Lý folk songs - Hát Lý
Hát Giao Duyên/ Lý Giao Duyên opened
a new type of folk songs called Lý which stands out in
its vitality and is present in almost all styles and became very
popular in Central and South Vietnam. Lý 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
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 Hò are put in Lý. The
tune of each song-type of Lý varies according to the lyrics
of the song, but in general all are sung in the pentatonic oán nuance
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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