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【Instrument】The mystical yet simple Đàn bầu(Part 1)

April 28, 2019


The Dan Bau is a very unique and simple instrument. It is said that the strings of the early instrument were made of silk. The production of today's Dan Bau is dominated by steel strings. Here we want to tell some folk stories about the origin of the instrument.


Living Mythologies member Tran Nguyen


There is a beautiful legend about it's origin from the south of China. In the legend, it is considered to have been a specialty instrument of the Nanhai Dragon Palace. The long narrative poem "Qin Xian" said: Sharks are not resentful to the Nanhai Dragon King and his Seven Princesses, and they have stolen the Dragon Palace's flute taking it to the Jing area to make waves, making a "human mess". The seven princesses were ordered by the Dragon King, carrying a single string Xianqin to the world. Legend has it that the strings of the single-stringed Xianqin were picked from the hair of the seven princesses.


The Tremelo of the Dan Bau


An Ancient Depiction of the Dan Bau

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