Dan Day (songstress lute)
Day is a special instrument of Vietnamese origin, This three-stringed
lute is used incorporate the peculiarities of the two-stringed lute
(dan Nguyet), the four-stringed pear-shaped lute (dan Ty Ba), and
the three-stringed lute (dan Tam).
In the past, the dan day was an accompanying instrument used only for one genre of songs, that which later divided in two variants known today as hat cua dinh and hat a dao.
Typically, the dan Day is not in-expensive in the family of Vietnamese musical instruments because of the difficulty in making it and time involved. Few shops will have one ready-made, and these are almost always considered "custom made", Typically with a big base side of 24cm width
and a small base side of 20cm width with varying lenghs of between 125 cm and 160cm
We were so impressed with the dan Day that we decided to incorporate a series of Vietnam Postal stamps see bottom page (one featuring the dan Day on the back of the SaigonStrings.com business cards.
The dan day, exclusively played by men, most probably came into being in the 15th century when musical genres were forming. Mostly the Dan Day is used in the northern parts of Vietnam. Its sound box is a trapezoid shape but without a back surface. This bass instrument has high frets and a very long neck. The frets are fixed on the lower part of a very long neck. Its 3 plastic strings produces a low sounds and the Dan Day is only used to accompany the songs performed by female singers.
Apart from accompanying hat cua dinh and hat a dao songs, the dan day is now used to accompany poems as well. Thanks to the unusual technique called ngon chun (slacking the string with the fingers), players may lower the tones and produce refined and modest sounds, it is sometimes compared to a secluded philosopher.