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Vietnam Main Page

 

Performing Arts in Vietnam

 


It wasn't considered prestigious to be a performer in Vietnam, in spite of this musicians and performers were very popular.  Vietnam has a single stringed zither called the dan bau that is exclusive to the country.  The zither has a flat bamboo body and an upright neck, with the string going from on end to the other.  Vietnamese songs are classified into three separate groups: those with lyrics from dramas, minority songs, and songs from every day life (hat).  The last group, hat, is by far the largest group of songs and include lo hat (improvisational singing), military, choral and marching songs.  Also included are those songs which are sung to children, lovers, at festivals, etc.  

Vietnamese folk opera, cheo, had been banned at one time due to the fact that during the performances authorities were criticized.  The opera uses pantomime with folks songs, dances, music as well as acrobatics and magic.  Court opera, which had been brought to Vietnam from China, was banned as well in the 15th century for the same reasons as cheo.  It was finally brought out from the underground, where it had managed to survive until the Nguyen court.  

Water puppet plays are a popular entertainment in Vietnam once again, after a period of "drought."  Originally from India, the puppet plays can have as many as 30 scenes during one play that range from historical stories from classical operas as well as wars and fights of national heroes.  


 


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