Dan Day

Name: Dan Day.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Dan >
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”. The instrument’s name literally translates as “bottom string instrument”. However, the body of this instrument has no back. 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:

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