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International Music Resources by Country: Vietnam

International Music Resources offers an array of online and physical resources both freely available and/or offered by the George F. DeVine Music Library. The information included in these guides may serve as a starting point for the study and research of

Aerial view of Vietnam mountainside

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Map of Vietnam

Map of Vietnam

The Socialist Republic of Viet Nam covers a total area of 330,967 sq km (127,787 sq miles) and lies along the western shore of the South China Sea, bordered by the People’s Republic of China to the north, by the Lao People's Democratic Republic to the west and by Cambodia to the south-west. The capital is Hanoi. The fundamental geographical outlines of the country are determined by the deltas and immediate hinterlands of the Mekong and Songkoi (Red River), which are linked by the mountain backbone and adjacent coastal lowlands of Annam.

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Streaming Video: JVC Video Anthology of World Music-Vietnam

Garland Encyclopedia of World Music-Vietnam

Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, Southeast Asia Cover Art

Facts in Brief

Flag of Vietnam red background with a gold star in the center


The Socialist Republic of Viet Nam is situated in South-East Asia, bordered to the north by the People’s Republic of China, to the west by the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Cambodia, and to the east by the South China Sea. The climate is humid during both the hot summer and the relatively cold winter, and there are monsoon rains in both seasons. Temperatures in Hanoi are generally between 13°C (55°F) and 33°C (91°F). The official national language is Vietnamese. The principal formal religion is Buddhism, although a sizeable proportion of the population adheres to indigenous religions. There are also Daoist, Confucian, Hoa Hao, Caodaist and Christian (mainly Roman Catholic) minorities. The national flag (proportions 2 by 3) is red, with a large five-pointed yellow star in the centre. The capital is Hanoi.


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Vietnamese Music (Grove Music Online)

Because of this multicultural status, it is impossible to define a uniquely Vietnamese music. Even the music of the majority group, the Việt, shows strong regional differences, which also exist on linguistic and conceptual levels. While research on minority music is still in progress, the Việt musical traditions have been studied in depth and will be the focus of this entry.

The musical practice and theory of the Việt people are featured in the professional training schools in the four main regions: north, central, south-central and south. Although historically related to each other, each region has its own system of folk, chamber, theatrical and religious music. The uplanders seem to have remained in their own communities with little outside contact for about a 1000 years, until perhaps the time of the Lý dynasty (11th–13th centuries). The Việt in the lowland areas, however, have been in contact with foreign cultures for many centuries. A number of Central Asian, Chinese, Indian and Western instruments have been adopted and adapted to the performing traditions of the Việt. For centuries, Chinese literature was translated and used in Vietnamese songs. Indian Buddhism also brought with it a plethora of folk poetry, traditional songs and musical theatre; the land of Nirvana is featured in many chèo theatrical songs and folk performances. All foreign influences have, however, been adapted to the basic concepts of the Việt, the process of selection of instruments, stories and ideas taking several centuries.


Citation (4)

Music from Vietnam

Vietnam Le Don Ca Tai Tu Album Art

Song and Dances of Vietnam Album Art

    Việt Nam: Ca Trú



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(4): Khê, T., & Phong, N.  (2001). Vietnam, Socialist Republic of. Grove Music Online. Retrieved 16 Apr. 2020, from

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