Art of Đờn ca tài tử music and song in southern Viet Nam
Inscribed in 2013 (8.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Country(ies): Viet Nam
- Art of Đờn ca tài tử music and song in southern Viet Nam
A musical art with both scholarly and folk roots, Đờn ca tài tử is an indispensable part of the spiritual activity and cultural heritage of the people of southern Viet Nam. The music and songs evoke the people’s life and work on the land and rivers of the Mekong Delta region. Performed at numerous events such as festivals, death anniversary rituals and celebrations, Đờn ca tài tử is thus intimately connected with other cultural practices and customs, oral traditions and handicrafts. The performers express their feelings by improvising, ornamenting and varying the ‘skeletal melody’ and main rhythmic patterns of these pieces. Đờn ca tài tử is played on a variety of different instruments, including the moon-shaped lute, two-stringed fiddle, sixteen-stringed zither, pear-shaped lute, percussion, monochord and bamboo flute. Its repertoire is based on twenty principal songs and seventy-two classical songs. The musical art is passed on through oral transmission, based on imitation, from master instrumentalists and singers to students. Musicians need to study for at least three years to learn the basic instrumental techniques and master the musical modes to express different moods and emotions. Vocal students study the traditional songs and learn to improvise subtly, using different ornamentation techniques.
Decision 8.COM 8.31
The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as follows:
- R.1: Transmitted formally and informally from generation to generation throughout 21 southern provinces, Đờn ca tài tử music and song are constantly recreated through cultural exchanges with diverse ethnic groups with whom it expresses mutual respect and harmony;
- R.2: Inscription of the element on the Representative List could promote exchange among communities, musicians and researchers and raise awareness of the importance of the intangible cultural heritage locally and internationally;
- R.3: Safeguarding measures aim at supporting transmission and teaching in communities by oral methods and in formal educational programmes; they were prepared and will be implemented with active participation of practitioners, experts and specialized institutions and with the government’s strong support;
- R.4: The nomination was elaborated with the participation of community members, local authorities, specialized institutions and experts, and community members provided their free, prior and informed consent;
- R.5: The element was inventoried since 2010 by the Vietnam Institute of Musicology, with participation and contribution of relevant communities, and was subsequently included in 2012 in the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage maintained by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
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