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The lute Dan Nguyet

This two-stringed long neck lute is namend after its moonshaped resonating box and belongs to the classical accompanying  instruments in Vietnam, mostly used for singing traditions like the ca Hue and hat Van.

The Nguyet is remarkable for its wide, outstanding frets which remind us of equal sized frets of the Japanese Biwa lute. 

These frets allow the player a wide range for ornamenting and manipulating the plucked notes. One should also keep in mind that some Vietnamese scales require a change of the pitch, mostly in a range of a quarter tone, so Western users might wonder about the "wrong" placement of the frets...

The Nguyet is tuned in a perfect fifth or fourth, depending on which piece gets performed and which mode/scale is required.

The player plucks the chords with his fingernails or a plectrum, and sometimes the lower chord functions as a drone. 

Improvisations are common, this instrument also often gets used for students of the traditional music, as it preserves a good example of the possible Vietnamese scales.                  

Several composers started writing new solo pieces for the Nguyet, taking it for the new "classical guitar" of Vietnam.

 * Sample (MP3, 2.9 MB) *

Pictures (click to expand):


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