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Looking at Rice Drums through the lens of Yin and Yang philosophy

Looking at Rice Drums through the lens of Yin and Yang philosophy


In addition to the pure sound-making element, each musical instrument also contains cultural values and meanings. So if we look at the rice drum through the lens of Vietnamese yin and yang philosophy, what will we discover?

1. Yin and yang philosophy and Vietnamese life

  The philosophy of yin and yang is a product abstracted from the ideas and dreams of agricultural residents about the reproduction of crops and people. Yin and yang are opposites, opposites, but unified, born together.

Starting from the awareness that yin and yang are the root of all things, Vietnamese people always aim for a philosophy of balanced living: Appreciating and promoting the harmony of yin and yang in the body and harmony in the natural world. This is clearly shown from the need for food, clothing, and shelter to medical treatment, beliefs, and spiritual life:

  In cuisine, negative foods are often accompanied by positive spices. For example, boiled snails (yin) are eaten with ginger and chili dipping sauce (yang).

  In worship, ancient tombs in Lach Truong (Thanh Hoa) dating to the 3rd century BC are aligned in the South - North direction. Wooden objects (positive) are placed in the North (negative) and vice versa, ceramic objects (negative) are placed in the South (positive). (O. Jansé, Origins of Vietnamese civilization, University Publishing House, Hue, 1961, p.17.)

  In the folk concept: "In misfortune there is luck, in bad there is good, in disaster there is happiness" reflects the rule "in yin there is yang, in yang there is yin" quite clearly.

It is this balanced philosophy that creates high adaptability in the face of all events, despite difficulties, we are always optimistic and believe in the future of the Vietnamese people for thousands of years.

2. Yin and yang philosophy through the tambourine:

  The yin and yang philosophy is clearly shown in the long cylindrical shape, the two sides are made of leather, the white scarf to hang around the neck, as well as the sound of the tambourine.

  The yin color of the tambourine also implies the idea of yin and yang. The clear sound (higher) on the normal side and the dull sound (deeper) on the rice side also represent the two aspects of yin and yang.

  Normally, in performances, there are always negative and yang sounds mixed together, not just just positive or negative drum sounds.

Looking at the tambourine through the lens of yin and yang philosophy helps us see the cultural imprints of ancient Vietnamese residents, or the traditional musical instrument that always contains the thoughts and wishes of the Vietnamese people.

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