Dan Tam

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

Description: The đàn tam [in Vietnamese: Tam meaning three; or in Ha Nhi: Ta in] is a three-stringed fretless lute. The Viet call it the Dam Tam, where as the Ha Nhi people call it the Ta in. It is used in tuồng theatre.

Playing Techniques: The player uses a plastic plectrum, which he uses for plucking downward or upward in quick intervals. The tones of the dam tam are bright and cheerful, they cary a great distance, as soon as the string is plucked. Let hand techniques include tremolos, trills, picking, stopping and especially sliding. The left hand techniques are played in combination with the right hand. Full tones, three quarter tones and quarter tones.

Construction: The Dan Tam has a body is traditionally partially covered by a python skin stretched over. The shape of the body of the Dan Tam is oval reminiscent of the Sanshin or Shamisen. It is directly related to the Sanxian. A moveable bridge is affixed underneath the three strings. The neck is fretless and it is made of hard wood.  only three wooden pegs for tuning. The three strings are traditionally made of twisted silk, but are now more commonly made of nylon.

Citations: Bibliography: Leiter, Samuel L. 2007 – Encyclopedia of Asian Theatre: Vol. 1, A-N, p. 448. ISBN 9780313335297 ; Vietnam-Culture.com / Dam Tim Article ; Met Museum / Dam Tam Article ;

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