T’rung - The traditional folk-musical instrument
As one of the most popular folk-music instrument of ethnic minority groups in Vietnam, T’rung is considered the symbol of Vietnam’s ethnic minority life
T'rung is one of the popular musical instruments closely associated with the spiritual life of the Bahnar, TSedan, Giarai, Ede and other ethnic minority groups in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. It is made of short bamboo tubes differing in size, with a notch at one end and a beveled edge at the other. The long big tubes give off low-pitched tones while the short small ones produce high-pitched tones. The tubes are arranged lengthwise horizontally and attached together by two strings.
The creation of this special folk-musical instrument is an hymn of labour and spirit of the Vietnamese ethnic groups for living and developing. When human were living in wild ages, they had both to work for living and to struggle with nature for existence. At that time, they did not have lot of entertaining activities after hard working days. Stone drum appeared much later when primitive society developed with divine worship custom. Therefore, it was a great joy when the first T'rung was formed.
Among folk-musical instruments made by bamboo in Vietnam , T’rung is appreciated as a favourite and original one. It is a communally symbol and typically Vietnamese. The sound is lively beautiful. T’rung is always served for the merry gauds, especially in the Highland tribes While flute and pan-pipe are usually used for expressing love feelings. That is why the Vietnamese ethnic groups called it happy music as it brings all the joyful sounds.
Basically, a traditional folk-musical T’rung is made by the sharpened bamboo tubes. They are linked on one shelf in order from low to high sound, offering a beautiful sound wave. When creating it, they were aware of different sounds between the small tubes and the big ones. When placing them in the order, they attained great sounds. Each tube speaks "t’rung" when being knocked on. As a result, this folk-musical instrument is called T’RUNG. On the shelf, it would be hanged over different sound systems according to each user’s need.
In the majestic Central Highlands, T'rung is often played after back-breaking farm work and during evening get-togethers in the communal house around a bonfire with young boys and girls singing and dancing merrily. The sounds of the gong and T'rung also mingle together at wedding parties and village festivals.
As time goes by, T'rung instrument has been greatly improved. More tubes have been added, and at times as many as 48 tubes are arranged in three arrays capable of performing intricate piece of modern music while preserving the traditional sound scale. Some players have invented a stick notched at both ends for a single hand to produce two sounds at the same time, heightening the artistry of the instrument.
Vietnam's national music bands have never neglected the role of T'rung, an instrument which is original and made of simple materials, but highly appreciated at performances in the famous musical halls of many foreign countries.