Nha nhac - Royal Court Music In Hue Citadel

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Nha Nhac, also called Court Music is the type of music performance including both dancing and opera singing, used in worshiping ceremonies, royal public courts, national holidays and entertainment events for royal family.

Court music was initiated in 13th century, yet the peak period when it became the official royal music performance was in 19th century under Nguyen Dynasty in Hue (1848 – 1883). In the period of 1947 – 1948, Madame Tu Cung (mother of King Bao Dai and wife of King Khai Dinh) collected some court music artists under Bao Bai Dynasty and maintained the music performance during the period. In the 1980s, the Ministry of Culture and the local authorities paid more attention to the court music and made it alive again in 1990s. Since then, the court music has become the important part of Vietnam culture and history and has been promoted internationally.

The different genres of Hue Court Music include worshipping ritual music and court ritual music, royal dance, musical and opera (royal classical opera – tuong).

In the past Hue court music included various range of genres: Giao Nhac used in sacrifice ceremonies, Mieu Nhac used in worshipping ceremonies in temples, Ngu Tu Nhac used in the sacrifice ceremonies of Agriculture Goddess, Thanh Hoang, Xa Tac; Dai Trieu Nhac used in big royal events or greetings of the foreign ambassadors; Yen Nhac used in the big royal parties;

Cung Nhac served inside the royal palaces. Former Hue court dances also included many genres used in different events or ceremonies. Eleven of those are preserved until now including Bat Dat used in sacrifice ceremonies to Heaven and Earth, worshipping at temples, Xa Tac, Lich Dai De Vuong and Confucius; Luc Cung, Tam Tinh, Bat Tien, Fight against Buddhist, Tu Linh, Tam Quoc Tay Du, etc. Most of the dance performances are the visualized movements and modified movements of the real activities or stories that its name saying about.

Hue Court Music was created by the process of integrating and adopting Chinese and Champa culture and the influences of Buddhism and Confucian. It is the synthesis of the various art genres, instruments, rhythm, melody and ensemble forms and environment. Therefore, Court Music can bring audience good sense of both audio and vision generating different shades of emotions and inspirations.

In Nov 2003 Hue Court Music was recognized as the oral and intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO. This recognition remarked the great progress of the culture preservation of Vietnam and its importance to the humanity’s art values.

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