The trong com (rice drum) gets its name from the practice of placing a pinch of hot steamed rice in the middle of the drum skin to "tune" the instrument.
The body of the drum is made of wood in a tubular shape with the ends slightly tapered. A string is passed through the holes pierced on the edge of each of its faces and strung across it in a zigzag fashion to regulate its tension.
The sound obtained from one face is five tones higher than the other. The sound of the trong com is a little dull, somewhat similar to the large-sizeddan ho, and it is used to express sadness.
The trong com is one of the percussion instruments used to accompanytuong or cheo drama. Its use has also spread to cai luong (reformed opera) and other orchestras. The player, when standing, has the trong com slung over his stomach. When sitting he rests his instrument on his lap. He strikes the faces of the drum with his fingers with varied style.