It seems becoming a musician in Vietnam is very easy these days since apparently the only skills needed are choosing notes and rhythms from a selection on the internet.
A clutch of sites such as Music Publisher 6, MuseScore, Virtual Music Composer 4.0, GarageBand, and NoteFlight offers music composition ranging from basic chord-based lead sheet-oriented programs to very sophisticated compositional and scoring programs.
And there are programs that score your performance from an instrument, even your vocal, automatically and without you needing to know how to notate music.
All a wannabe musician has to do is look for the basic time unit of music, or the beat, which is created by combining sound loops in a particular sequence.
The created loops should be integrated in the correct manner to create music.
There are inbuilt loops available with the software. The composer should choose the loops that will blend together and compose it with rhythm in the appropriate time gaps.
The software also has a studio control interface that enables the composer to adjust the time, pitch and rhythm.
Recent songs like “Thuc Tinh” (Disillusionment) by Nguyen Hai Phong have become extremely popular thanks to their modern and unusual rhythms.
This gives the impression that the Vietnamese music market is getting a new look but it is not exactly true. A closer look will reveal many of them are similar.
“O nha mot minh” (Home Alone) performed by girl band May Trang is not unlike “Ngoc Ngech” (Silly) by Bao Thy, while Phuc Tuong’s “Mot lan thoi” (Just one time) reminds one of several other songs including one composed later by himself.
However, since they are not exact clones of one another, they do not fall foul of copyright laws.
Musician Huy Tuan is not amused: “Surely, creating songs based on available rhythms makes all of them similar to listen to. It is unacceptable. Working in this field means to be creative.
“Composers who have self-respect w ill not do such a thing because they know working like this will never bring them true satisfaction.”
Demand for new songs has been skyrocketing, causing youngsters to flock into the industry. Thus, at 15 and 16 they are already composers who can boast of hit songs.
“Without writing their lyrics, I can compose 20 songs a month,” admits young musician and singer who wished to remain unnamed.
But by writing melodies from the available background music, they risk making their composition a mass-produced product rather than one born of creativity.