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  • Gong
  • Gongs were found in Vietnam in the Bronze Age (Đông Sơn culture from 2000 to 3500 years ago). Gongs were cast in bronze, an alloy of copper, zinc and lead. Gongs are used as a musical instrument by most ethnic groups in Vietnam. Gongs are frequently mentioned in Highland songs, and its music displays its contemplative nature. Highlanders believe that when gong music is played, there is an encounter between the human and spirit worlds, between the worlds of the living and the dead. In real life, the gong is closely associated with each stage of a lifespan. In the ceremony of blowing the ear for a newborn child, the sound of a gong serves to declare the offical acceptance of a new community member. When he or she is old enough to get married, in the ceremony of exchanging necklace, the gong sound is a reminder to the new couple to observe family and community traditions. The sound is so deep that it seems to ring only once in one's life. When beasts are destroying crops or a war rages, the gong seems to urge young people to dash to the battlefield and struggle for the survival of the community. If the gong sounds hilarious and fast, it heralds a victory or the ceremony of killing buffalo. When the gong sounds slow, sinister and heavy, then it is the news of a death. The gong is warm in a night of rest or around a fire with a pot of wine, an indication of a good harvest when young people gather to sing and dance and tell of their love
  • When the gong sounds from the communal house, it can be heard all over the mountain and forest as a call for the young men to return to the communal house. When an old man passes away, the gong echoes its farewell. Virtually, all Western Highland and Long Range tribes have their own gongs. There are various types: Cồng (with a nipple) and Chiêng (without one) and there are also different sizes depending on the tribe, each region with its own regulations. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the gong is one of the main instruments in the orchestras of the Western Highland (Tây Nguyên) and Long Range (Trường Sơn) tribes, used in festivals such as the welcoming of a victory, killing buffalo, forgetting a tomb, and welcoming a good harvest. There are three pieces: Juar, Trum and Vang. Juar has an accelerating tempo revealing the majestic heroism of the victory; Trum (accompanied by a shield dance) expresses the hard but brave fight of the soldiers; and Vang, with a slow tempo, tells of sorrow, grief and regret felt for fallen soldiers. Gongs are named differently according to their size, register, timbre and function: Mother Gong, Father Gong, Older Sister Gong, Younger Sister Gong, or high pitch, medium pitch and low pitch. Hands or sticks are used to beat the gong. Sticks can be wrapped with cloth and/or rubber and a gong can be held by hand, put on the thigh or hung on a frame when played. Researchers all agree that of all the gongs of the ethnic groups, the Ba Na gong is the most majestic, imposing, romantic and echoing; the Gia Rai gong is the most solid, echoing and accelerated. The gong is an instrument of a philosophical and contemplative character. Closely associated with other art forms like singing and dancing, they can also be witty, cheerful and romantic. They are not only the property of the ethnic groups of the Western Highlands and the Long Range, but also bear unique and cherished value for Vietnamese culture as a whole. ()
Related search result for "chiêng"
  • Words contain "chiêng" in its definition in English - Vietnamese dictionary: 
    clanging gong
Comments and discussion on the word "chiêng"