Linguistic in Vietnamese Folk Songs

Author: Kieu Trung Son (Institute of Cultural Studies, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, Vietnam)
Speaker: Kieu Trung Son
Topic: Poetics
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2020 General Session


Vietnamese has 6 tones; that’s why a Vietnamese sentence was itself melodious when uttered. However, this is not singing. Only when speech is organized according to a music rule will it become lyrics that form folk songs.

What is the relationship between language and music in Vietnamese folk songs? What role do the Vietnamese tones play in music rules? Is it language that characterizes the regional features of Vietnamese folk songs? The following article is going to offer clear-cut answers to all the above questions. In order to conduct this research, we observe language in folk song performing process with the aim of analyzing and determining the relationship between tones and music.

Research findings will cast light on the functions / roles of language tones as well as music structures in Vietnamese folk songs. This has an immense significance to the propagation and preservation of folk songs in Vietnam.


Nguyen Van Huyen (1934), Conversation duets of Vietnamese youths, reprinted in Nguyen Van Huyen volumes A contribution to research on Vietnamese Culture (1995), Social Sciences Publisher, Hanoi.
Tu Ngoc (1994), Vietnamese Folk Songs, Music Publisher, Hanoi.

Bui Huyen Nga (2012), Vietnamese Folk Song’s Structures, Labor Publisher, Hanoi.

Keywords: Poetic language, Vietnamese tones, Vietnamese folk song