The Dan Tranh is a sixteen-string long zither from Vietnam, that is similar in shape and size to the older versions of the Chinese Chao Zhou zheng. The strings are made from metal of a consistant thin gauge, allowing for extremely subtle nuances to be voiced. Although it can be plucked with fingernails, the dan tranh is usually played with metal or tortoise shell picks on the thumb and first two fingers.
The dan tranh is performed as both a solo instrument, in small ensembles and as part of larger traditional music orchestras. It has a very quiet and delicate sound.
Traditionally the dan tranh that is approximately 1 metre long, with a deep convex top, but modern instruments with more strings are becoming longer and flatter, resembling the Chinese zheng.
|© R. Raine-Reusch, May 2002