The Dan Moi is the traditional ‘Jew’s Harp’ (or jaw’s harp, or trump, or guimbarde), indigenous to the Vietnamese mountain people Hmong. Fair trade & hand-made by a small number of excellent local craftsmen. These captivate even novices by being easily playable and have a brilliant sound, rich in overtones.
Playing the Dan Moi is effortless and enjoyable.
In contrast to other types of trumps, the Dan Moi must not be pressed against ones teeth to produce its full and warm sound. Rather, the instrument is gently rested against the player’s lips with one hand while the other plucks the tip of the reed softly.
Moreover, the Dan Moi affords players with an almost unlimited range of possibilities for the creation of sound effects since mouth and tongue are given considerably more freedom than with other types of trumps. For example, you may try a simple echo effect by temporarily and rhythmically removing the Dan Moi from your lips, or try a tremolo by moving the tip of your tongue inside your mouth while playing.
The Hmong craftsmen work the Dan Moi so carefully that the slit between frame and reed is barely visible. This ensures a wide variety of sounds, especially in the high ranges.
How to play the Dan Moi
Hold the instrument’s shaft between thumb and index finger and bring it to rest on your slightly opened lips so that the reed is given enough room to move in and out freely. Use your other hand to gently pluck the tip of the reed. Your mouth cavity functions like a sound-box and you can experiment with many different sound variations and effects by moving your tongue, cheeks, jaw, and/or throat. Similarly, you may use your breathing for rhythmic or harmonic effects and make your whole body resound along to the instrument.