a chorus of over 200 students. The song begins with the words:


Sing so the people hear, the sound of singing unfurls the flag each day.
Sing in the autumn nights, while fires burn the enemy’s camps.
A sombre song in the night, thousands of arms rise up.
Sing for the workers, to break their chains like a dispersing cloud.
Sing for the farmers, to put aside their ploughs and follow the call.

Each day the people freely rise up to break the chains of slavery.
Each day we stand undaunted together with our compatriots.
Take back the river water for growing rice in the green fields.
Take back the cities, hands rise up for peace.



Tôn Thất Lập in Ho Chi Minh City in 2012. Photo by Barley Norton


The “Sing for our compatriots to hear” movement grew as more people became disillusioned with the war, especially after the devastation caused by the Tet Offensive. At a street protest held in September 1970, Tôn Thất Lập said the police fired flares from helicopters, threw tear gas grenades to disperse the crowd, and arrested him along with fellow students. According to Tôn Thất Lập the students were released a few days later after going on a hunger strike, but while in prison they continued to sing in defiance. In our interview, Tôn Thất Lập recalled that, during the time when he was imprisoned, the head of the police bureau called him in to his office and said angrily, “You can do whatever you want, but I forbid singing!”. In Tôn Thất Lập’s view the police chief had reprimanded him in this way because he was “afraid of the power of song”. Despite suppressing demonstrations, the authorities were unable to stem the wave of anti-war protests and they continued until the end of the war.


Music censorship in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam after 1975
On 30 April 1975, the North Vietnamese army took Saigon, and this marked the end of the Vietnamese-American war. With official reunification in 1976, the country was renamed the Socialist Republic of Vietnam under the leadership of the Vietnamese Communist Party.

Music censorship in the years after reunification was extremely severe. As part of the effort to mould the more commercially oriented culture of the south into the form of the socialist north, the Vietnamese Communist Party implemented “purification” campaigns that sought to eradicate the music culture of the former RVN. Communist cadres pilloried the popular music that had thrived in South Vietnam as neo-colonial poison. The state took control of the distribution and broadcasting of music, and “unhealthy” records, tapes and songbooks were systematically collected, confiscated and destroyed.

Many popular musicians from South Vietnam fled the country and those that remained were likely to be sent to “re-education” camps. In place of the “reactionary” culture of the former RVN regime, musicians were encouraged to compose edifying political songs with nationalist, revolutionary and socialist themes. This situation changed little until after 1986, when reforms began to be implemented.


Music and the renovation policy
The introduction of the Renovation policy, known as đổi mới, in 1986 was primarily aimed at introducing reforms to invigorate the failing post-war economy, but it also signalled a shift toward greater creative freedom in the arts.

The songwriter Trần Tiến was one of the first musicians to take advantage of the shift in cultural policy. In 1987, he formed the rock band Black and White (Đên Trắng) and in November that year the band performed their first concerts in Ho Chi Minh City. In an interview I conducted with Trần Tiến in 2011, he said the atmosphere at the concerts was akin to a street demonstration and he described how many of the audience were moved to tears when they heard his songs. After the second concert the authorities in Ho Chi Minh City acted: they accused Trần Tiến of “inciting a riot” and arrested him. Although Trần Tiến was detained for just one night, Black and White was prevented from performing any more concerts. According to the authorities, the band’s songs had caused “public discontent” because of their “bad content”.

One of Trần Tiến’s songs that caused much controversy was ‘Naked ’87’ (‘Trần Trụi ’87’). The song begins with the following lyrics:


I have seen my Vietnamese friends selling goods on the streets in Russia.
My friends beg on the streets of America.
Friends in the homeland trick each other because of poverty.
Does this cause you pain?

I have seen mothers who in the past greeted the troops,
And brought rice for the soldiers,
Mothers who now wander around as beggars on train coaches.
Does this cause you pain? Does this cause you pain?

Please don’t always sing songs that praise.
Songs with dull lyrics have lulled our glorious homeland, which is full
of pride, into forgetting about food, clothing and roses.

The soldiers who fell,
Never thought they would see,
Our homeland today,
Full of beggars, whose screaming breaks our hearts.


‘Naked ’87’ is a passionate rock ballad that speaks out against the use of music as Party propaganda. The lyrics challenge the system of censorship, which only permitted songs that “praised” the new society and ignored the severe hardships many were suffering in the post-war period. In a recording of the song, which is available on the internet, Trần Tiến’s vocal delivery is full of heartfelt anguish and seems to encapsulate the disillusionment that many people felt during the post-war economic depression. The reflections in the song lyrics on the impoverished position of those who gave so much for the war – including the ‘mothers’ whose sons fought in the war – are given added weight by the fact that Trần Tiến is himself a war veteran. In the song, the exodus of Vietnamese refugees to the US after 1975 and the dire circumstances of Vietnamese working in the Soviet Union are exposed as a sign of lost pride.

In the spirit of the new cultural freedoms promised by the Renovation policy, in “Naked ’87”, Trần Tiến offers a candid view of life in post-war Vietnam that is far removed from Party rhetoric. Trần Tiến told me his aim was to truthfully reflect people’s realities and sentiments, yet the authorities clearly thought he had gone too far. Despite the cultural liberalisation of the Renovation policy, the prohibition of Trần Tiến’s songs in the late 1980s made clear that the freedom of expression for musicians was still circumscribed.

As Vietnam introduced further market reforms during the 1990s, the government became increasingly concerned about declining morale standards, especially among the younger generation. Anxiety about morality led the government to initiate a campaign against “social evils” in the mid and late 1990s. Karaoke bars, which had become places where prostitution was commonplace, were a prominent target of the “social evils” campaign, and scrutiny of pop song lyrics also intensified.

In a high profile case, an album called ‘Solar Eclipse’ (Nhật Thực) featuring the famous pop diva Trần Thu Hà, encountered problems with the censors in 2001 because some of the lyrics were deemed to include “vulgar” sexual references. All the songs on the album, which were composed by male musician Ngọc Đại, use poems by the young female writer, Vi Thùy Linh. Lyrics thought to be too risqué included: “My body goes crazy when it is held in your arms” and “Suddenly in front of me, the skirt of a nun flew up”. While such lines may seem very mild, they were criticised for not conforming to Vietnamese cultural values and were “corrected” by the censors. When I discussed the censorship of Solar Eclipse with the composer Ngọc Đại in 2011, he expressed his view that the corrected lyrics were “coarse” compared with the original lines. Yet he said that he had no choice but to comply with the censors’ demands otherwise the album would not have been approved. After several months of delay and modifications to the titles of songs as well as lyrics, the album was officially authorised for release. However, only 7 of the 13 songs that were performed during the live concert tour were permitted on the album. Despite the censorship of the album, the Vietnamese press hailed Solar Eclipse as a significant landmark in the development of popular music and the album sold tens of thousands of copies, a large number in the Vietnamese context.



Ngọc Đại performing in the Hanoi Opera House in 2009. Source: unknown


Since ‘Solar Eclipse’, Ngọc Đại has continued to push boundaries and court controversy. In 2010, I made a film called ‘Hanoi Eclipse: The Music of Dai Lam Linh’, which focused on Ngọc Đại and his band Đại Lâm Linh. The film includes a scene in which a panel of censors criticize Đại Lâm Linh’s concert performance. Although Đại Lâm Linh’s recorded album was not censored, the panel suggested that Ngọc Đại should “correct” and “improve” his songs so that there was “less noise and screaming”. As reported by, Ngọc Đại got into trouble with the Vietnamese authorities again in 2013 when he unofficially self-released and sold his solo album ‘Thằng Mõ 1’.


Vietnamese rap, the Internet and censorship
The rise of the internet in Vietnam since the late 1990s has greatly increased access to popular music from around the world. Although Vietnam is one of the most restricted countries in the world in terms of internet access and is listed as an ‘internet enemy’ by Reporters Without Borders, the censors have targeted most of their efforts on contentious political and religious content and they have found it hard to restrict the circulation of music.

Exposure to a vast array of music on the internet has stimulated many young Vietnamese musicians to experiment with styles of popular music like metal and rap. The “underground” rap scene in Vietnam is one of the most vibrant areas of musical activity that has proliferated in cyberspace. Most underground rap would not pass the censors because of its explicit lyrics, but it is widely circulated on social media, local internet forums and international sites like YouTube.

Underground rap addresses a diverse range of issues that concern young Vietnamese, but most rap does not deal directly with politics. One notable exception is the track by the rapper Nah called “Địt Mẹ Cộng Sản”, or “ĐMCS” for short, which translates as “Fuck Communism”. Nah, whose real name is Nguyễn Vũ Sơn (b.1991), grew up in Ho Chi Minh City, where he gained a reputation for conscious rap that commented on social issues.


norton 6.jpg

Rapper Nah. Source:


In 2013, he went to the US to study and, while there, he released ‘ĐMCS’ (‘Địt Mẹ Cộng Sản’) on YouTube in 2015.

The translation of the rap chorus is as follows:


Who would go to hell if not me? Fuck Communism
Is it wrong to dare to change the country? Fuck communism
You dare to sell our fathers’ land? Fuck communism.
Killing, blinding, gagging? Fuck communism
Slaughtering our people in Hue? Fuck communism
I will never fucking accept being a slave. Fuck communism.
You will be overthrown soon. Fuck communism.
Everyone will know the truth. Fuck communism.


Shortly after being posted on the internet, ‘ĐMCS’ went viral and it has stimulated considerable media interest, especially outside of Vietnam. It is unclear what the response of the authorities will be if and when Nah returns to Vietnam.

The circulation of uncensored rap tracks on the internet has enabled young Vietnamese to express themselves, at least to their peers, in ways that are far removed from anything that is permitted in the official media. This would seem to be indicative of the increasing inability of the state to control cultural expression in the way it has done in the past.

The potential of the internet for bypassing state censorship has often been noted, but it is important to point out limitations. In Vietnam, censorship of the web is widespread and without official permission to broadcast on state-run media, to perform publicly and to release recordings, it is hard for musicians to reach a large audience.

Anh Là Ai – Việt Khang

Technological change and access to the internet has challenged, to some extent, the state’s ability to control musical expression. Yet the Party is still quick to punish musicians who are seen as a political threat, as demonstrated by the imprisonment of Việt Khang discussed at the start of this article. As in the past, songwriters in contemporary Vietnam who dare to write lyrics that directly challenge the authority of the Party or its policies face extremely serious consequences.

Barley Norton is a Reader in the Music Department at Goldsmiths, University of London and is currently serving as Chair of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology. His publications include the book ‘Songs for the Spirits: Music and Mediums in Modern Vietnam’, the co-edited volume ‘Music and Protest in 1968’, and the film ‘Hanoi Eclipse: The Music of Dai Lam Linh’. His writing on music censorship includes the chapter ‘Music and censorship in Vietnam since 1954’ in the Oxford Handbook of Music Censorship.

Translation of all lyrics were made by the author, except for the song ‘Địt Mẹ Cộng Sản’.

Read more:

» Oxford Handbooks:
‘Music and censorship in Vietnam since 1954’
» Documentary Educational Resources:
‘Hanoi Eclipse: The Music of Dai Lam Linh’
» University of Illinois Press:
‘Songs for the Spirits: Music and Mediums in Modern Vietnam’
» Cambridge University Press:
‘Music and Protest in 1968’

‘Who are you?’ (‘Anh là ai?’) by the Vietnamese singer-songwriter Việt Khang



This article is part of a Freemuse  INSIGHT  series edited by Marie Korpe. It was published in September 2016.

TRẦN QUANG HẢI :Vietnamese Music From a Cultural Perspective


Vietnamese Music From a Cultural Perspective


Trần Quang Hải (National Center for Scientific Research, France



Geographically Vietnam occupies the eastern coast of the Indochinese peninsula, extending from China South to the Gulf of Siam, and is a part of Southeast Asia. Culturally, artistically and, above all, musically Vietnam is a part of the Sino-Japanese family grouping China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia and Vietnam. The music of the Far Eastern world shares many common caracteristiques: script (Chinese characters), musical terminology (the same theory for the determination of twelve basic tones and the names of musical instruments), musical instruments (most of them of Chinese origin), musical genres (court music), village folk music, anhemitonic pentatonic scale for ritual music, theatre music and ceremonial music.

Ten centuries of Chinese rule (from 111 B.C. to A.D. 939) have profoundly influenced the life, culture and music of the Vietnamese people. Musical instruments, such as the 16-stringed zither, the 4-stringed pear-shaped lute, 3-stringed lute, 2-stringed fiddle, vertical and transverse flutes, the oboe, large and small drums, cymbal, stone chime, bell chime, undoubtedly originated from China. Names of musical instruments are written in Chinese characters but their pronunciation differs according to whether they are read by Chinese or Vietnamese (16-stringed zither ZHENG in Chinese, TRANH in Vietnamese, pear-shaped lute PIPA in Chinese, TỲ BÀ in Vietnamese, etc…).

During the Lê Dynasty (1428-1788) the first theory of Vietnamese music was copied from the Chinese (the theory of five degrees, of seven tones and twelve LYU or basic tones, and the eight categories of court music: music of the esplanade of heaven, temple music, music of the five sacrifices, music for helping the sun and the moon in the event of the eclipse, music for formal audiences, music for ordinary audiences, banquet music and palace music. Musical notation (hò, xự, xang, xê, cống, liu) was still written in Chinese until the eve of the World War I (1914-1918)

Owing to its geographical position, at the crossroads of different peoples and civilizations, Vietnam has also come into contact with the Champa Kingdom of Indian civilization. Indian influences can be found in the use of the improvised prelude RAO in the South, or DAO (read ZAO) in the North, preceding the performance of a set musical composition, in the use the TRỐNG CƠM, a long two-membrane drum covered with a rice paste in the centre of the drum head, similar to the

MRIDANGAM of South India, and in the use of onomatopoeia for drum playing (toong, tà-roong, táng, tà-ráng, cắc, tà-rắc, trắc, rụp, sậm, tịch, rù), as in the BOL and THEKA systems of Indian music.

Chinese and Indian influences have not, however, destroyed the creative instincts of the Vietnamese people. In fact, the national identity is reflected in the creation of three purely Vietnamese musical instruments :

The ĐÀN ĐÁY or ĐỚI CẦM or VÔ ĐỂ CẦM, the songstresses’3-stringed lute,which incorporates the peculiarities of the 2-stringed moon-shaped lute ĐÀN KÌM or ĐÀN NGUYỆT, of the 4-stringed pear-shaped lute ĐÀN TỲ BÀ, and of the 3- string lute ĐÀN TAM

The SINH TIỀN, or coin clappers, bearing all the characteristics of clappers, sistrum and scrapers,

The monochord ĐÀN ĐỘC HUYỀN or ĐÀN BẦU, differing from other Asian monochords (e.g. the Cambodian SADEV, the Indian GOPIYANTRA and EKTARA, the Chinese I HSIEN QIN, and the Japanese ICHIGENKIN), in the exclusive combination of the use of a unique string and the production of harmonics.

Vietnam is a multi-ethnic country with its main population of 85 millions of Vietnamese of Mongoloid race. There are also 20 millions of aborigines grouping some 53 ethnic minorities. The composition of ethnic minorities is as followed : the Mường, Thổ, Chut (of Việt-Mường language), the Tày, Nùng, Thái, Cao Lan, Sán Chi, Lào, Puna (of Tày-Thái language), the Hmong, Dao, Patheng, Tông (of Hmong-Dao language), the Lolo, La Hu, Công, Phu La, Si La (of Tibeto-Burman language),the Bahnar, Khmer, Sedang, Mnong, Maa, Srê, Katu, Khmu, Hrê (of Môn-Khmer language), the Jarai, Êđê, Chàm, Churu, Rađê (of Austronesian language), the Co Lao, La Chi, Pu Peo, La ha (of various languages of the Austroasiatic family), etc.

The history of Vietnamese music can be divided into four periods, from the foundation of the first Vietnamese Dinh Dynasty (968-980)

The first period (10th – 15th centuries), characterized by the conjugated influence of Chinese and Indian music,

The second period (15th – 18th centuries), characterized by the predominance of Chinese influence,

The third period (19th century to the eve of World War II), characterized by the originality and identity of Vietnamese traditional music, and by the introduction of superficial influence of Western music.

The fourth period (from 1945 onwards), characterized by the decline of traditional music and new attempts to restore it, and by the development of a new European style music.

The Vietnamese musical language is characterized by the use of musical scales such as :

– the ditonic scale C-G-C (e.g. the HÁT ĐÚM, as in the alternating voices song of

the Hải Dương province in North Vietnam )

– the tritonic scale C-F-G-C (e.g. as in children’s game-songs « TÙM NỤM TÙM NỊU »,« OÁNH TÙ TÌ », folksongs « THUYỀN PHÊNH », « ĐÒ ĐƯA » of the Hải Dương

province, « HÁT DẶM, » « VÍ ĐÒ ĐƯA » of the Nghệ Tĩnh province, « HÁT THAI»

charade song of Central Vietnam, of the beginning of the classical piece «


– the tetratonic scale C-F-G-Bb-C (e.g. « HÁT DÂNG QUẠT » of the Thanh Hóa province in North Vietnam, « HÒ DÔ HẬY, « LÝ HOA THƠM », « LÝ LẠCH » of the Quang Nam province in Central Vietnam, the lullaby « RU EM » and boatwoman’s song “HÒ MÁI ĐẨY”  of Central Vietnam,

– the pentatonic scale comprising five types :

C – D – E – G – A – C (folksongs)

C – D – F – G – A – C (Bắc modal system music)

C – Eb- F – G – Bb- C (Nam modal system music)

C – D – F – G – Bb- C (Ngũ Cung Đảo piece)

C – E – F – G – A – C (Vọng Cổ piece)

Vietnamese music is composed of many musical genres: court music, ceremonial music, religious music, village music, new Western style music and proto-Indochinese music.


During the first years of the Lê Dynasty (1428-1788), Lương Đăng, a high Court dignitary, was asked to establish a new theory of Court music(Nhạc Cung Đình), which took its form from Chinese Ming music. Court music of Vietnam was highly formalized based on Confucian ideals and Chinese philosophy in general, showing a tendency in the royal court to consider Chinese culture more refined and sophisticated than the native music. Nonetheless, Vietnamese court music developed in a unique manner and integrated many aspects of Vietnamese folk music as well, making even traditions imported from China definitively Vietnamese. Eight categories were presented to King Lê Thái Tôn:

  1. GIAO NHẠC : music of the « esplanade of Heaven », performed during the sacrifice for Heaven and Earth, and during the triennial ceremony celebrated by the Vietnamese emperors,

  2. MIẾU NHẠC : Confucius temple music, performed at the Confucius temple and during the anniversary commemoration of the death of Vietnamese sovereigns,

  3. NGŨ TỰ NHẠC : music of the Five Sacrifices,

  4. CỨU NHỰT NGUYỆT GIAO TRÙNG NHẠC : music for helping the sun and the moon

in the event of the eclipse,

  1. ĐẠI TRIỀU NHẠC : music for formal audiences,

  2. THƯỜNG TRIỀU NHẠC : music for ordinary audiences,

  3. ĐẠI YẾN CỬU TẤU NHẠC : music for large banquets,

  4. CUNG TRUNG CHI NHẠC : palace music

Apart from music performed for the Emperor, there were two large instrumental ensembles (ĐƯỜNG THƯỢNG CHI NHẠC – music of the upper hall; ĐƯỜNG HẠ CHI NHẠC – music of the lower hall). Court dances consisted of military dance (VÕ VŨ), civilian dance (VĂN VŨ), flower branches dance (HOA ĐĂNG VŨ), phoenix dance (PHỤNG VŨ), horse dance (MÃ VŨ), four fabulous animals dance (TỨ LINH VŨ), and the dance of the 8 barbarians presenting their gifts (BÁT MAN TẤN CỐNG VŨ),



Ceremonial music and religious music are heard less and less today. Funerals are held according to the Confucian, Buddhist, Caodaist or Christian rituals. In some parts of the country one can still witness the celebration of the worship of ancestors or local deities. The Buddhist or Caodaist prayers, the medium or medicine men or women incantations (CHẦU

VĂN, HẦU VĂN, RỖI BÓNG) are still heard in numberless pagodas and temples

in Vietnam. CHẦU VĂN is a Northern traditional folk art which combines trance singing and dancing, a religious form of art used for extolling the merits of beneficent deities or deified national heroes. Christian music is inspired from the Western Catholic liturgy, while new Buddhist music in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) is written by young composers who take their inspiration from Christian hymns.



Music for entertainment purposes is performed by a small instrumental ensemble for a small audience:

In the North, the HÁT Ả ĐÀO (songstress’ song) mostly vocal but accompanied by three musical instruments : a 3-stringed lute ĐÀN ĐÁY, wooden clappers PHÁCH, and a small drum TRỐNG CHẦU reserved for the listener-connoisseur. It has different names : CA TRÙ, HÁT NHÀ TRÒ , HÁT NHÀ TƠ, HÁT CÔ ĐẦU. CA TRÙ flourished in the 15th century in northern Vietnam when it was popular with the royal palace and a favorite hobby of aristocrats and scholars. Later it was performed in communal houses, inns and private homes. These performances were mostly for men. When men entered a ca trù inn they purchased bamboo tally cards. In Chinese, TRÙ means card. CA means song in Vietnamese. Hence CA TRÙ means tally card songs. The tallies were given to the singers in appreciation for the performance. After the performance each singer received payment in proportion to the number of cards received.  CA TRÙ requires at least three performers. The singer is always a woman and plays the phách, an instrument made of wood or bamboo that is beaten with two wooden sticks. A musician accompanies the singer on the đàn đáy, a long-necked lute with three silk strings and 10 frets. There is also a drummer who is a connoisseur . The drummer shows his approval of the singer or the songs depending on how he hits the drum. If he likes a song he might hit the drum several times. If he is disappointed with the singer, he hits the drum twice. The long necked lute player must follow the rhythm of the wooden clappers phách. The repertoire of the CA TRÙ has 15 styles namely :HÁT MƯỠU , HÁT NÓI, GỬI THƯ, ĐỌC THƯ, ĐỌC PHÚ, CHỪ KHI, HÁT RU, CUNG BẮC, TỲ BÀ, KÊ TRUYỆN, HÃM, NGÂM, VỌNG, SẤM CÔ ĐẦU, etc…..

In Central Vietnam, the CA HUẾ (Huế Music) of aristocratic origins was created when the Nguyễn kings settled in Thuận Hóa province at the beginning of the 18th century. The music of the North in contact with  the Cham music which was influenced by Indian music gave birth to CA HUẾ .This music has a particular scale, characteristic to the Central part of Vietnam. It  is often only instrumental (the orchestra called NGŨ TUYỆT – the five perfects –  being composed of stringed instruments, including 16 stringed zither đàn tranh , 4 stringed pear shaped lute đàn tỳ bà, 2 stringed fiddle đàn nhị, monochord đàn độc huyền and transverse flute sáo). After 2 centuries of existence, the repertoire is composed of 10 bài ngự ( royal pieces) such as LƯU THỦY, CỔ BẢN, KIM TIỀN, TẨU MÃ,  NGUYÊN TIÊU, XUÂN PHONG, PHẨM TUYẾT, LONG NGÂM, HỒ QUẢNG, LỘNG ĐIỆP in the Bắc mode and a certain numbers of songs in the Nam mode expressing Sadness like AI GIANG NAM , HÀNH VÂN, NAM XUÂN or HẠ GIANG NAM, NAM BÌNH, CHINH PHỤ, TƯƠNG TƯ KHÚC. The song TỨ ĐẠI CẢNH might be composed by Kinh Tự Đức in the 19th century. As for the songs, the voice is always accompanied by the NGŨ TUYỆT ensemble.

In the South, it is the ĐÀN TÀI TỬ (the so-called « music of the amateurs» )coming from the Hue and Quang traditions. This music is the origin of the music of the renovated theater HÁT CẢI LƯƠNG. Many pieces from the CA HUẾ repertoire were modified after the inspiration of  South Vietnamese musicians and the specific scales of ĐÀN TÀI TỬ tradition. There are two distinct modal systems : Bắc (North) and Nam (South). All the pieces belonging to the Bắc  system are rapid, joyful and the pieces of Nam system are sad, melancholic and tempo is slow . The principal short pieces of Bắc system are : LONG HỔ HỘI, XUÂN PHONG, LƯU THỦY, CAO SƠN, KHỔNG MINH TỌA LẦU, MẪU TẦM TỬ, BÌNH BÁN VẮN, KIM TIỀN HUẾ. Besides, there are 6 long pieces such as : TÂY THI, CỔ BẢN, LƯU THỦY TRƯỜNG, BÌNH BÁN CHẤN, XUÂN TÌNH . The Nam system has the following pieces NAM AI, NAM XUÂN, ĐẢO NGŨ CUNG, TỨ ĐẠI OÁN, VĂN THIÊN TƯỜNG, PHỤNG CẦU HOÀNG, TRƯỜNG TƯƠNG TƯ . Only the musical piece TỨ ĐẠI OÁN was the most popular and performed by musicians before the World War 2 (1939-1945). The piece TỨ ĐẠI OÁN combining with the piece HÀNH VÂN from the Ca Huế tradition  inspired Mr. Cao Văn Lầu ( his nickname was Sáu Lầu) to compose the piece DẠ CỔ HOÀI LANG ( Hearing the drum in the night when thinking of his beloved) which was changed the name VỌNG CỔ (nostalgia of the past) . This piece has since become the main piece of  the renovated theater HÁT CẢI LƯƠNG  There exist two other modal systems of the ĐÀN TÀI TỬ repertoire : Nhạc ( from the term Nhạc Lễ – Ritual),  and Quảng – Cantonese having the flavour of Chinese music. The piece NGŨ ĐỐI HẠ of Nhạc system is also performed in ceremonial music and at the traditional theater HÁT BỘI , while the piece XÀNG XÊ  is used in the renovated theater HÁT CẢI LƯƠNG. Many pieces of Quảng system like NGỦ ĐIỂM, BÀI TẠ, KHỐC HOÀNG THIÊN, XANG XỪ LÍU, TÂY THI QUẢNG also belong the repertoire of the renovated theater HÁT CẢI LƯƠNG .



Theater in Vietnam comprises the traditional theater of Chinese

origin (HAT TUONG, HAT BOI), folk theater (HAT CHEO in the North), and

renovated theater (HAT CAI LUONG). A new westernized theater (KICH NOI) was born during the 30’s. The water puppet theater (MUA ROI NUOC) is created by the Vietnamese people.

HÁT TUỒNG, also called HÁT BỘI in the south, came into being over eight hundred years ago, thanks to the transmission of the art of Chinese traditional theater by Lý Nguyên Cát during the Trần Dynasty (1225-1400). HÁT TUỒNG stage has a very concise symbolization. Only with some actors on the stage, the whole scene of the court with all the officials who are attending royal ceremonies could be seen, or two generals with some soldiers fighting also show a battle with hundreds of thousands of troops and horses fighting fiercely, and even a gourd of wine and four wooden cups also express a lowish banquet. It is a mistake to deal with Tuong without mentioning the art of making up. It is because just looking at a made-up face, we may guess the personality and social class of that character; As for beards, a black, curly beard is for a fierce man, three-tuft beard for a gentleman; a dragon’s beard for Kings and mandarins and for majesty; a mouse’s whisker, a goat’s beard and a fox’s whisker for cunning and dishonest men. Beardless man must be students.  The gestures of characters on the stage are stylized with symbolization, which attract the viewers passionately. To a western-style drama, when a general rides a horse, it must be a real one or a horse-like costume ; but, to an actor of HÁT TUỒNG , only a white, brown red or black whip also means many kinds of horses: black, sorrel or white. The actor of Tuong acts very concisely. Only with a whip, he is able to make the viewers passionate through delicate acting’s with horses galloping or at full gallop, of which there are good-mannered or restive ones… With an oar, the actor of Tuong is able to show the viewers the boat fast sailing, wavering due to waves, making the viewers feel as through they were on the boat.The accompanying drum in HÁT TUỒNG are very important, because they start the actor’s sentiment; they bring the past time and space to the present; they unite the character’s sentiment with the stage, and the actor with the audience. The art of HÁT TUỒNG in Vietnam includes those of painting, sculpture through the ways of making up, costumes and dance, pantomine, singing, saying through the actings of actors; as well as the combination of traditional musical instruments of Vietnam. The art of HÁT TUỒNG has raised the lofty view of desire to the true – the good – the beautiful (Chân – Thiện – Mỹ) as well as the viewpoints of life of the ancients: Benevolence – Civility – Righteousness –  Knowledge – Loyalty ( Nhân – Nghĩa – Lễ – Trí- Tín) through special characters who are benevolent and righteous.

HÁT CHÈO is a form of popular theatre in Vietnam that has its roots in ancient village festivals. It consists of folk songs with pantomime, intrumental music and dances, combined with instructive or interpretive sketches dealing with stories from legends, poetry, history or even daily life. Also brought into play are acrobatic scenes and magic. HÁT CHÈO tells tales of chiefs, heroes and lovely maidens and offers an eclectic mix of romance, tragedy and comedy. Traditionally HÁT CHÈO was composed orally by anonymous authors. Nowadays, HÁT CHÈO plays are composed along traditional lines : the characters in the plays sing time-tested popular melodies with words suited to modern circumstances.The costomes, makeup, gestures and language create typical characters familiar to every member of the audience. The props are simple. As a result, there is a close interchange between the performers and the spectators. A HÁT CHÈO play could be put on stage in a large theater, but it could also be performed successfully on one or two bed mats spread in the middle of a communal house with a cast of only three: a hero, a heroine and a clown. The sound of the HÁT CHÈO drum has a magical power and upon hearing it. Villagers cannot resist coming to see the play. The clown in a HÁT CHÈO play seems to be a supporting role, but actually he or she is very important to the performance. The clowns present a comic portrayal of social life, with ridiculous, satirical words and gestures, they reduce the audience to tears of laughter. The national CHÈO repertoire includes among others Trương Viên, Lưu Bình – Dương Lễ, and Quan Âm Thị Kính, which are considered treasures of the traditional stage.

HÁT CẢI LƯƠNG  (renovated theater) appeared in the southern part of Vietnam in the 1920s. The word “Cải lương” was coined after this sentence “Cải biến kỳ sự, sử ích tự thiên lương”  (Changing old things and transforming them into better and newer ones). The first word and the last word of the sentence were combined to create the word CẢI LƯƠNG around the year of 1920 .This relatively modern form combines drama, modeled after French comedy, and singing. Scenes are elaborate and are changed frequently throughout the play. HÁT CẢI LƯƠNG is similar to the Western operettas and more easily depicts the inner feelings of the characters. Songs of the HÁT CẢI LƯƠNG are based on variations of a limited number, perhaps 20, of tunes with different tempos for particular emotions – this convention permits a composer to choose among 20 variations to express anger, and as many to portray joy.The principal supporting songs in HÁT CẢI LƯƠNG is the VỌNG CỔ (nostalgia of the past). CẢI LƯƠNG theater owes much of its success to the sweet voices of actors/singers ( the most famous actors are Năm Nghĩa, Út Trà Ôn, and actresses are Út Bạch Lan Thanh Nga, Bạch Tuyết ), much appreciated by the audience. Upon hearing the first bars of the well-loved VỌNG CỔ, the audience reacts with gasps of recognition and applause. The HÁT CẢI LƯƠNG performance includes dances, songs, and music; the music originally drew its influences from southern folk music. Since then, the music of HÁT CẢI LƯƠNG  has been enriched with hundreds of new tunes. An orchestra consists mainly of guitar with concave frets Lục Huyền cầm or Ghita phím lõm, and 2 stringed moon shaped lute Đàn Kìm, 16 stringed zither Đàn Tranh; 2 stringed fiddle Đàn Cò and a percussion ensemble .



Folk music is composed by the people for the people without any artistic goals, illustrating the life of an individual from the cradle to the grave.

It is essentially vocal music (DÂN CA, literally DÂN: people; CA: songs).

Lullabies (HÁT RU in the North, RU CON in the Center, and HÁT ĐƯA EM in the South), children’s game songs (THIÊN ĐÀNG ĐỊA NGỤC, tag games OÁNH TÙ TÌ – one two three, etc.), work songs associated with work in the field (irrigation HÒ ĐẠP NƯỚC, HÒ TÁT NƯỚC, rice grinding HÒ XÂY LÚA, lime crushing HÒ GIÃ VÔI. Boatman songs can be heard on the rivers (HÒ CHÈO GHE, HÒ CHÈO THUYỀN, HÒ MÁI NHÌ, HÒ MÁI ĐẨY, HÒ MÁI XẤP, HÒ KHOAN, HÒ SÔNG MÃ).

Love songs are countless in Vietnam. In the North, the birthplace of festival songs (TRỐNG QUAN, QUAN HỌ, CÒ LÃ, HÁT ĐÚM, HÁT PHƯỜNG VẢI, HÁT GIẶM, HÁT GHẸO, HAT XOAN). Songs are used for singing contests between girls and boys. In Central Vietnam, the HÒ or calls, are associated with many village activities and the LÝ, very numerous, include mostly love songs (LÝ THƯƠNG NHAU, LÝ HOÀI NAM, LÝ MONG CHỒNG, LÝ NĂM CANH, LÝ CHIA TAY, LÝ HÀNH VÂN, etc.). In the South, the most famous HÒ are the A LI HÒ LỜ, HÒ ĐỒNG THÁP, HÒ BA LÝ, HÒ LÔ TÔ, HÒ CẤY, The LÝ are : LÝ GIAO DUYÊN, LÝ VỌNG PHU, LÝ CHIM QUYÊN, LÝ CHUỒN CHUỒN, LÝ CÂY CHANH, LÝ BÕ BÌA, LÝ CON KHỈ ĐỘT, LÝ CON SÁO, LÝ NGỰA Ô, LÝ DĨA BÁNH BÒ, etc.. HÁT GIẶM VÈ (stories told in flowery terms), HÁT VÈ, NÓI VÈ, HÁT XẨM (peddler’s songs) are other types of Vietnamese folk songs. HÁT XẨM, or the song of the blind artists, has existed since the Tran dynasty (13th century). The beauty of the « XẨM » song is expressed in the rhythms and tones of the music. Its attractive and lively drum rhythms and numerous rules of song applications make it an interesting spectacle. The HÁT XẨM song tells of the fate or unhappiness of the poor. Besides theses common themes, there are funny songs with satirical implications about wrong doings, the condemnation of outdated customs, the crimes of rulers, and the deeds of heroes. These stories are well loved by many people.The instruments traditionally used for the HÁT XẨM are a 2 stringed fiddle đàn nhị, bamboo clappers phách, a monochord đàn bầu and two drums. People used to walk in a group of 2 to 5 and sing, mainly in residential areas such as a parking lot, a ferry-landing, or a market gate . Today, HÁT XẨM singers no longer exist, but their ancient art is still kept alive and respected thanks to the effort by a group of researchers and musicians led by Mr. Thao Giang . Mrs Hà Thị Cầu is the last Hát Xẩm singer in Việt Nam .



Modern music based on Western musical styles was introduced to Vietnam around the 1930s. On the eve of World War 2, the Youth movement gave origin to a new music corresponding to youth’s aspirations for struggle (songs of struggle NHẠC CHIẾN ĐẤU), for love (love songs NHẠC TÌNH CẢM). During the last 75 years pop music has rapidly developed and now represents nearly 80% of the music heard in Vietnam. Songs associated with love, struggle, war, revolution, natural beauty etc. are a convincing means of expression for awakening or subduing the political conscience of the people,

The most famous composers in Vietnam are Lưu Hữu Phước (died in 1989), Phạm Duy (moved to the United States after the fall of Saigon in 1975 and now back to Vietnam since 2005), Trịnh Công Sơn (died in 2001) Lê Thương (died in 1999), Văn Cao (died in ), Nguyễn Văn Thương (died in )

Classical music in the Western idiom was late in developing in Vietnam: works for piano have been composed by Mrs. Louise Nguyễn Văn Ty and the late Vo Duc Thu. Symphonic works have been and are always written in Vietnam by Do Nhuan (deceased) Nguyen Xuan Khoat (deceased), Nghiem Phu Phi (in the United States). In France, some composers like Nguyen Van Tuong (deceased in 1998), Truong Tang (deceased in 1989), Ton That Tiet, Nguyen Thien Dao and Tran Quang Hai have written many compositions in electro-acoustical, contemporary or avant-gardist style. Some renowned young composers such as Phan Quang Phuc (USA), Vu Nhat Tan (Vietnam), Hoang Ngoc Tuan (Australia) have had their works performed in Western countries.

A great number of harmonized folksongs for part singing have attracted a

certain category of the Vietnamese population. This westernized

music, now in expansion, cannot however be judged at this time.


Tribal or Ethnic Minorities, living in the mountainous sections of the

country, in an area equal to two thirds of the entire territory of Vietnam,

and especially in the autonomous zone of Viet Bac, the Northwest mountains

or Vietnamese Cordillera and the High Plateaus of Central Vietnam, have a

music which is completely different from that of Vietnamese of Mongolian

origin. This music has a wealth of dances, songs and musical instruments

(Jew’s harps in metal and bamboo – RODING, TOUNG, GOC; mouth organ with

divergent tubes – MBOAT, KOMBOAT, ROKEL; xylophone – TRUNG, KLENG KLANG;

monochord fiddle – KONI; gongs – CING; gong ensemble ; hydraulic chime –

TANG KOA ; lithophone of the Mnong Gar from the village of Ndut Lieng Krak,

etc.). This music has many common characteristics with the music of other

tribal peoples in Southeast Asia.

Vietnamese Music in Exile since 1975 and Musical Life in Vietnam since Perestroika

The exile of some millions of Vietnamese refugees after the fall of Saigon in 1975 gave birth to a new type of music outside of Vietnam. Traditional music has been in regression because of the lack of interest among youngsters. Pop music, on the other hand, is flourishing, especially in the United States, where there is a big concentration of Vietnamese emigrants. Contemporary music in the Western idiom is in its early stages. In Vietnam, pop music has come back since around 1990, with perestroika. Traditional music has also gained in popularity due to the efforts made by the Institute of Musicology (ViŒn Âm nhåc) in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, and thanks to a number of festivals organized in main cities.

Thirty two years have gone by since the fall of Saigon. Thirty two years during which many political, economical, and artistic events have changed the face of the history of humanity in general and that of Vietnamese history in particular. In terms of music, it has only been outside of Vietnam, notably among members of the exile community, that an exceptional development in quantity can be observed. Thousands of new music and video cassettes of pop music, as well as revivals of theater pieces, have been issued by twenty or so producers in America. These producers, who are centered in California (more precisely, in the area of Orange County nicknamed ‘Little Saigon’) and in Europe (especially in Paris) have flooded the market with cassettes reserved for Vietnamese refugees.

In the framework of this article, the author will offer with some brief information on the musical activities in the Vietnamese community since April 30, 1975, the date of the fall of Saigon and the beginning of the major departure into exile of several hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, as well as some comments on musical life in Vietnam since perestroika.

Four themes will be discussed:

  1. The survival of traditional music (nhåc c° truyŠn)

  2. The development of new music (tân nhåc)

  3. The beginning of a contemporary western-style music (nhåc cÆn Çåi tây phÜÖng)

  4. Musical life in Vietnam since perestroika.

  1. The Survival of Traditional Music (nhåc c° truyŠn)

Traditional music has long been treated as a poor parent in relation to westernized music. Before April 1975, at the National Conservatory of music in Saigon, classes of traditional instruments and arts did not attract many students. Professors of traditional music had an inferiority complex in relation to professors of western music.

The Vietnamese refugees who now live abroad have been generally too busy setting up their new lives to have the time to appreciate the sound of the zither dàn tranh or to attend performances of the revived theater form of hat cai luong. Children who arrived abroad when they were ten years of age are now 35 years old. They are really quite indifferent towards Vietnamese culture. They hardly speak their native language amd prefer listening to Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, Céline Dion and others, because for them it is the music of their present world.

Performances of modernized theater hát cäi lÜÖng, concerts of traditional music are less and less numerous because of lack of spectators. Parents do not encourage children to attend Vietnamese concerts or theater performances , which are boring for youngsters who understand Vietnamese less and less, and tickets are expensive.

For the next few decades, Vietnamese renovated theater will probably have fallen into oblivion. Traditional music could probably survive longer but to a lower level, because young Vietnamese have turned toward western pop music or the new Vietnamese westernized music.

  1. The Development of New Music (tân nhåc)

The departure of many artists from Vietnam in May of 1975 marked the beginning of the development of exile music. This music, characterized by pop songs, can be divided into several themes:

  1. Nostalgia for the country, nostalgia for Saigon (1975-1977) with songs evoking lost memories, such as ‘Vïnh BiŒt Saigon’ (Farewell Saigon) by Nam Lc (1976) and ‘Saigon niŠm nh§ không tên’ (Saigon, Nostalgia without Name) by Nguyn ñình Toàn (1977).

  2. Resistance and struggle for the reconquest of the country (1978-1981) in songs composed by Phạm Duy (‘Hát trên Çường tåm dung’ / Songs on the Road of Exile, 1978), songs of struggle by Nguyệt Ánh (‘Em nh§ màu c / I Remember the Colors of the Flag, 1981); ‘Dܧi c© phøc quÓc’ / Under the Flag of the Reconquest of the Country, 1981), and songs by ViŒt DzÛng (‘LÜu Vong QuÓc’ / Melodies of the Exile, 1980; ‘Kinh tœ nån’ / Prayers of Refugees, 1981), etc.

  3. Description of prisoners’ lives in Vietnam, found in a compilation of 20 songs by Phåm Duy based on poems written by NguyÍn Chí ThiŒn (‘Ngøc Ca’ / Songs of Jail, 1981) and melodies by the poet-musician Hà Thúc Sinh (‘Tiêng Hát tûi nhøc’ / The Song of Shame, 1982), etc.

  4. Rebirth of prewar songs (1982-1985), with thousands of cassettes recording voices of male singers (Elvis PhÜÖng, Duy Quang, Ch‰ Linh) and female singers (Khánh Ly, LŒ Thu, Thanh Thúy, Thanh Tuyn, HÜÖng Lan, Julie Quang) well known to the Vietnamese; these revive memories of the golden age of Saigon.

  5. Birth of the HÜng Ca movement (since 1985) gathered around ten young composers, including Hà Thúc Sinh, NguyÍn H»u Nghïa, NguyŒt Ánh, Viêt DzÛng, Phan Ni TÃn, and Khúc Lan. They have composed new songs on different themes: struggle, resistance, and love, and this movement works to collect and preserve some new songs.

  6. Development of ‘new wave’ music and of Chinese serials music (since 1986), with about one hundred cassettes on these kinds of music (‘top hit’ western songs and music of Hong Kong and Taiwan movies with Vietnamese lyrics).

  7. Diffusion of songs composed in Vietnam among Vietnamese communities overseas (since 1997). This new Vietnamese pop music has been developed in Vietnam, and many of its artists have become well known abroad. The overseas Vietnamese are interested in the newly composed songs and the young artists of Vietnam because they like to listen to another musical source and to discover new artistic faces. Vietnamese refugees are allowed to go back to Vietnam on vacation, where they discover new songs and new artists. This contact permits the export of music to foreign countries where the Vietnamese diaspora now lives.

  8. Beginning of Western Contemporary Classical Music (nhåc cÆn Çåi Tây phÜÖng)

In addition to the few Vietnamese composers of contemporary music living already for a long time in France such as Nguyn Văn Tường (died in 1996), Nguyn Thiên Đạo , Tôn Tht Tiết ( composer of music for 3 films ‘ Odeur de la papaye verte ‘,Cyclo’, ‘A la verticale de l’été’ directed by Trn Anh Hùng), Trương Tăng (died in 1989), Trn Quang Häi, and Cung Ti‰n in the United States, some young Vietnamese composers have also emerged. In Australia, the guitarist Hoàng Ngc Tun, gold medal winner of the 1978 music festival in Vietnam and author of more than 500 new songs, left Vietnam in 1982 by the sea and received a research grant to prepare his Ph.D. dissertation on Vietnamese folk songs. He wrote some modern arrangements for traditional songs in a new style. Nguyn Mnh Cường won a composition prize at the Asia Pacific Festival and Composers Conference in December, 1984, in New Zealand on the basis of his composition ‘Phøng VÛ’ (The Dance of Phoenix). Since 1985, he has continued to compose electronic music in Sydney (Australia). Lê Tun Hùng obtained his Ph.D. degree in Ethnomusicology at Monash University in Melbourne and has composed new music mixing Vietnamese musical instruments and Western contemporary compositions. He has published 4 CD since 1992. Phan Quang Phc earned a doctorate of music at the University of Michigan and has taught composition at Indiana University (Illinois, USA). He is considered to be one of the six most talented young composers in the United States and won the Prize of Rome in 1998.

Among interpreters of western classical music, the guitarist Trnh Bách is the only one who has reached an international level of performance. Having arrived in New York in 1975 at the age of 13, he is now considered one of the best guitarists in the world. Several excellent young Vietnamese musicians have pursued their studies at conservatories of music in Sydney, Paris and the United States. In 2001, Văn Hùng Cường, a Vietnamese pianist, won the world piano competition organized by the American Music Scholarship Association in New York (USA).

  1. Musical life in Vietnam since Perestroika

Since Perestroika policies began there, many foreign tourists have been visiting Vietnam, instigating a new dimension to the musical life of that country. Many hotels and restaurants for tourists hire musicians of traditional music to entertain their new customers. Spectacles of traditional music offer to tourists some aspects of the musical culture of the country. Instead of presenting the authentic music, though, musicians play westernized folk music to please European tastes. Because of the economical necessity, traditional artists have done this for money and have neglected aspects of art and tradition.

Many groups of artists like Tre Xanh, Phù Đổng have been sent abroad to participate in festivals or to present concerts to the exiled Vietnamese. Inside of the country, though, the emphasis is on pop music, as young singers turn toward the west. They dress like European pop singers on stage, imitate them and sing fashionable foreign songs (Western, Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese). Since 1995, many singers namely Thanh Lam, M Linh, HÒng Nhung, HÒng Hnh, Ánh Tuy‰t, Thanh PhÜÖng, CÄm Vân, Lam TrÜ©ng, Đan TrÜ©ng, Quang Linh, M Tâm, Trn Thu Hà etc.. have become famous inside and outside of the country. They can earn up to 20,000 US dollars per month with shows and recordings .

The rebirth of modernized theater (Hát Cäi LÜÖng) since 1990 in Ho Chi Minh City and the southern part of Vietnam has enabled young artists like Ngc Huyn (moved to the United States in 2004), Tài Linh (moved to the United States in 2005), Vũ Linh, Kim T Long, Ngc Giàu, Bch Tuyết, L Thy, Minh Phng to earn more money and have a better life. A new kind of comic theater (TÃu Hài) appeared at the beginning of the 90’s and has become popular with productions of video cassettes and DVD. Some actors like Bo Quc, Minh Nhí, Thành Lc, Lê Vũ Cu, Hu Châu, Hoài Linh etc..; and actresses like Hng Nga, Hng Vân, Ngc Giàu are well known in Vietnam and also among the Vietnamese abroad .

In spite of this disappointing aspect, some excellent festivals of traditional music take place, namely the Lullaby Festival, modernized Theater Festival, Theater Song contest, the Traditional Theater Festival, etc.

Composers for film music have been more and more after the unification of the country since 1976. Other composers like Trng Bng, Đàm Linh, Hoàng Vân, Đặng Hu Phúc, Trng Đài, Dương Thụ have contributed to film music in Vietnam. Contemporary music with concertos, symphonies has been developed in Vietnam with some famous composers like Đỗ Hng Quân, Nguyn Th Nhung, Hoàng Dương, Hoàng Cường, Phúc Linh, Vũ Nht Tân .

Compositions for orchestra with traditional musical instruments (16 stringed zither, monochord, moon shaped lute, 2 stringed fiddle, bamboo transverse flute) and Western orchestra occupy an important place in musical creations in Vietnam nowadays .

In Hanoi over the past 30 years, the Institute of Musicology has carried out thousands of field work projects on the tribal music of 53 minorities. In addition to the collection stored in archives from 1956 to 1995, 34 field work projects have been carried out since 1996 throughout the country, from the mountainous regions in the north to the highlands in the central region and some provinces in the south. Stored in the Sound Archives of the Institute of Musicology are 8,850 pieces of instrumental music and nearly 18,000 folksongs performed by more or less 2,000 performers. Since 1995, with revisions in working methods, open and dynamic mechanisms based on the current situation have abolished the passive role of scientific research. The Institute of Musicology now has qualified collaborators in the entire country to carry out projects from the grassroots to the ministry level and up to the national level.

In January of 1999, this Institute of Musicology opened a showroom of 130 Vietnamese musical instruments from 54 ethnic groups belonging to four categories of classification: chordophones, idiophones, aerophones, and membranophones. Each instrument in the showroom is introduced in printed descriptions and audio and visual recordings. Of particular note, the showroom also displays many ancient musical instruments such as the lithophone, bronze drum, big drum with elephant skin of the Ede ethnic group, sets of gongs, etc. In addition to providing visual education, the displayed objects and musical instruments are also demonstrated in a lively way.

Thousands of technology products in the form of audio CD, video CD, and videotapes featuring performances on folk music have been released.In addition, the Institute of Musicology has held symposiums and seminars on diverse and practical themes such as the Vietnamese lithophone, gongs of the central highlands of Vietnam, etc. In 1998, the Institute of Musicology held a scientific meeting on ‘Reviewing a process of training, preserving and promoting Vietnamese traditional music’. More than 30 papers of a high scientific quality were presented. The research department of the Institute of Musicology is well equipped with modern apparatus that can help to restore and preserve traditional music and folk songs on compact discs for the longer and better conservation of sound documents. Thanks to these demonstrations, many scientific books on music and traditional songs have been published. This Institute of Musicology has many young researchers like Hình Phước Long (Cham music), Dương Bích Hà (traditional music from Central Vietnam), Kiu Tn (traditional music from South Vietnam), Võ Thanh Tùng (Vietnamese musical instruments with a publication of a CD Rom and an important book on that subject), Nng Th Nhinh (folk music of the Tày, Nùng, Dao tribes from North Vietnam), Kpa Ylang (Bahnar music from the Highlands) Romah Del (Jarai music from the Highlands)

In Vietnam, the research on traditional music has been developed rapidly . Many senior reasearchers have contributed to enrich this field with hundreds of publications (books, CD, films). Prof. NguyÍn H»u Ba (deceased) Lê ThÜÖng (deceased), LÜu H»u Phܧc (deceased in 1989), Đắc Nhn, Huy, Huy Trn, Tú Ngc (deceased) Đỗ Minh, Vũ Nht Thăng, Đặng Hoành Loan, Thy Loan, Tô Vũ, Tô Ngc Thanh, Lư Nht Vũ, etc.. are among the best known in Vietnam .

A center of research on the preservation of court music was created in Huê in 1996 thanks to the help of Japan and has been under Prof. Trn Văn Khê’s supervision .

For the last 12 years (since 1995), many artists of folk theaters and pop singers living in Vietnam have performed abroad at international music festivals or in America, Asia, Australia, and Europe where Vietnamese refugees have settled in . Since 1999, a great number of Vietnamese Oversea artists like Hương Lan, Phượng Mai, Elvis Phương, Hoài Linh, Dalena, Linda Trang Đài etc.. have been back to Vietnam many times to perform with other artists in Vietnam. This musical exchange has contributed to facilitate the relationship between Vietnamese artists outside/inside .

The influence that music has throughout the world is immeasurable. Music evokes many feelings, surfaces old memories, and creates new ones all while satisfying a sense of human emotion. With the ability to help identify a culture, as well as educate countries about other cultures, music also provides for a sense of knowledge. Music can be a tool for many things: relaxation, stimulation and communication. It is often transformed according to technological advancement, market demands, and political forces far from its home ground. As certain forms of music enjoy worldwide popularity, other forms of music mutate, sink into obscurity, and even cease to exist Within the reign of imported culture, cross cultivation and the creation of the so-called global village lies the need to expand horizons to engulf more than just what you see everyday. Globalization is becoming one of the most controversial topics in today’s world.

Bibliography :

Bulletin Thông báo khoa học : 2003 : 19 articles on teaching traditional music at school in Vietnam, n° 10 (september- december 2003),156p. (English version), Viện Âm nhạc, Hanoi .

Bulletin Thông báo khoa học : 2005 : 13 articles on Ca Trù, special issue on Ca Trù singing of Viet people, n° 16 (september-december 2005), 176p,  (Vietnamese version),Viện Âm Nhạc, Hanoi .

Bulletin Thông báo khoa học : 2005 : 9 articles on Ca Trù , special issue on Ca Trù singing of Viet people, n°15 (may-august 2005),160 p. (Vietnamese version), Viện Âm Nhạc, Hanoi.

Bulletin Thông báo khoa học : 2006 : 10 articles on Ca Trù , Gongs in Central Vietnam, tribal music in Ha Giang province, etc…, n° 17 (january – april 2006), 184p, Viện Âm nhạc, Hanoi .

Bulletin Thông báo khoa học : 2006 : 8 articles on Ca Tru in English, n° 18 (may-august 2006), 166p, Viện Âm nhạc , Hanoi

Condominas, Georges : 1952 : « Le lithophone préhistorique de Ndut Lieng Krak », 45 (2) : 359-392, Hanoi

Đắc Nhẫn : 1987 : Tìm hiểu âm nhạc cải lương , (ed) , 230p, Hô Chi Minh City

Đắc Nhẫn : 1987 : Tìm hiểu âm nhạc cải lương , nhà xuất bản TP Hồ Chí Minh, 230p, Ho chi minh city.

Đặng Hoành Loan (editor) :2004 : Hợp Tuyển tài liệu nghiên cứu lý luận phê bình âm nhạc Việt Nam thế kỷ XX , 7 volumes, nearly 7,000 p, Viện Âm nhạc (ed), Hanoi .

Đặng Hoành Loan and others : 2006 : Đặc khảo Ca Trù Việt Nam, Viện Âm Nhạc (ed), 633p, Hanoi . Articles written by Nguyễn Xuân Diện, Trần thị Kim Anh, Vũ Nhật Thăng, Bùi Trọng Hiền, Nguyễn Đức Mậu, Trần Văn Khê, Đặng Hoành Loan, etc..

Đặng Nguyễn & others : 1997 : Âm nhạc cổ truyền Quảng Trị, Viện nghiên cứu âm nhạc, sở Văn Hóa Thông Tin , 352p, Quảng Trị .

Đặng Văn Lung, Hồng Thao, Trần Linh Quý : 1978 : Quan Họ : nguồn gốc và quá trình phát triển, Khoa Hoc xã hội (ed), 527p, Hanoi

Đào Trọng Từ, Huy Trân, Tú Ngọc : 1979 : Essais sur la musique vietnamienne, Editions en langues étrangères, 287p, Hanoi.

Đào Trọng Từ, Huy Trân, Tú Ngọc : 1979 : Essais sur la musique vietnamienne, Editions en langues étrangères, 287p, Hanoi.

Đinh Lan, Sỹ Tiến : 1971 : Hướng dẫn sử dụng một số nhạc cụ dân tộc, Vụ văn hóa quần chúng và thư viện, 170p, Hanoi.

Đỗ Bằng Đoàn , Đỗ Trọng Huề : 1962 : Việt Nam ca trù biên khảo, 681p. Saigon

Đỗ Minh : 1975 : Bước đầu tìm hiểu ca nhạc dân gian Việt Bắc, Việt Bắc (ed), 163p, Việt Bắc.

Dương Bích Hà : 1997 : Lý Huế, nhà xuất bản Âm nhạc, Viện Âm nhạc, 256p, Hanoi.

Hinh Phước Long, A Thiên Hương , Lê Thị Kim Quý : 1986 : Nghệ thuật cồng chiêng, Sở văn hóa thông tin Gia Lai – Kontum, Viện Nghiên cứu âm nhạc Việt Nam (ed), 286p, Gia Lai –Kontum.

Hồ Trường An : 1999 : Theo chân những tiếng hát, nhà xuất bản Miền Đông, 385p, Virginia, USA

Hồ Trường An :2000 : Chân dung những tiếng hát , nhà xuất bản Tân Văn, 441p, Tokyo, Japan.

Hoàng Châu Kỳ : 1973 : Sơ khảo lịch sử nghệ thuật tưồng, nhà xuất bản Văn Hóa, 212p, Hanoi .

Hoàng Châu Kỳ : 1973 : Sơ khảo lịch sử nghệ thuật tuồng, Văn hóa (ed), 212p, Hanoi.

Hoàng Hiệp, Ca Lê Thuần, xuân Hồng, Lưu Hữu Phước : 1986 : Âm nhạc ở thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, TP Hồ Chí Minh (ed), 180p, Hô Chi Minh City.

Hoàng Kiều : 2001 : Thanh điệu tiếng Việt và âm nhạc cổ truyền, Viện Âm nhạc, 472p, Hanoi.

Hoàng Như Mai : 1986 : Sân khấu cải lương, nhà xuất bản Tổng Hợp Đồng Tháp, 198p, Đồng Tháp.

Kiều Tấn : 1998-1999 : Music of the Talented / Nhạc tài tử Nam bộ, 1st part, listing of sound documents archived at the Volkerkunde Museum in Berlin, manuscript, 262p., Berlin & Ho Chi Minh city .

Lê Giang, Lê Anh Trung : 1991 : Những bài hát ru, nhà xuất bản Văn Nghệ, 180p, Ho chi Minh city.

Lê Huy, Huy Trân : 1984 : Nhạc khí dân tộc Việt Nam , Văn Hóa (ed), 169p, Hanoi.

Lê Yên : 1994 : Những vấn đề cơ bản trong âm nhạc tuồng, nhà xuất bản Thế Giới, 181p, Hanoi.

Lư Nhất Vũ / Lê Giang (editors) : 1995 : Dân ca Đồng Tháp, nhà xuất bản Tổng Hợp Đồng tháp, 465p, Đồng Tháp.

Lư Nhất Vũ, Lê Giang : 1981 : Dân ca Bến Tre, ty Văn hóa thông tin Bến tre (ed), 346p, Bến Tre.

Lư Nhất Vũ, Lê Giang, Nguyễn Văn Hoa : 1985 : Dân ca Kiên Giang, Sở Văn Hoá Thông Tin (ed), 483p, Kiên Giang

Lư Nhất Vũ, Nguyễn Văn Hoa, Lê Giang : 1985 : Dân Ca Kiên Giang, sở Văn Hóa Thông Tin Kiên giang, 483p, Kiên Giang.

Many authors : 1987 : Vietnamese Modern Theatre, Vietnamese Studies no 17, 153p, Hanoi.

Many authors : 1997 : Nghiên cứu văn nghê dân gian Việt Nam, vol.1, nhà xuất bản Văn Hóa Dân tộc, 863p, Hanoi.

Nguyễn Chung Anh : 1968 : Hát Ví Nghệ Tĩnh, 147p, Hanoi.

Nguyễn Đình Lai : 1956 : Etude sur la musique sino-vietnamienne et les chants populaires du Vietnam, Bulletin de la Société des Etudes Indochinoises, 31 (1) : 1-86, Saigon.

Nguyễn Đổng Chi, Ninh Viết Giao : 1942 : Hát Giặm, vol.1, 348p, Hanoi ; 1944 : Hát Giặm, vol.2, 340p, Hanoi.

Nguyễn Thị Nhung : 1998 : Nhạc khí gõ trống đế trong chèo truyền thống, nhà xuất bản Âm nhạc, 190p, Hanoi.

Nguyễn Văn Huyên : 1934 : Les chants alternés des garçons et des filles en Annam, Paul Gueuthner (ed), 224p, Paris.

Nguyễn Văn Phú, Lưu Hữu Phước, Nguyễn Viêm, Tú Ngọc : 1962 : Dân ca Quan Họ Bắc Ninh, Văn Hóa (ed), Viện Văn Học, 340p, Hanoi.

Phạm Duy : 1975 : Musics of Vietnam, Dale H. Whiteside (ed), Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Phạm Phúc Minh : 1994 : Tìm hiểu dân ca Việt Nam, nhà xuất bản Âm nhạc, 328p, Hanoi.

Reyes Adelaida : 1999 : Songs of the Caged, Songs of the Free / Music and the Vietnamese Refugee Experience, Temple University Press, 218p, Philadelphia, USA.

Song Bân : 1960 :Le Théâtre vietnamien, 163p, Hanoi

Sỹ Tiến : 1984 : Bước đầu tìm hiểu sân khấu cải lương, nhà xuất bản TP Hồ Chí Minh, 160p, Ho Chi Minh City.

Sỹ Tiến : 1984 : Bưóc đầu tìm hiểu sân khấu cải lương, TP Hồ Chí Minh (ed), 159p, Ho chi Minh city.

Thái Văn Kiểm : 1964 : « Panorama de la musique classique vietnamienne des origines à nos jours », la Société des Etudes Indochinoises, nouvelle série, 39 (1), Saigon.

Toan Ánh : 1985 : Cầm Ca Việt Nam, nhà xuất bản Xuân Thu, 270p (reprint), Los Alamitos, USA.

 Trần Cường : 1996 : Âm nhạc : tác giả và tác phẩm, nhà xuất bản Âm nhạc, 348p, Hanoi.

Trần Hữu Lạc, Phạm Thùy Nhân, Sâm Thương : 1987 : Dưới ánh đèn sân khấu, Sở Văn Hóa Thông tin Tây Ninh, 192p, Tây Ninh .

Trần Kiều Lại Thủy : 1997 : Âm nhạc cung đình triều Nguyễn, nhà xuất bản Thuận Hóa, 268p, Huế.

Trần Quang Hải & Bạch Yến : 2006 : « Ca Trù on the acoustical point of view »,  Bulletin Thông báo khoa học n°18 : 71-97, Viện Âm nhạc, Hanoi .

Trần Quang Hải : 1976 : « Vietnamese Traditional Music », Oriental Music : 46-49, Durham University.

Trần Quang Hải : 1985 : La musique du Vietnam, Musique et Culture (ed), 8 : 20p, Strasbourg.

Trần Quang Hải : 1987 : « La musique et les réfugiés », Revue musicale (ed) nos 402-403-404 : 125-133, Paris.

Trần Quang Hải : 1989 : Âm nhạc Việt Nam biên khảo , Bắc Đẩu (ed),361p, Paris.

Trần Trung Quân : 1999 : Hậu trường sân khấu cải lương trước năm 1975 và tại hải ngoại, nhà xuất bản Nam Á, 364p, Paris

Trần Văn Khải : 1986 : Nghệ thuật sân khấu Việt Nam , nhà xuất bản Xuân Thu, 265p, reprint, USA

Trần Văn Khê : 1959 : « Place de la musique dans les classes populaires au Vietnam », Bull. de la Société des Etudes Indochinoises, 34 (4) : 361-377, Saigon.

Trần Văn Khê : 1962 : La musique vietnamienne traditionnelle, Annales du Musée Guimet, vol.66, Presses Universitaires de France (ed), 384p, Paris.

Trần Văn Khê : 1967 : Vietnam (les traditions musicales), Buchet /Chastel (ed), 224p, Paris.

Trần Văn Khê : 1987 : Trân Van Khê et le Vietnam, La Revue Musicale triple numéro 402-403-404, 146p, Paris, France .

Trần Văn Khê : 2000 : Văn hóa với âm nhạc dân tộc, tiểu luận, nhà xuất bản Thanh Niên, 158p, Ho chi minh city.

Trường Kỳ : 1995 : Tuyển tập nghệ sĩ , vol.1, nhà xuất bản Trường Kỳ, 336 p, Montreal, Canada.

Trường Kỳ : 1999 : Tuyển tập nghệ sĩ , vol.3, nhà xuất bản Trường Kỳ, 268p, Montreal, Canada .

Trường Kỳ : 2000 : Tuyển tập nghệ sĩ , vol.4, nhà xuất bản Trường Kỳ, 368p, Montreal, Canada .

Trường Kỳ : 2002 : Một thời nhạc trẻ, nhà xuất bản Trường Kỳ, 384p, Montreal, Canada.

Trường Kỳ : 2003 : Tuyển tập nghệ sĩ vol.6, nhà xuất bản Trường Kỳ, 376p, Montreal, Canada.

Tú Ngọc : 1994 : Dân ca người Việt, nhà xuất bản Âm nhạc, 300p, Hanoi.

Tú Ngọc : 1997 : Hát Xoan, dân ca lễ nghi – phong tục, nhà xuất bản Âm nhạc, Viện Âm nhạc, 216p, Hanoi.

Tú Ngọc, Nguyễn Thị Nhung, Vũ Tự Lân, Nguyễn Ngọc Oánh, Thái Phiên : 2000 : Âm nhạc mới Việt Nam : tiến trình và thành tựu, Viện âm nhạc, 1000p , Hanoi.

Võ Thanh Tùng : 2001 : Nhạc khí dân tộc Việt, nhà xuất bản Âm nhạc, 435p, Hanoi

Vũ Tự Lân : 1997 : Những ảnh hưởng của âm nhạc Châu Âu trong ca khúc Việt Nam giai đoạn 1930-1950, nhà xuất bản Thế giới, 252p, Hanoi.

Vương Hồng Sển : 1968 : Hồi ký 50 năm mê hát , nhà xuất bản Phạm Quang Khai, tủ sách Nam Chi, 254p, Saigon.


1988 : Vietnam : Rêves et Réalité, performed by Trần Quang Hải & Bạch Yến, CD.

            PLAYASOUND PS 65020 , recordings (1979 & 1987), bilingual notes (French-English) (12p) by Trần Quang Hải, Paris.

1989 : Hát Chèo / Théâtre populaire vietnamien, CD

            AUVIDIS D 8022, recordings and bilingual notes (French – English) by Trần Văn Khê, Unesco Collection, Paris.

1991 : Music from Vietnam, CD

            CAPRICE CAP 21406, English notes (16p) , Stockholm, Sweden.

1993 : Stilling Time / Người ngồi ra thời gian, CD

            INNOVA 112, recordings and English notes (12p) by Philip Blackburn, Minneapolis.

1993 : Vietnam : chants des minorités des Hauts Plateaux du Nord Vietnam, CD

            PEOPLES , recordings and trilingual notes (French – English-German) (16p) by Patrick Kersalé, Paris.

1993 : Cithare vietnamienne / Tran Quang Hai , performed by Trần Quang Hải, CD.

            PLAYASOUND PS 65103, recordings (1993), bilingual notes (French-English) (24p) by Trần Quang Hải, Paris .

1993 : Vietnam : Tradition du Sud, performed by Nguyễn Vĩnh Bảo and Trần Văn Khê, CD.

            OCORA C 560043, recordings (1972), bilingual notes (French-English) (32p) by Trần Văn Khê, Paris .

1994 : Vietnam : Le Dàn Tranh : Musiques d’hier et d’aujourd’hui,  performed by Hải Phưọng and

           Trần Văn Khê, CD

OCORA C 560055, recordings (1994), bilingual notes (French – English) by Trần Văn Khê, Paris.

1994 : Vietnam / Poésies et chants, performed by Trần Văn Khê and Trần Thị Thủy Ngọc, CD

            OCORA C 560054, recordings (1993) and trilingual notes (French-English-German) (36p) by Trần Văn Khê, Paris

1994 : Music from Vietnam 2 : Huê, CD.

            CAPRICE CAP 21463, recordings, English notes (16p), Stockholm, Sweden .

1995 : Vietnam du Nord : chants de possession, CD.

            Buda Records 92657-2, recordings and bilingual notes (French-English) (24p) by Patrick Kersalé, Paris.

1995 : Vietnam : Ca Tru tradition du Nord, CD.

            Maison des Cultures du Monde MCM W-260070, recordings (1995), bilingual notes (French-English) (24p), Paris.

1995 : Vietnam : Musique de Huê, CD

            Maison des Cultures du Monde MCM W-26073, recordings (1995), bilingual notes (French-English) (24p) by Trẩn Văn Khê, Paris.

1996 : L’art de la vièle vietnamienne, CD

            ARION ARN 60417, recordings and bilingual notes (French-English) (12p) by Patrick Kersalé, Paris.

1996 : Fêtes traditionnelles vietnamiennes, performed by Trần Quang Hải & Bạch Yến, CD

            Studio SM D-2504, quadrilingual notes (French-English-German-Spanish) by Trần Quang Hải, Paris.

1996 : Vietnam : Music of the Trường Sơn Mountains, CD

            White Cliffs Media WCM 9990, recordings and English notes (12p) by Nguyễn Thuyết Phong and Terry Miller, USA.

1996 : Tran Quang Hai / Landscape of the Highlands, performed by Tran Quang Hai , CD.

            Latitudes LAT 50612, North Carolina, USA.

1997 : Vietnam : Musiques des Montagnards, set of 2 CD.

            Le Chant du Monde CNR 2741085/86, recordings (1958-1994), bilingual notes (French-English) (124p) by many authors, Paris.

1997 : Tran Quang Hai / Guimbardes du Monde, performed by Tran Quang Hai, CD.

            PLAYASOUND PS 66009, recordings (1997), bilingual notes (French- English) (12p) by Trân Quang Hai, Paris .

1998 : Vietnam : Musique des Edê, CD

            Buda Records 92726-2, recordings and bilingual notes (French-English) by Patrick Kersalé, Paris .

2001 : Dân Ca Miền Núi và Cao Nguyên (Folksongs of Mountainous Regions and Highlands), CD

            Viện Âm Nhạc, Hanoi, Vietnam

2002 : Âm Nhạc dân gian dân tộc Mông (Music of the Mông tribe), CD

            Viện Âm Nhạc, Hanoi, Vietnam

2004 : Musique du Vietnam, CD.

            PROPHET 38, Philips 981 431-1, recordings (2003), bilingual notes (French –English) (20p) by Charles Duvelle, Paris .

2005 : Ca Tru Vietnam / Vietnamese Ca Tru Singing, CD

               Viện Âm Nhạc (Vietnamese Institute for Musicology), Hanoi, Vietnam

2006 : Vietnam : Musiques vocales des plaines du Nord : Ca Trù – Hát Chèo – Quan Họ , CD

            VDE CD-1267, recordings (2005) and bilingual notes (English – French) (40p) by Yves Defrance, Geneva


2001 : Canh Hát Quan Họ VCD 2 (A session of Quan Họ Singing) , VCD

            Viện Âm Nhạc, Hanoi, Vietnam

2001 : Canh Hát Quan Họ VCD 1 (A session of Quan Họ Singing), VCD

            Viện Âm Nhạc, Hanoi, Vietnam

2005 : Âm Nhạc và Múa Cung Đình Huế (Music and Dance of Huế Court) , DVD

            Viện Âm Nhạc, Hanoi, Vietnam