Dan Bau

Dan Bau Dan Bau is a one-string zither native to Vietnam. It is constructed of a long narrow sound box, with a tall curved stem made from water buffalo horn inserted at one end. The single string runs between the sound box and a small wooden gourd attached to the stem. The stem is bent to change the pitch of the string. The player touches the string lightly with the heel of the hand at harmonic producing nodal points while plucking with the fingers or plectrum.

This produces the dan bau’s characteristic high clear sound. As the sound box of the dan bau is very narrow, it is not a loud instrument, and was traditionally used in more intimate environments. In recent years an electronic version has been introduced to be played in ensemble and large concerts. The bass bau was adapted from the dan bau to provide a musical range equivalent to that of a bass guitar. It is simply an electric dan bau with a very thick string on it.

the danbau was constructed from dried fruit (perhaps a gourd). Very long and narrow fruit (perhaps squash), once dried, could be used for the danbau’s body. The resonator is the ‘bau’. Danbau is the name of the fruit. The danbau is sometimes called ‘a harmonic monochord’.