Apart from having two intangible cultural heritages of Hat Quan Ho and Ca Tru, two types of Vietnamese tradition folk singing recognized by UNESCO, Bac Ninh also has a unique art form called Hat Trong Quan or Trong Quan Singing (response folk song of Vietnam). This type of folk singing is the most popular in Bui Xa Village (Thuan Thanh, Bac Ninh). The local people here are proud of having the honor to serve kings in Thang Long Citadel in the past.
Trong Quan Singing is a form of love singing songs which reflect partly Vietnam culture in Red River Delta and midlands, from Thanh Hoa outwards. Trong Quan Singing is different in each locality. In spite of having a little difference in tunes, forms, and time to sing, but they have the same music instrument as a drum to beat between repartee sentences. Trong Quan Singing is one of popular traditional music of Vietnam. It is usually held in July and August of the lunar calendar. In addition, this type of folk singing often takes place in festive days. During harvest seasons, farmers who are boys and girls in the village often organized to sing in the evening, after a day of working hard. Trong Quan Singing is usually held in the yard of a house, or in a large lawn, near the communal house. They divide into two sides: male and female.
In term of music, Trong Quan Singing is a melody quite similar to voice. Because the melody is created with different lengths, so tune changes in accordance with voice accents. Trong Quan Singing use response sentences most with medium speed. The characteristic feature of Bui Xa Trong Quang Singing is the singer responds to the opponents by hundreds of ingenious puzzles, so be he or she must be flexible and quick-witted. There are no formal studies about the history of Trong Quan Singing in Bui Xa Village. According to ancestors, Trong Quan Singing was formed in the 18th century, existing primarily through oral form. By the 1950s of the last century and in the years of wars against American empire, this art form had been almost extinct. Although fierce wars interrupted melody of Trong Quan Singing, they could not kill this unique traditional Vietnamese music. The sounds of drum always echo in the minds of villagers and wait for a chance to regenerate. In 1994, Trong Quan Singing Club was established to protect the tradition.
Mr. Le Ba Bao, one of the founders as well as the former chairman of this club shared, when it was newly formed, there were only a few members, but they were aware of the role and responsibilities of each person in the development the traditional music. Over years, the number of members increases, including both old and young generations. Bui Village Trong Quan official rebirth in 2003, when the Department of Culture - Information of Thuan Thanh District established Trong Quan ward to participate in a provincial music festival. High recognition and appreciation of the board examiners and viewers encouraged confidence in artisans. Thus, Trong Quan Singing groups are open more and more to meet the passion and diffuse this unique type of art to other neighborhoods.
Recognizing the value and the need to protect the folk music in Vietnam, in October 2008, Department of Culture - Information of Thuan Thanh District coordinated with Bui Xa Village’s artisans to open teaching Trong Quan Singing classes for youth in Bac Ninh in particular and in areas of Red River Delta in general.