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Sec bua



The gong set of Sec bua.

Sec bua is a vocal-instrumental musical genre performed by both men and women during Tet (New Year)among the Muong people.

Reasons for selection

This selection reflects two major points concerning the ancient culture of Vietnam and its continual development throughout the country's history: the Muong, perhaps the oldest community living in the region and strongly linked to the Viet people; and the Sec bua performance which is among the most popular traditional cultural practices of the Muong people as a result of its rich repertoire and significance during Tet (New Year)season.

Area where performed

Gong Sec bua is performed in Hoa Binh, Thanh Hoa, Vinh Phu provinces wherever the Muong people live.

Essential elements of the performing art


Detailed explanation

Sec bua is a traditional performing art of the Muong people, which takes place during the first lunar month.

The gong set of a Sec bua has from 10 to 12 bossed gongs, divided into four groups:
-The leading group includes one pair of Boong beng played by one person.
-The second group includes two performers who play two dum.
-The third group includes one dam played by one person.
-The final group includes the Kho set, played by the rest of the ensemble.

Every gong ensemble includes a melody and a rhythm section. The melody is played by the pair of Boong beng. The rhythm section is played by the rest of the ensemble emphasizing the first beat.

When and where do they play?
At the beginning of lunar year, Sec bua troupes go from village to village to wish everybody a happy, healthy and a successful new year ( Tet ). Each Sec bua troupe lines up in single file beginning with the Boong beng, followed by the dum, dam, Kho performers respectively. Along the way they play traditional gong pieces, such as Di duong (on the road), Leo zoc (climbing hills). Sec bua troupes go to prearranged houses to wish owners happy and prosperous New Year. As the Sec bua troupes reach the alley leading to the entrance, a gong piece called Cong hieu (gong-signal)is played to announce their arrival. Then the leader of the troupe sings a song entitled Mo cong (open-gate). At the end of the song, the house owner opens the gate to greet the Sec bua performers. As the troupe enters the yard, they play a gong composition. Each gong piece is followed by a greeting song. Towards the end of the performance, the owner offers gifts to the Sec bua performers. The Sec bua then sing a Cam on (thank you)song followed by an instrumental piece called Tam biet (good-bye) before leaving for another house.

Sec bua is a traditional performing art which has been carried on from generation to generation among the Muong people up until the present time.

Publication and textual documentation

1986 Nghe Thuat Cong Chieng The Arts of Gongs (Proceeding from Conference on the performance of gongs).
Department of Culture, Gia Lai Kontum Province.

Audio documentation

Collection of Vietnam Musicology Institute.

Visual documentation

Collection of Vietnam Musicology Institute.

Institution/organisation involved in preservation and promotion

Department of Information and Culture of Hoa Binh province.

Data provider

Dang Hoanh Loan
Vice Director
Vietnam Musicology Institute
Address: 32 Nguyen Thai Hoc street, Ba Dinh district, Ha Noi, Viet Nam