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Dan Bau

The dan bau is a one-string zither from Vietnam, although there are versions played in Guangxi province in southern China. The dan bau is played almost exclusively in harmonics, which suggests a relationship to the Thai pin pia and Kampuchean khse diev. The singles string runs from one end of the narrow rectangular sound box to attach to a thin stem of water buffalo horn, at the other end of the instrument. While resting the heel of the right hand on a harmonic point on the string the player plucks it with a thin stick held in the same hand. The left hand manipulates the buffalo horn stem to change pitch and the achieve a wide range or ornamentations.

Acoustic dan bau are extremely quiet and increasingly hard to find, being replaced by the electric dan bau.

Country: Vietnam
Region: Asia
Type: zither

Dan Bau stem
Dan Bau body
©  R. Raine-Reusch, May 2002