Gongs or Cong-Chieng
are musical instruments made of alloy bronze, sometimes with gold,
silver, or black bronze added to their composition. In the Kinh
language, the word cong identifies convex gongs and the word chieng refers to the flat ones. Gongs vary in size from 20 to 120cm in diameter.
Gongs may be played one at a time or in groups of 2 to 20 units.
The Muong, as well as other ethnic groups in the Truong Son-Tay Nguyen
regions, use gongs not only to beat the rhythm but also to play
polyphonic music. Ensembles of gongs usually include several sets that
vary in number and function during the performance. |
Gongs can be
struck with wooden sticks, mallets, or even bare hands. There are
techniques that can be used to shut off sounds and to produce melodies.
In some ethnic groups, gongs are only intended for men to play. However, the sac bua gongs of the Muong are played by women. In other ethnic groups, both men and women may play. In general, taboos regarding cong-chieng customs differ from ethnicity to ethnicity.
hold great significance and value for many ethnic groups in Tay Nguyen.
The gongs play an important role in the lives of the inhabitants of Tay
Nguyen; from birth until death, the gongs are present at all the
important events, joyful as well as unfortunate, in their lives. Almost
every family has at least one set of gongs.
In general, gongs
are considered to be sacred instruments. They are mainly used in
offerings, rituals, funerals, wedding ceremonies, New Year?s
festivities, agricultural rites, victory celebrations, etc.
the Truong Son -Tay Nguyen region, playing the gongs electrifies the
people participating in dances and other forms of entertainment. Gongs
have been an integral part of the spiritual life of many ethnic groups
The Space of Gong Culture in the Central Highlands of
Vietnam was recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Intangible
Heritage of Humanity on November 25, 2005.