Dan Tu

Name: Dan Tu.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.6
Country: Vietnam.
Region: South East Asia.

Description: The đàn tứ [tứ meaning “four” in Vietnamese, referring to the instrument’s number of strings], also called đàn đoản, đoản meaning “short,” referring to the instrument’s neck. It is a traditional Vietnamese stringed musical instrument, a moon-shaped lute with a short neck, similar to the Chinese yueqin. It is little used today.

A different instrument with the same name, which is similar to the Chinese zhongruan, is used in Vietnam’s tradition of nhạc dân tộc cải biên. Towards the 1960s, Vietnamese musician improved đàn tứ’s ability to play Western-style music by creating a rectangular body with longer strings designed for Western Diatonic scale. It now becomes much more popular than the traditional version.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites:

Dan Tinh

Name: Dan Tinh.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Dan.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.6
Country: Vietnam.
Region: South East Asia.

Description: The dan tính or tính tau [gourd lute], is a stringed musical instrument played by the Tay people of Lạng Sơn Province in Vietnam. Although “tinh tau” originated as a Tay word, both names are used in Vietnamese. The dan tinh is used by shamans in séances in the hope that it will be animated by spirits.

The instrument has two individual nylon strings. They are strung over a bridge, two friction tuning pegs are installed at the left and right sides of the head stock. The body is often cut from a gourd where a sound table is affixed to the top of the gourd, completing the resonator. The strings used were originally of silk although nylon fishing line is often used.

Citations: Bibliography: Trȧn Quang Hai – Stanley Sadie – New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments Vol. 1 Book A to F, page 544 ; Maurice Abadie, Walter E. J. Tips – Minorities of the Sino-Vietnamese borderland, 2001. “In reality the Tho [Tay] produce a distinct stringed musical instrument called a tinh tau in Tay and dan tinh in Vietnamese of a type also used by the Thai Khao. the Tay version having one string and the Tai Khao version two strings.” ;

Dan Sen

Name: Dan Sen.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.6
Country: Vietnam.
Region: South East Asia.

Description: The đàn sến is a Vietnamese plucked string instrument with two strings and a slender neck with raised frets. It is derived from the Chinese qinqin and is used primarily in the traditional music of southern Vietnam.

Citations: Bibliography: Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Vol. South East Asia P. 262 The đàn sến is the Vietnamese version of the Southern Chinese octagonal lute [qinqin] Websites:

Dan Nguyet

Name: Dan Nguyet.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.6
Country: Vietnam.
Region: South East Asia.

Description: The đàn nguyệt [in Vietnamese đàn nguyệt [ɗǎn ŋwiə̂ˀt] is a literal translation to “moon lute” or its alternative names including nguyệt cầm, đàn kìm. It is a two-stringed Vietnamese traditional musical instrument. It is used in both folk and classical music, and remains popular throughout Vietnam.

Etymology: The instrument’s standard Vietnamese name, đàn nguyệt, literally means “moon string instrument” đàn is the generic term for “string instrument” and nguyệt means “moon”. Its alternate name, nguyệt cầm, also means “moon string instrument” cầm meaning “string instrument” in Sino-Vietnamese, coming from the Chinese word qín 琴.

Playing Technique: The Đàn nguyệt are strung and kept to a low tension. The instrument’s raised frets, allow for the bending tones which are so important to the proper interpretation of Vietnamese traditional music. The bending tones are produced by pressing the string toward the neck rather than bending to the side.

Note: There is no fixed tuning ascribed for the Dan Nguyet. However the instrument is tuned in fourths. Usually tuned to suite the singers voice.

Dan Nguyet Tunings
Names Tunings

Citations: Bibliography: Trȧn Quang Hai Stanley Sadie – New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments Vol. 1 Book A to F, Page 542 ; The Garland handbook of Southeast Asian music – Page 262 Terry E. Miller, Sean Williams 2008 This lute is the only stringed instrument used to accompany ca trù singing. The đàn nguyệt or the đàn kìm is a moon-shaped, long-necked lute with two silk strings ;

Dan Day

Name: Dan Day.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.6
Tuning: G / C / F
Country: Vietnam.
Region: South East Asia.

Description: The dan day is a Vietnamese plucked lute with three strings, a trapezoidal wooden body, and a very long wooden neck with ten raised frets. Players formerly used silk strings, but since the late 20th century have generally used nylon. It is used primarily in Northern Vietnam, and is one of the accompanying instruments used in the genre of ca trù.

Etymology: In the Vietnamese language, đàn is a classifier used primarily to refer to string instruments, and đáy means “bottom.” Thus, the instrument’s name translates literally as “bottom string instrument.” However, the instrument’s body has no back. According to this website, the instrument was originally called vô để cầm, literally “bottomless stringed instrument”.

Usage: In the late 20th century, a modernized version of the electric bass guitar in the shape of the đàn đáy was developed for use in the neo-traditional music composed and performed at the Hanoi Conservatory. Unlike the đàn đáy, this instrument has a solid wooden body and metal strings, and without raised frets.

Citations: Bibliography: The Garland handbook of Southeast Asian music – Page 262 Terry E. Miller, Sean Williams 2008 ; Websites:


Name: Dombyra.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.5
Country: Kazakhstan, Turkestan [Xinjiang China] & Mongolia.
Region: Central Asia.

Description: The dombyra [in Kazakh: домбыра] is a long-necked Kazakh lute and a musical string instrument. The dombyra shares certain characteristics with the komuz and dutar. The Dombyra is a popular instrument among Turkic communities in Central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, in neighbouring Mongolia.

One of the greatest dombyra players was the Kazakh folk musician and composer Kurmangazy, who had a major influence on the development of Kazakh musical culture, including music for the dombyra; his musical composition “Adai” is popular in Kazakhstan and abroad.

Development: The instrument differs slightly in different regions. The Kazakh dombyra has frets that are set in a chromatic scale and tied on to the neck. Allowing the frets to be adjusted. The dombyra is played by strumming with the hand or plucking each string individually, with an occasional tap on the main surface of the instrument. While the strings are traditionally made of sinew, modern dombras are usually produced using nylon strings. In 2012 the elektro-dombyra was created.

Construction: The body of the Dombyra is slightly vaulted resonator with a flat sound board. The neck is cut as a separate piece from the body and affixed to the body nearing the end of the assembly. The frets nowadays usually of nylon line are tied onto the neck, they are adjusted to a chromatic scale. After this part of the assembly is completed A bridge is carved and placed in between the strings and the sound board. Two friction tuning pegs, are carved and installed into the instrument before the strings are attached.

Anthropomorphically the Kazakh musicians assign the names of the components of the dombyra as a human being. The Bas Buyn [in Kazakh: Бас Буйын] the region closest to the head stock. The Orta Buyn [in Kazakh: Орта Бұйын] being the middle of the neck and the Sagha [in Kazakh: Саға] being the top frets closest to the body.



Name: Karantouzeni.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.6
Country: Greece.
Region: South East Europe & Mediterranean.

Description: The karantouzeni [in Greek: καραντουζένι] is a stringed instrument of the lute family resembling the tambouras, although larger and possessing four strings. It is typically used in the “rebetiko” revival movement of Greek folk music.

The karantouzeni is a result of a synthesis of the disparate remnants of urban Byzantine culture that was in many places subsumed by the predominant Turkish culture of the Ottoman Empire. It is usually tuned in the Ntouzeni [in Greek: ντουζένι] style, much like the bouzouki, another pre-Ottoman revival instrument associated with the rebetiko movement.



Name: Domra.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel Sachs No#: 321.312.6
Country: Russian Federation.
Region: Eastern Europe.

Description: The domra [in Russian: домра domra] is a long-necked Russian folk string instrument of the lute family with a round body and three or four metal strings. In 1896, a student of Vasily Vasilievich Andreyev found a broken instrument in a stable in rural Russia. It was thought that this instrument may have been an example of a domra.

Although no illustrations or examples of the traditional domra were known to exist in Russian chronicles, the traditional domra was only known through numerous mentions in folklore. Though examples of a related Turkic instrument, the dombra, existed.

A three-stringed version of this instrument was later redesigned in 1896, patented, and introduced into the orchestra of Russian folk instruments. In recent times, scholars have come to the conclusion that the term “domra” actually described a percussive instrument popular in Russia.

The discovered instrument was either a variant of the balalaika or a mandolin. Today, it is the three-stringed domra that is used almost exclusively in Russia. It is played with a plectrum, and is often used to play the lead melody in Russian balalaika ensembles.

Tunings: Typically domras are tuned in fourths the prima domra being E A D. Later, a four stringed version was developed employing a violin tuning G D A E by Moscow instrument maker, Liubimov, in 1905.

Domra Tunings
Names Scale Length Tuning
Piccolo 40 cm B E A
Prima [First]   63 cm E A D
Alto  78 cm E A D
Tenor 85 cm B E A
Bass 120 cm E A D



Name: Tiqin.
Type: Chordophones > Fiddles > Huqins > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.7
Bayin: 絲 Silk.
Tuning: E / a.
Country: China.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The tiqin [in Mandarin Chinese: 提琴; pinyin: tíqín] is a name applied to several two-stringed Chinese bowed string musical instruments in the huqin family of instruments. They are primarily played in Kungku Opera, Cantonese Music and Fujian in Taiwan.

Tiqin in Cantonese Music: Alternatively known as a zhutiqin [竹提琴] is a member of the “hard bow” [硬弓] ensemble in Cantonese opera. Its neck is made of hardwood, often suanzhi [酸枝, rosewood] or zitan [紫檀, red sandalwood]. The zhutiqin’s sound chamber is made of a very large section of bamboo larger than that of the erxian, another bowed string instrument used in Cantonese music.

Instead of snakeskin, the face is made of a piece of tong wood [桐, Firmiana simplex] or palm wood like the face of a yehu. The back of the sound chamber is made of the natural joint in bamboo, with sound holes cut in it. The tiqin used today in Cantonese opera is tuned to 仜-士 / mi-la / E-a the opposite of the erxian, which is tuned A-e.

Tiqin Tunings
Names in Chinese Tunings
  仜-士 E a

Additionally, the term tiqin is used in Chinese as a generic term referring to Western bowed string instruments of the violin family:

Tiqin Family
Name in Chinese Family
Xiao Tiqin 小提琴 Violin
Zhong Tiqin 中提琴 Viola
Da Tiqin 大提琴 Cello
Diyin Tiqin 低音提琴 Double Bass

Citations: Bibliography: Websites: The Met / Tiqin Article ;


Name: Tandura.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.5
Country: Rajasthan, India.
Region: South Asia.

Description: The Tandura Also known as the ‘veena’ or ‘chautra’, it is used by the Meghwal, Kamad and Bhil communities in devotional group singing. The tandura can be found all over Rajasthan except in the district of Jalore.

Playing Techniques: The player wears a mezrab [pick] on the tip of the index finger, striking the strings with rhythmic stress from right to left. This technique differs from the classical method of playing tanpura in which the player uses percussive rhythmic techniques.


Welcome to the…