Dây Đàn Vọng Cổ Phím Lõm

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After the Vietnam War, refugees from Southeast Asia began making their way khổng lồ the U.S. These new citizens brought their cultures, of course, which cross-pollinated with American influences but retained distinctive aspects of their pasts, including music and instrumentation. Guitarist Elliott Sharp became fascinated by the Vietnamese guitar-driven music called vong co, which has elements of psychedelia and không lấy phí jazz buried in the mix. After compiling a collection of vong co recordings, released as Eternal Voices (1993), he has continued to lớn immerse himself in the music.

Bạn đang đọc: Dây đàn vọng cổ phím lõm

Apocalypse Now! For many Americans, the Francis Ford Coppola film is the definitive version of that chunk of history defined as the Vietnam War (or as it’s known in Ho bỏ ra Minh City & environ, the American War). The film’s rock soundtrack forged an indelible connection between the daily travails of the American occupying soldiers and their sonic soul food. In 1965, the presence of American “advisers” in Vietnam and the definition of their role there began to make front-page news in the US., mostly as a propaganda effort to convince the home front that the boys were over there to lớn stop the inevitable march of Communism from Southeast Asia, through the Philippines, và into everyone’s suburban backyard. In other words, the Domino Theory.

What really hit my ears were a couple of tracks that included guitars played in a way that I’d never heard before.

I was 14 in 1965, and in our social studies classes, we absorbed the prevailing doctrine & were expected lớn regurgitate it correctly in order khổng lồ get A’s. In private, we knew it was a load of horseshit. Our deprogramming was music: we were listening to Dylan, The Yardbirds, The Stones, The Who, and when we could sneak the records past parental censors, The Fugs, an uncompromising & frequently obscene group of peace-creep poetic outcast hippie-punks led by Ed Sanders và Tuli Kupferberg.

“Kill for Peace”-The Fugs


The year 1965 also saw the release of the Smithsonian Folkways recording Music of Vietnam, a collection of folk & traditional forms of music from various regions of the country. The album found its way into our local library and, to my unlearned ears, it was thrilling in its lo-fi exoticism and panoramic sweep, ranging from tribal sounds played on xylophones and zithers lớn sophisticated songs colored by dramatic glisses & bends woven into delicate webs of interplay.
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Dan Le -acoustic guitar showing the heavily scalloped fingerboard.


Cut lớn 1988, when a cassette appeared in my mail from Ohio-based musicologist Terry Miller. Miller had recorded a variety of selections performed by Vietnamese exiles living in his area and was wondering if I might release the material on my zOaR label. It was a compelling compilation overall but what really hit my ears were a couple of tracks that included guitars played in a way that I’d never heard before. Clean-toned và displaying a variety of vibratos and bending techniques, it was difficult lớn ascertain whether they were acoustic or electric. I was astounded at how reminiscent the guitars were of the dan tranh—a Vietnamese plucked zither closely related to the Chinese gu qin or Korean kayagum.

I was told that these ballads were vong co, translating lớn “nostalgia for the past” or “longing for the old traditions.”

In later research, I found that guitars began to lớn be adapted for use in Vietnam in the 1930s with the wood of the fingerboard heavily scalloped, leaving high frets very much lượt thích those of a sitar. These adapted guitars are known as ghita phím lõm. At that time I had been in discussion with SST Records about zOaR operating under their umbrella & this collection would be one of the first releases. However, with great turmoil overwhelming the relations between SST và its artists và dooming our cooperative venture, Eternal Voices: Traditional Vietnamese Music in The United States was not released until 1993, & then by New Alliance.

Xem thêm: Sữa Cho Trẻ Sinh Non Nhẹ Cân Được Mẹ Tin Tưởng Nhất

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I was often on tour in Europe during the ‘90s & a day off in Paris would give me the opportunity khổng lồ play flaneur. The 13th và 18th Arrondissements were favorite places to lớn wander, & I would haunt the Vietnamese and Arab shops in tìm kiếm of cassettes, whether folk, pop, or Algerian rai. Most of the Vietnamese music was comprised of sentimental ballads with traditional accompaniment. I was told that these ballads were vong co, translating lớn “nostalgia for the past” or “longing for the old traditions.” There were often electric guitars or lap steels bathed in reverb blending in with dan bao, the iconic Vietnamese monochord with a sound like a theremin; dan tranh; the lute dan kim; and a bright và staccato wooden block, the song loan, used to lớn count cadences & denote phrases. The bent strings and glissandi gave the music an intensely emotional cast, the deep beauty of sadness. The songs featured introductions và breaks rich with melodic improvisation, often quite virtuosic.

Vietnamese street musicians:


In her exhaustive study of vong co, The Syncretic Art và History Of Vietnamese Vọng Cổ Music, Clair Hoang Khuong Nguyen speaks of the importance of the title of the piece in setting the mood and emotional ambience, a trait inherited from Confucian and traditional music from China. This overriding “sentiment” shapes the improvisatory choices of the musicians as they perform introductions as well as interludes between verses, all designed lớn enhance the feeling of the piece. More than just the sequences of notes, the listeners lớn this music prize the emotional underpinnings as manifested in the improvisations. The music starts from a somewhat limited set of pitches yet they are greatly expanded by the way notes are approached, bent, vibrated, slid, & attacked for an emotional range seemingly without limit. A close cousin could be heard in the extended improvisations of không tính tiền jazz và psychedelic rock.

TUYẾT HOA


During certain periods of my life, insomnia has been my friend with the hours between three and four in the morning especially ripe for discovery and revelation. Whether it be seeds of compositional strategies or approaching the completion of a project long in the works, that period before dawn is often where the action is. Sometime in 2011, during an insomniac couch session, I began finding YouTube videos of solo performances of vong co played on electric ghita phím lõm, reminiscent of Delta blues but also revealing DNA strands of Indian and Chinese music và psychedelic guitar: evidence of past foreign incursions. (Other evidence of this process may be found in the presence in almost every Vietnamese town of a bakery turning out perfect baguettes in the French style.) The improvisations were based on traditional folk melodies but creative extrapolation was khổng lồ be expected in the manifestation. The basic songs might be heavily ornamented with myriad ways of attacking a cảnh báo and the improvisations may use pentatonic scales & diatonic modes but never in predictable patterns. The electric guitars were sometimes clear toned but often distorted & appeared khổng lồ be the mutated offspring of Fender Stratocasters or Teisco Spectrums.

Hữu Hạnh


My theory is that during the war years, the widespread presence of American military listening lớn rock on the radio & even playing guitars themselves was the catalyst for this opening up of orchestration khổng lồ electricity in the traditional music. The electronic processing of the guitars is not a gimmick but operates in the service of the vocality of the lines, a textural and nearly vocal counterpoint. I was so taken with vong co guitar that I began looking to acquire a ghita phím lõm. Another late session online led me lớn one such instrument. And, within a few days, I was plugging it in at Studio zOaR. This particular Strat derivative had Adam written on the headstock và with built-in fuzz & a harsh và choppy envelope filter, it could produce a wide range of unusual sounds. To lớn know the notes và their position on the fingerboard is one thing but to be able lớn truly play vong co guitar is another.
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Of the many vong co guitarists heard và seen on YouTube, my favorite is the prolific Hoàng Phúc, a master of traditional music.

Hoàng Phúc-“Giang sơn Điểu Ngữ qua Vọng Cổ 5.6 dây Ngân Giang kép”:


Considered a leading pedagogue of traditional music in Vietnam, he is also an effortless virtuoso who peals off astounding runs of fractal complexity and deeply affective nguồn all the while keeping his extreme cool. His reading of the original songs have a burning intensity or a sweet lilt khổng lồ them, feelings sustained in the improvisations. Solos that would cause most Western guitarists lớn display terminal “guitar face” are played with a completely stoic demeanor though with a piercing glare that lets you know how serious this music is.

Hoàng Phúc-“1,2,3,4,5,6 dây kép”:


The guitars in his collection all display high “fetish” quality including a wicked-looking double neck. It’s my dream lớn soon visit Vietnam and take some lessons with him in vong co!

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