In common with many other musical instruments in Vietnam, the origin of the Gong Zither is among the small ethnic tribes. The Bana, Xe Dang and Gia Rai are all tribes from the North of the Central Highlands. It is a romantic instrument and is regularly played within the communal long house that is the centre of life in many villages. Certainly, no festival celebration would be complete without the zither and if you are lucky enough to be travelling in Vietnam during one of the major festivals you are certain to hear it. Even better if during that time your Vietnam tour package has you in a village in rural Vietnam.
The zither’s body is a hollow bamboo pipe with a dried gourd attached to one end as the sound box. At the other end, there are the bamboo bolts from which the strings hang; anything from 10 to 18.
The Gong Zither is played by men who snap their fingers on the strings to create the sound; vibrations that resonate. It can create a variety of sounds and as a result is an ideal instrument for a small band.
Vietnam’s musical instruments are a subject for serious study; musicians will love their time in the Country.