Like most other Vietnam’s musical instruments, the Monochord does not has the exact name of its inventor. Tran Van Khe Professor said that according to legend, there was an old man named Truong Vien who had to take part in army to against enemies. Before leaving, he told his wife that if chaos happened everywhere, she should take the mother to their hometown. Then war happened and became fiercer and fiercer. There fore, Truong Vien’s wife and his mother had returned the country. On the way, they encountered a lot of difficulties, Truong Vien’s wife was hungryto make dinner for mother.
In a morning, when they passed a village, the village’s people suddenly rushed out to welcome them and even offer a delicious meal. They did not understand what was happening.
Waiting for the two people finished their meal, the oldest person in the village said that each year the village people must worship Godess’s eyes. They do not want the village’s people eyes hook, so they had a rule that any woman came this village at this time, she will be offered a meal, and submit her eyes.will be
Knowing the fact, Truong Vien’s wife bursted into tears and kneeled for donating her own eyesinstead of the mother’s. The villagers are willing to hook her eyes.
What she did really touched angle’s heart, the angle came out and gave her a guitar named Monochord and advised that ” The Monochord will help you and your mother, then your family will have chance to be reunited.” She received the Monochord and thanked the angle’s help. From then, they played folk music to earn money.
At last the war ended, Truong Vien came back home but he did not see his wife and mother. Asking people around but nobody knew. Guessing that they came back home town, he hurried to find them. On the way, he passed the village where his wife and mother had been. The people there told him about the story but they did not where they were then.
He was then felt a deep sorrow. Suddenly one day, when passing a small market, Truong Vien heard a very strange music, and saw a crowded people. He felt curious and came to see. he felt so lucky as he saw his wife and mother. They were very happy and hugged each other. Particularly, his wife, after many miserable things, she cried a lot and blood flowed from her eye. Strangely, then her eyes can see again.
The Monochord has a sound box made of bamboo or hard wood. One end of the string is tied to a wooden roller inside the sound box. The other end is fixed to a flexible bamboo rod. Charming sounds are created while striking only one single string.
Another feature of the monochord is that all the sounds it produces are harmonic. Thus, the Dan Bau’s timbres are particularly pure and gentle. The sound is similar to the human voice. It may be played either solo or together with traditional or modern instruments.