Lý folk songs - Hát Lý

Hát Giao Duyên/ Lý Giao Duyên opened a new type of folk songs called which stands out in its vitality and is present in almost all styles and became very popular in Central and South Vietnam. developed from children's song to music of Hue (music for diversion), music of the popular theatre (hát chèo), classical theatre and reformed theatre (cải lương). Although Lý folk songs are sung in the northern, central and southern regions of Vietnam, it is much more developed in the south. Lý songs in the South are short and their melodies are softer and more meaningful than in other parts of the country.

The format was the six-and-eight foot/line-poem. In the period of children's songs, almost all popular poems could be put into lý. The name of the song was taken either from the contentof the poem or from the first few words of the lyrics of the poem.

The children's songs "Lý con sáo" about a black bird originates from a two-line popular poem

Ai đem con sáo sang sông, Who carried the black bird across the river
để cho con sáo sổ lồng bay xa. so it could free itself and fly away.

With the same lyrics, people in Quang Nam sing the song in a different tune DO-RE-FA-SOL-LA and call it "Lý con sáo Quảng" (Blackbird song sung in the Quảng tune):

Ai đem con sáo tình bạn sang sông
u ú ù u làm răng?
Ðể cho để cho con sáo
u ú ù u
Ðể cho con sáo xổ lồng bay xa
u ú ù u làm răng?
Ðể cho con sáo xổ lồng bay xa....

We also find "Lý con sáo" in the South, but it was sung in the pentatonic Nam, nuance oán, DO-MI-Fa vibrato-SOL-LA, which differs from the central and north tune:

Ai đem con sáo
à sông rồi lại sang sông?
Kìa kia kìa kia kìa kia!
Ðể cho nó con sáo ơi xổ xổ lồng nó bay...

In Thua Thien province whenever they sing "Lý con sáo" they insert "ới tang tình tang", the tune was then called Lý tình tang.

There are countless numbers of Lý in the South. Popular songs which are not put in are put in . The tune of each song-type of varies according to the lyrics of the song, but in general all are sung in the pentatonic oán nuance DO-MI-FA-SOL-LA.

The various Lý songs of the south contain different subject matters as well as unique musical characteristics. The Lý songs of the south depict the activities of production, feelings, and the thought of the people in their daily lives. For example, "Evening" and "Waiting for husband" are among the most famous Lý songs in the South. Animals, plants, flowers, love, and marriage are also described in the Lý folk songs. Some folk songs describe the common aspirations of the people or criticize disgraceful practices.
Although the songs have various styles, sorrow is the outstanding characteristic described in words of the songs. Besides this trait, the songs are considered rather modest, simple, and mischievous. Each kind of "Lý" melody has its own style and content. Particularly, the repeatition of " í a", " tình tang", "là", "mà" in Ly melodies is used to diversify the singer's feelings.
Lý songs have been handed down from generation to generation and become a treasure enriching Vietnam's folk songs.

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