From nameless to nomenclature: creating music genre in Southern Vietnam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Descriptions of musical genre often feature categories of instruments, melodies, and other common performance practices. Using the example of southern Vietnamese đờn ca tài tử (music of talented amateurs or music for diversion), this article proposes that musicians define genre instead as the negotiation of a series of “thematic loops” or sets of opposing concepts upon which musicians focus during performance. Ethnographic research in Hồ Chí Minh City and the Mekong Delta indicates that musicians construct effective performance through the invocation of various gendered and ethnic “others” and strive for compatibility between rural and urban practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-171
Number of pages34
JournalAsian Music
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2016


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