Phu Tho (VNA) – A musician in the northern provinceof Phu Tho is running a permanent exhibition of his own music instrumentscollection at his home. His house has become a tourism destination for visitorsto Thanh Thuy district.
With more than 200 folk instruments on display, Nhac Duong BaPho (Ba Pho’s Music House) hosts performances and lessons for anyone who wantsto understand the history of the instruments and the way to use them.
The 30sq.m. room houses popular instruments such as bronzedrums, dan bau (monochord), dan nguyet (double-stringedlute) and dan t’rung (bamboo xylophone), as well as dannhi (two-chord fiddle) and dan tranh (16-string zither),as well as rarer instruments such as dan luu of fromnorthern plains, dan co ke and sao Mong ofthe northwestern region, stone instruments of the Mo Nong group and stoneinstruments of the E De group.
Pho talks passionately about the instruments and spends hoursshowing visitors how to play the instruments, free of charge.
“Each instrument has its own special sound,” he said. “I havetried to learn to play all the instruments that I show to visitors,” he added.
Pho and his wife live on the meagre salary he earns by teachingmusic. “The exhibition satisfies people’s eyes, we have to play the instrumentsto satisfy visitors’ ears and to enjoy the soul of these instruments at thesame time.”
He shows a bamboo xylophone he made during seven years,inspired by those used by ethnic groups in the Central Highlands.
“The T’rung instrument used to be popular only in the CentralHighlands area,” he explained. “The original instrument did not have a stand.The player put one of its ends on one foot while playing. The other end washung on a tree. In the early 1960s, the instrument was introduced in the north.I researched it and made one for myself with more musical tones.”
He can also play pikhuu, a kind of bamboo flute ofthe Khang ethnic group, with his nose. “All music instruments of ethnic groupscontain the groups’ desire for life and love,” he said. “The player should beable to express that feeling and reflect the culture of that group.”
Nguyen Huy Lam, a visitor from the northern province of Ninh Binh,expressed his amazement when stepping inside the hall.
“I have never seen so many folk instruments. The house is notonly free of charge, but is also so enticing,” he said. “Mr Pho told us thehistory of the instruments and can perform western and Vietnamese pieces ofmusic on them. I feel a great passion for music in the artist.”
Doan Thi Chieu, a resident of the area, said she feels relaxedwhen watching the performance by the artist. “I think we should maintain theprivate museum,” she said, “It’s not only a draw for this locality, it’s also away to preserve traditional culture, especially in these times of integrationand globalisation.”
Nguyen Van Van, Vice Chairman of Thanh Thuy District’s People’sCommittee, said “the house brings unique cultural value to our locality.”
Pho researched Vietnamese music and began collecting folkinstruments in 1959. “I set up this museum to preserve and develop music andhand it down to the next generations,” Pho said. “I hope my house will receivemore foreign guests so that more foreigners will learn about Vietnam’sdiversified folk music.”-VNA
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