Name: Dan Bau.

Type: Monochord > Zither > Chordophone.

Region: Vietnam > South China > South East Asia.

Dimensions: Scale Length 78.4 cm.

Acquisition Date:

Acquisition Source: Vietnam > Randy Raine-Reusch.

Description: The dan-bau is a monochord unique to Vietnam and in Southern China a close relative of the dan-bau called the "Duxianqin". The name Duxianqin, translates from Chinese to English as "single stringed zither". This instrument is encountered among the Jing people in China.

A Vietnamese legend speaks of a fairy who devised the instrument for a blind woman so the sound resembled a human voice. The dan bau was favored by blind musicians who performed epic narration. Introduced into the Nguyen Court (1802-1945) at the end of the 19th century. The dan bau became an important element in chamber music. After WW2 the dan bau became a vehichle for virtuocity.

Playing Techniques: During performance a musician holds a small 15 cm bamboo stick in the left hand facilitating harmonics, and a wide range of expression. While the right hand manipulates a "tremolo bar" of sorts. Tuning the dan bau nowadays involves the attachment of a machine-gear tuner from a electric bass guitar. The Dan-bau is usually tuned to C but maybe tuned to other pitches depending on piece being played.

Construction: The dan-bau is assembled in a slender, tapered trapezium shape. Recently smaller sized dan-bau's are more common place due to portability and ease of storage. The electric dan-bau's have a door hinge installed allowing the instrument to be folded when in transport. Many of the "portable dan-bau" often have a single coil electric pickup installed.

Citations: Randy Raine Reusch, Dan-bau @ > Bibliography: New Grove Dictionary of Music Vol. 1 A to F by Stanley Sadie Page 540 article contributed by Trȧn Quang Hai.