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page title: erhu

About the Erhu

(a Chinese two-string fiddle)

The Erhu is an ancient Asian instrument, brought to China during the Han dynasty (~140 B.C.). It is a member of the huqin family. Bowed instruments became popular in China during the Sung dynasty (A.D. 960-1279). The Erhu is one of the most widely used bowed instruments in China. This two-stringed instrument is played with the bow between the strings in a push-pull manner. The sound box is covered by a serpent skin which gives the instrument its distinctive tone of color.

Throughout its history, the Erhu has been constantly improved, so that its tone is now mellow and bright, similar to the violin, yet more soulful and expressive. Its lower tones sound forceful and lavish. The mid-tones are gentle and touching, while high tones turn clear and bright. This changeful character makes it possible for the Erhu to perform music with a variety of moods.

Played with a variety of techniques, it is now extremely popular for both solo and orchestral performances. In classical Chinese music the Erhu is melodic, haunting, ever changing, and alive. The traditional style of playing is rich in ornamentation, giving the music a deep, three-dimensional quality.

If you're interested in studying the Erhu with Jiebing, send her email.


Double Concerto for Erhu and Violin

by Gang Situ

56K | Hi Speed

Moon Reflecting on Er Chuan Spring

56K | Hi Speed

Modem users choose 56K. DSL and Cable, try hi speed. Note: examples require RealAudio player, free software available at real.com




Click here for an introductory lesson in holding and bowing the erhu.

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