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.
|© R. Raine-Reusch, May 2002|