Dao Xa folk music instrument making village (21:02 24/06/2018)

HNP - Dao Xa is about 50 kilometers from city center, and located in Dong Lo commune, Ung Hoa district of Ha Noi. The village is famous for producing handmade traditional music instruments, including the unique “đàn bầu” (single-stringed instrument), “đàn nguyệt” (full-moon-shaped guitar with two strings) and “đàn nhị” (upright two-string fiddle).

Traditional music instrument in Dao Xa village (source: myhanoi.com.vn)

Dao Xa is primarily a farming village in the in the Red River Delta. It is said that the craft of making instruments is was founded  about 200 years ago by Dao Xuan Lai, a local carpenter. In the middle of the 19th century, artisans moved to the Thang Long Citadel, called Ha Noi today, and established a craft guild. When his business prospered, he returned to the home town and passed down the craft to others. Since then, the craft has been developed and preserved through the generations.

The work requires a lot of patience, skills and energy. According to local craftsmen, the most difficult task is adjusting the instrument’s pitch and sound quality. You might be surprised to know that although Dao Xa has supplied a large proportion of Viet Nam’s musical instruments, none of the local instrument makers are professionally trained in music. The craft know-how is given by word of mouth and monitored on the spot. Craftsmen must know how to handle the wood, from selecting and drying the wood, shaping the body, attaching the neck, polishing, smoothing, fitting the strings, and completing the final decoration. All the work is done manually using traditional techniques.


A craftsman is making folk music instrument (source: vov.vn)

By Mai Phuong

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