There are many musical instruments in Vietnam, and some resemble ones also played in neighbouring countries. One such instrument which you may see and hear during your holiday in Vietnam is the Dan Ty Ba, or shortened to Ty Ba. It is similar to the Chinese Pipa, a four-stringed instrument made of wood. Western tourists will recognise it as a form of lute.
This pear-shaped instrument used to have twisted silk strings but these days they are made of nylon. Musicians hold it almost vertical and use a small plectrum just as you would if you were playing a guitar. The face of the Ty Ba will usually be soft wood but the bowl will always be hard wood. The neck is fairly short and there are four pegs for tuning the instrument.
It was a popular instrument in the Royal Court and indeed if your Vietnam travel package takes you through Hue there is a fair chance you will encounter it. Hue was the Imperial Capital of the Nguyen Dynasty through the 19th and the first half of the 20th Century. It was a dynasty of limited power because for most of that period the French oversaw Indochina. Hue is in Central Vietnam, fairly close to the city of Danang which has excellent transport connections, air and overland with Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
The Dan Ty Ba is regular part of the ensemble that accompanies Ca Tru singing. This type of singing has now been recognised by UNESCO for its cultural importance and as a result its future should be secure, especially as tourist numbers continue to rise. If you are especially interested in music, you can talk to a Vietnam travel agency that will arrange for you to enjoy an evening of music where the Dan Ty Ba is likely to be played.