Qua Cau Gio Bay (SATB)

Catalog ID: S-466b
Translation: the wind on the bridge
First Line: in love, I give my cloak to you
Composer: traditional, arr. Brent Wells
Author: traditional
Voicing: satb
Accompaniment: a cappella
Language: vietnamese
Country: viet nam
Other: new 2020


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Cultural Context

In traditional Vietnamese culture, parents were typically very involved ensuring their children

courted and married suitable individuals. Qua câu gió bay hearkens back to this earlier time when clandestine dating and courtship outside the purview of parental supervision was frowned upon. Over the course of the song, the story is told of a young couple who defy convention as they secretly express their affection for one another by exchanging gifts: a cloak, a hat, and finally a ring. However, to cover up the loss of these items when questioned by their parents, they are forced to lie, claiming that the wind sweeping across the bridge, carried the items away.

Performance Notes

The word tình can have several meanings when used in Vietnamese folksong, sometimes conveying its literal meaning: “love,” but at other times as an ornamentation, or poetic literary

device. In the case of Qua câu gió bay, it is cleverly used both ways, simultaneously representing the wind sweeping across the bridge and echoing the couple’s love for one another. It also serves as a primary compositional motive that helps tie the arrangement together. In all instances when tình is sung, the choir should close immediately to the “n” sound.

Another performance issue that should be noted is the melody, which is freely passed from voice to voice throughout the arrangement. The conductor and singers should take care to make sure the melody always rises to the forefront of the choral texture. An example of this can be seen in the men’s first verse (mm. 10 through 25).

(T1) Yêu nhau cởi áo ối à trao nhau (T2) Về nhà (T1) dối rằng cha dối mẹ ơ ơ, Rằng a ối a qua (Bar) cầu (T2) Rằng (T1) a ối (T2) a qua (Bar) cầu (B/Bar) tình tình tình gió bay (T2) tình tình tình gió bay

I wish to express my deepest gratitude to Ha Dang for her help with translation, pronunciation, and cultural context. She has been tireless and enthusiastic in her assistance.

Brent Wells

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