Qua Cau Gio Bay (SATB)


  • Catalog ID: S-466b
  • First Line: in love, I give my cloak to you
  • Composer: Traditional, Arr. Brent Wells
  • Voicing: satb
  • Accompaniment: a cappella
  • Language: Vietnamese
  • Country: Viet Nam
  • Other: new 2020
  • Score: View Score
  • Sound: Listen


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 timewhen clandestine dating and courtship outside the purview of parental supervision was frownedupon. Over the course of the song, the story is told of a young couple who defy convention asthey secretly express their affection for one another by exchanging gifts: a cloak, a hat, and finallya ring. However, to cover up the loss of these items when questioned by their parents, they areforced 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, sometimesconveying 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 representingthe wind sweeping across the bridge and echoing the couple’s love for one another. It also servesas a primary compositional motive that helps tie the arrangement together. In all instances whentình 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 voiceto voice throughout the arrangement. The conductor and singers should take care to make surethe melody always rises to the forefront of the choral texture. An example of this can be seen inthe 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 gióbay

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