Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dan Tranh

Another day of nakedness in Lebanon. The photographer said his series was about "Humanity" the quest for communication and the limitations we have. I forgot my camera in Portsmouth so I don't have any pictures of the Vietnamese instruments he asked me to play. One was a major pentatonic based lap guitar type instrument called a Dan Tranh like the woman below is playing. No matter what I played it sounded Vietnamese. You pluck with the right hand and only have 5 notes to choose from but because there is a bridge in the middle your left hand can put pressure on the plucked string to bend the note to different pitches. It would take a few years to figure out. Imagine me buck naked playing this instrument in a living room in Lebanon and you'll see why I posted this picture instead.
The other instrument had a single string and a little wooden cup as a sound chamber. You pluck the note and then tweak that curved stick and it changes the pitch of the string. I studied these instruments in my ethnomusicology class. The one below is called a Dan Bau. It was hard. I tried to play I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas but couldn't find the flat notes.
The photographer has family roots in Vietnam so that's why these came into the series.

Then I got a big box of fried chicken and potato wedges and cole slaw and ate it in the park in Lebanon. It was Community Yard Sale Day in the upper valley but I didn't buy anything.

I got lost on my way to Weirs Beach but finally made it back to conquer Venture but failed to eclipse my score of a week ago. Too much driving and not enough tennis.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.