Dan Tranh (Sixteen-stringed
Dan Tranh is a musical
instrument of chordophonic family, plucking branch of the Viet
ethnic group. Because Dan Tranh has 16 strings, it is also called
Dan Tranh has a long-parallelepiped shape. The
frame of the instrument has trapezium-shape, 110-120 cm in length.
The large end is 25-30 cm in width with holes and to hang the
strings. The narrow is 15-20 cm in width with 16 tuning keys on the
surface of the instrument. Its surface is made of wootung tree, 0.05
cm thick and arched.
The bridge of instrument or chevalet is put
in the middle. It is used for hanging the strings and movable to
tune the pitches. The strings are made of metal with different
sizes. When playing, artist usually wears inger-nail plectrums on
thumb, forefinger and middle finger to pluck. The finger-nail
plectrum is made of different materials, such as metal, horn or
Its timbre is bright and clear and it
expresses jubilant and pure melodies. Dan Tranh is rarely suitable
with strong and moving characteristics. The range of Dan Tranh
includes three octaves, from Do up Do3.
is used to perform as solo and ensemble, accompany reciting poem,
singing and take part in Tai Tu orchestra, Bat Am company, Nha nhac
orchestra and general traditional orchestras.
Prof.-Dr. Tran Van Khe: Dan Tranh of Vietnam derived from
Chinese zither and might be from the Tran dynasty or before that.
People used it under 9 strings, 15 strings, and 16 strings. These
strings are made of silk then copper and now steel. But through
seven or eight centuries using it, Vietnamese people created a
specific characteristic in fingering techniques, pressing and
releasing, and scale. Dan Tranh has become a musical instrument
bringing characteristic of Vietnam. Vietnamese people are very fond
of using it and it is transmitted from generation to another over
7-8 hundred years, suitable with the aesthetics of Vietnamese people
and expressing Vietnamese musical language