Thanh Thuy Nguyen

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research areas and keywords


  • gesture, gender, traditional music, experimental music


My research field is the use of gesture in traditional Vietnamese music – from the perspective of being a đàn tranh instrumentalist with a broad and international experience. The project 'The Choreography of Gender in Traditional Vietnamese Music' has a dual starting point: the social change in traditional music from private and male activity to public and female performance, and my encounter with experimental, contemporary and Western forms of music. Main questions concern: (1) How can gesture analysis reveal gender conventions in musical performance? (2) How can music created through the choreographic structuring of movement reveal and challenge gender conventions in musical performance? (3) How can intercultural artistic collaboration instigate change in the current practices of traditional Vietnamese music, and become a vehicle for challenging current gender norms?
My PhD-project has been related to and a part of Music in Movement - an international research project on musical gesture, headed by Malmö Academy of Music (2012-2015)- in collaboration between the three musicians in the group The Six Tones together with the choreographer Marie Fahlin and several composers. The main objective of this piece of research has been to develop an artistic method that allows for the creation of musical works that are conceived of as compositions of movement and sound.
All the artistic productions that I have been involved with deal with gesture drawn from different sources:
Inside Outside uses video from TV shows in Vietnam as the base for new choreographies for musicians presented in glass boxes. It is an installation built on a concept by me and developed in collaboration between The Six Tones, the choreographer Marie Fahlin and sound artist Matt Wright.
Go To Hell is built from gesture in the performance of the guitar solo composition Toccata Orpheus by Rolf Riehm. These materials were transcribed to performance on my instrument but was also further developed into new choreographies, new music, film and a light-and sound installation in the dismantled nuclear reactor which was the setting for this site-specific piece. 
Seven Stories is a film developed in collaboration between the Swedish playwright and director Jörgen Dahlqvist, the American composer Richard Karpen, Marie Fahlin and The Six Tones. The film draws on scenes in seven plays in traditional Vietnamese Tuồng theatre and has original music and choreography that develops these sources in different ways. 
Arrival Cities: Hanoi is a piece of music theatre with documentary film that deals with the dissolution of the relationship with tradition that urbanization brings. In this project, the three musicians of The Six Tones made interviews with people in migration zones in Hanoi together with the director Jörgen Dahlqvist. We made many interviews with street vendors, all of them women. The documentary work in the project opened up towards a more in depth understanding of the situation for women in Hanoi in the present day, but it also became a personal journey for all the performers in the group, where the final piece also contained our own histories of migration to and from Hanoi. 
Vodou Vibrations is a solo performance with video projections and prerecorded sounds. In my collaboration with Marie Fahlin on the making of this piece, many layers of my identity as a Vietnamese woman and musician were challenged.

Thin as Skin is a collaborative choreographed musical work with the Japanese choreographer/dancer/visual artist Hiromi Miyakita. By approaching habitual movement with the aim of seeking its essence through an effortless performance, Thin As Skin proposes ways of performing differently.

Recent research outputs

Thanh Thuy Nguyen, 2019 Oct 18, Doctoral Studies and Research in the Fine and Performing Arts ed. Malmö: Malmö Academy of Music, Lund University. 129 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (artistic)

Stefan Östersjö & Thanh Thuy Nguyen, 2016 Jun 1, In: Journal of Sonic Studies. 12

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Jörgen Dahlqvist, Kent Olofsson, Stefan Östersjö & Thanh Thuy Nguyen, 2014 Dec 1

Research output: Non-textual formArtistic work

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