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Kayageum, Dan Tranh, Koto, Guzheng
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CMarie
Plywood


Joined: 31 Jan 2009
Posts: 3
Location: America

PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 3:14 pm    Post subject: Kayageum, Dan Tranh, Koto, Guzheng Reply with quote

Simply curious, but how similar are the Kayageum, Dan Tranh, Koto, and Guzheng to one another? I know they are all Asian Long Zithers, but if you know how to play one, is it easy to pick up on the others?

I know this is a forum for Guzheng, but I'm hoping someone can answer my question.... Smile

Thanks!
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Tiffany
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Joined: 27 Jul 2005
Posts: 143
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:37 am    Post subject: Differences on the Asian zithers Reply with quote

More or less, yes and no. They are similar but yet different enough, perhaps. Take guzheng and koto first because I play them both. With guzheng as first, I find it easier to start learning koto. But sometimes, I would bring in my guzheng 'habits' which could be totally the opposite of what koto players would do. Yet, there are many techniques that do overlap. They are executed differently. The music alone is entirely different. Expression and the way they are written. Guzheng is written with numbers from left to right, then up and down. Koto is (more like the way qin used to be written, yet still revised) written from top to bottom, then right to left. That's also how Chinese and many Han (in Japanese Kanji) character-based books are written. Qin is another example where the music is written with 'special' characters to depict the technique and note. Imagine simplied and traditional Chinese characters where the traditional characters look very complicated. Qin notation looks even more complicated.

I don't know how Gayageum (kayagum) and Dan Tranh music are written. But, they also are played very differently. The nature of the picks alone dictates a way of playing the zither in order to optimize the instrument.

In my case, my koto teacher does believe that a background in guzheng takes me a step forward. As long as you pay attention to the differences, and avoid clumping them together as if they are one, it should be an advantage knowing how to play one Asian zither first before learning another.
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yukina
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Joined: 05 Feb 2015
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the music is very different among these instruments. The construction are similar, so once you know one, it's easier to adopt to the others.

As for the playing techniques, just like Tiffany said, whether you use picks or not, or the materials of the picks dictates the way to optimize the sound of the instrument.

I would say Koto techniques is more similar to the northern style of guzheng techniques, while Dan Tranh techniques is more similar to the southern style of guzheng techniques. You use bare fingers to play kayagum, so the plucking direction is sideward rather than forward or inward.

I took some koto lessons some 10-15 years ago, and kayagum lessons for the past few years. I do find learning the concept a lot faster because of my guzheng experience. The actual playing always takes time.
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Vi_An
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Joined: 27 Jul 2005
Posts: 518
Location: Calgary, AB CANADA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good question and thank you.

Good responses thank you.

From my own experience and having no classical training in either of the three traditions of Asian long zithers. The koto is the most demanding and the most difficult to sound well on. I will eventually have to have a sensei to grasp fundamental techniques which I can't learn on my own. I can only get by and fake certain techniques. The instrument is difficult and requires much strength and speed.

Dan tranh is the second most difficult of the three, because it is so delicate and requires such precise techniques, accuracy and speed as well.

Guzheng is my main instrument and is the most direct way I have to express how I am feeling, also the one which I have the longest experience with so I feel it has really become second nature to me. Guzheng is the most versatile and robust.

I have no experience with Kayagum but expect it is a totally different way of learning! Its so beautiful though and rhythmic.

Each requires its own set of techniques which are similar to each other but so very different at the same time. Having each skill from each instrument does help improve and compliment the skills, and enjoyment of the others.

Happy picking and strumming,

Vi An
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zonzon
Plywood


Joined: 20 Apr 2010
Posts: 1
Location: Malaysia

PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course there are transferable techniques but the instruments all have their idiosyncrasies.

Dan tranh is very difficult to play traditionally due to the complex left hand technique, however most of these techniques are lost with the younger players. Vietnamese music had many very precise and complex bends in the music, and this take a great amount of skill to do well. But these are rapidly disappearing.

The kayageum, has almost equally complex but radically different left hand technique, PLUS a very challenging right hand technique of plucking and then flicking the strings in a type of roll. This takes years to learn well and is not found on any other zither except the Mongolian Yatga which has basically adopted kayageum techniques.

Other have commented well on the difference between zheng and koto
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yukina
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's so true. The more I learned kayagum, the more I realized it takes years even just to be able to hear the detail left hand techniques. When I first start learning, I couldn't tell the difference. The left hand technique gets harder and harder when I start to hear the detail and try to do the detail. Then I realize that the intricate left hand bending is lost in the north Korean music and Chinese Korean music.
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yukina
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found this video about Vinh Bao introducing different left hand techniques:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlI-q2y4kNk

It's so intricate. I really want to learn dan tranh now. Any one knows a good teacher in Los Angeles? I live right next to little saigon. I guess I also need a dan tranh. Maybe my steel-string guzheng will work until I find a good dan tranh.
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davidmdahl
Nanmu Mica


Joined: 31 Oct 2005
Posts: 207
Location: Portland, Oregon USA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thay Vinh Bao's playing of the dan tranh is wonderful to emulate. Few play with so much expression and musical touch.

I have never played a steel-string guzheng, but I suspect it is more heavily constructed than a dan tranh. The dan tranh is very lightly built, and the touch needed for left hand ornamentation is quite delicate, compared to that needed for playing a guzheng. For playing Vietnamese music, the dan tranh is particularly well-suited. Maybe there is music from southern China that has been influenced by Vietnamese music that is well-suited for playing on steel-string guzheng with dan tranh techniques.

Best wishes,

David
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i.guzheng
Nanmu Mica


Joined: 25 Mar 2006
Posts: 244
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi david:

what type of vietnamese music written in?
thx.
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davidmdahl
Nanmu Mica


Joined: 31 Oct 2005
Posts: 207
Location: Portland, Oregon USA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i.guzheng wrote:
what type of vietnamese music written in?
thx.


Presuming that you are asking about the notation used for Vietnamese music, staff notation in my experience is the most common. The older generation, such as Thay Vinh Bao, often uses a notation incorporating the Vietnamese note names. I use staff notation for Vietnamese music almost exclusively, although I have used Thay Vinh Bao's note-name notation for a few tunes. I find that I need a recording to make any sense of the score.

Best wishes,

David
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i.guzheng
Nanmu Mica


Joined: 25 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi David:

Thank you for helping me out here! Yes, I meant notation used in Vietnamese music =)

Quote:
The older generation, such as Thay Vinh Bao, often uses a notation incorporating the Vietnamese note names.


so you mean: do, re, me, sol, la or is Dan Tranh tuned in Diatonic scale? What is the most common scale played in Dan Tranh?

Thank you.
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davidmdahl
Nanmu Mica


Joined: 31 Oct 2005
Posts: 207
Location: Portland, Oregon USA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The dan tranh is tuned to pentatonic scales. Do, Re, Mi, Sol, La is one, and probably the most common. You can also think of it as Do, Re, Fa, Sol, La, or Fa, Sol, La, Do, Re. There are other scales, such as for the Vong Co.

Thay Vinh Bao wrote a great article on Vietnamese music. About halfway through there is a section on notes and scales.

http://namkyluctinh.org/a-ngoaingu1/vinhbao-introtovnmusic.pdf

Best wishes,

David
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i.guzheng
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Joined: 25 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi David:

Your info is much appreciated.

Thx.
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yukina
Site Admin


Joined: 05 Feb 2015
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi David:

One more question on the dan tranh notation. Does the notation indicate clearly what to do with the left hand? Or it only indicates the plucking note with some vibrato/bending symbols, and it's all up to the player to interpret.

Thanks.
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davidmdahl
Nanmu Mica


Joined: 31 Oct 2005
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Location: Portland, Oregon USA

PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The score is specific in some ways, but deep knowledge of the style. ornamentation and scale/mode is key. I always need a recording along with the score to get the correct tuning and ornamentation in my head. For myself, this is very much a work in process.

Here are some links to dan tranh scores and ornamentation examples.

http://home.comcast.net/~davidmdahl/VinhBao/DCHL.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~davidmdahl/VinhBao/NGUDIEN.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~davidmdahl/VinhBao/Ornamentation5.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~davidmdahl/VinhBao/Ornamentation7.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~davidmdahl/VinhBao/Ornamentation9.jpg

Other dan tranh notation I have seen spelled out the Vietnamese note names. The notation used by Thay Vinh Bao is more compact.

Best wishes,

David
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