Chill Dynasty
album info
buy the album
mailing list
moshang   track-by-track   guests   instruments   album info  
erhu zheng zhongruan dizi pipa sheng tanggu
Probably the most prominent voice on Chill Dynasty is that of the erhu. It has a beautifully expressive singing quality. Though its tone is unique, the sound of the erhu’s bowed strings can be likened to that of the violin, hence the description of “Chinese violin”.
from And She Swung

The erhu can be dated back to the Tang dynasty (618-907) and is said to have developed from the earlier Mongolian xiqin. It belongs to the huqin family that also includes the zhonghu, sihu and gaohu. Initially used as accompaniment in opera, the erhu later acquired the role of solo instrument. It is also used in small ensembles and large orchestra. Besides classical music, the erhu is also frequently heard in modern Mandarin popular music.

The erhu has two strings, but there are no frets (as on a guitar)


and unlike the violin there is also no touching board. Instead of pressing down on the strings, the player will simply touch the strings to produce the appropriate pitch.

The sound body of the erhu is a six-sided case often covered in snakeskin. The erhu is played in an upright position, with the case in the players lap. The erhu is played using a horsehair bow, but unlike the violin, the hair run between the strings of the erhu and the bow cannot be removed from the instrument.