Chinese Instrument – Erhu fiddle

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Erhu began in the Tang Dynasty, called “Xi Qin”, and has a history of more than a thousand years. It is a traditional Chinese stringed instrument. Erhu is one of the main bowed stringed instruments (stringed instruments) in the family of Chinese national musical instruments.
Famous Erhu songs include “Earth Springs Reflected in the Moon”, “Good Night”, “Listening to Pine”, “Horse Race”, “Grapes Ripe” and so on.



Erhu began in the Tang Dynasty and has a history of more than a thousand years. It originated from a ethnic minority in the northern part of ancient my country, originally called “Ji Qin” and “Xi Qin”. The earliest recorded text of Ji Qin is the Tang Dynasty poet Meng Haoran’s Poems on the Poems of Yanrong Mountain and Chiting: “The people of Zhu Yinqin, flowers invite guests to pass.” Song Dynasty scholar Chen Yang recorded “Xi Qin” in “The Book of Music” The Hu music is also…” The poetry of the Tang Dynasty poet Cen Shen, “The Chinese army buys wine and drinks for the guests. Huqin, Pipa and Qiangdi”, shows that the Huqin has begun to spread in the Tang Dynasty, and the Huqin is a stringed and plucked instrument in both China and the West.

development of

In the Song Dynasty, Chen Yuanliang, a scholar at the end of the Song Dynasty, recorded in “Shi Lin Guang Ji”: Ji Qin was made by Ji Kang, hence the name “Ji Qin”. Shen Kuo, a scholar of the Song Dynasty, recorded in “Mixed Bi Tan: Musical Rules”: “Xining Zhong, the palace banquet, Jiaofang actor Xu Yan played Jiqin, and Fang Jinjiu made a perfect string, and it was even harder to develop the piano. He ended it with only one string. Music.” It shows that there was a high level of performance in the Northern Song Dynasty. When Xu Yan played “Jiqin” for the emperor’s ministers, he broke one string and finished the song with another string. It is impossible to do without skilled craftsmanship. Later, Shen Kuo recorded in “Mengxi Bi Tan” that “Ponytail Huqin followed the Handong, and the sound of the song was still complaining. The bow does not shoot the geese in the clouds, and the geese do not send them now.” It shows that there was a ponytail in the Northern Song Dynasty.
“Huqin is made like a fire without thinking about the dragon head, the second string is struck by a bow, and the bowstring is a horsetail” contained in the Yuan Dynasty’s “Yuan History·Liyue Zhi” further elaborates the production principle of the Huqin.
In the Ming and Qing dynasties, the Huqin had spread throughout the country and began to become the main instrument of folk opera accompaniment and instrumental ensemble.
During the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties, with the development of opera and folk art, folk musical instruments developed their own accompaniment instruments with the rise of “Goulan” and “Washe”. The most important instrument is the horsetail huqin (also known as the Erxianqin) from Mongolia and the Western Regions, which has been merged with the Jiqin and Zheng left by the previous dynasties to create a novel huqin. This instrument fully marks the maturity of Chinese bowed string instruments.
Later, due to the needs of the local opera singing style, Huqin gradually differentiated, and there appeared Banhu to meet the needs of Qin Opera and Henan Opera, Jinghu and Jing Erhu for Peking Opera and Han Opera, Zhuanhu for Henan Pendant, Gaohu for Guangdong Cantonese Opera, and Coconut for Chaozhou Opera. Hu, the big tube used for Hunan flower drums, the four Hus used for Mongolian rap, the cover plate used for Sichuan opera, the four strings used by Henan Yue, the pillow piano used for Fujian Putian opera, the corbel used for Dong opera, the horse used for Zhuang opera Guqin, the two-strand string used in Jin Opera and other bowed stringed instruments.
In modern times, Hu Qin changed its name to Erhu. Therefore, the erhu is actually one of the many bowed stringed instruments, and its name is much later than the Huqin. Therefore, it is not accurate to say that “Erhu” began in the Tang Dynasty. It should be said that “Huqin” began in the Tang Dynasty.
For more than half a century, the level of erhu performance has entered a period of prosperity. Mr. Liu Tianhua is the ancestor of modernism. He borrowed Western musical instruments’ playing techniques and techniques, boldly and scientifically positioned the erhu into five positions, and invented the erhu string kneading, thus expanding the range of the erhu and enriching the expressiveness. , Established a new artistic connotation. As a result, the erhu emerged from the folk accompaniment and became a unique solo instrument, which also laid the foundation for the concert halls and music academies to enter Daya Hall in the future.
After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the development of national and folk music was rapid. In order to vigorously discover the art treasures of folk artists, the erhu music of Hua Yanjun, Liu Beimao and other folk artists have been sorted and recorded into records, making the art of erhu performance sprung up like bamboo shoots after a rain. of up. In the 1950s and 1960s, a group of erhu educators and performers, represented by Zhang Rui, Zhang Shao, and Wang Yi, emerged successively. Under their influence, new erhu performers Min Huifen and Wang Guotong emerged. Wait. As the “Great Wall Caprice” by the erhu composer Liu Wenjin, the erhu’s performance has been superbly used and deliberately innovated to make the erhu glow with new vitality and splendor.

Basic structure

basic structure of erhu

Piano tube

The Piano tube is an important part of the erhu, which vibrates the resonance body of the Piano pronunciation after the string is rubbed by the push and pull motion of the bow. The texture and shape of the Piano tube have a direct effect on the volume and sound quality. It is generally made of red sandalwood or mahogany. The shapes are hexagonal, octagonal, circular, front octagonal and rear circular, etc., and the hexagonal shape is commonly used. A sound window (usually a carved wood window) is inlaid behind the Piano tube, which not only plays a decorative role on the Piano tube but also has certain advantages for pronunciation, sound transmission and sound filtering. The piano tube is the resonance tube of erhu. It is generally made of ebony, mahogany (red sandalwood is rare), but also made of rosewood or bamboo. In the 1970s, low foaming (ABS) materials began to be used for molding. Its shape is mainly hexagonal, with a length of 13 cm and a front mouth diameter (opposite side) of 8.8 cm. In some areas, it is made into a circle or an octagon. The waist of the tube is slightly thin, and the rear mouth of the tube is open or the device has a sound window with various patterns of flower holes. Piano tube plays a role in expanding and rendering Strings vibration.


Piano tube front mouth python skin, called Piano, also called piano film, it is an important device for erhu sound. Generally python skin, snake skin is the lowest-level Erhu Piano. Snake skin has fine scales, regular lines, and full of toughness, but the texture is thin. The sound quality is easily affected by factors such as climate and room temperature. The scales of the python skin are thick and flat, the color contrast is coordinated, the thickness is appropriate and elastic, it is not susceptible to insects, and the sound resonance is good. The python skin is the most ideal in the area around the anus. The python skin in this place has wide adaptability, thick and round pronunciation, and stable performance. Newly bought erhu, whether it is snake skin or python skin, often have empty and sandy pronunciation, and the volume difference between the upper and lower ends is large. This is because the vibration of Piano is not coordinated enough. It takes a period of time before the vibration of Piano may gradually become normal. It is an important vocal body of erhu and the key to vibration source, which has a direct impact on sound quality and volume. The larger the scales of the python skin, the better the tone.

Piano pole

Piano pole is the pillar of the erhu and also the trunk. It not only plays the supporting role of connecting up and down, but also has a certain influence on the overall vibration pronunciation. The materials used to make Piano poles are some sandalwood (less in quantity), ebony or mahogany. Ebony is generally used more. Ebony is cheap and good-quality, and has a certain degree of tensile resistance. It is an important pillar for supporting Strings and for pressing strings. It has a total length of 81 cm and a diameter of approximately 0.55 inches (1.83 cm). The top is the piano head, the upper part is equipped with two pegs, and the lower end is inserted into the Piano tube. The head of the piano is in the shape of a curved neck, and it is also carved into a dragon head or other shapes. The quality of the pronunciation of a handful of erhu has a lot to do with the choice of Piano pole materials. Mahogany is usually regarded as the top grade, and ebony is also good. Other woods are inferior. In addition to carefully distinguishing the material of the Piano pole when choosing, it must also take into account the compact texture, fine and uniform wood rays, no knots, no scars, no obvious cracks, and a certain brightness.

Piano shaft

There are two Piano shafts (also known as Qin Zhen), which are used to adjust the pitch. The upper shaft is tied to the inner string, and the lower shaft is tied to the outer string. Piano shaft has two types: wooden shaft and mechanical shaft, both have their pros and cons. The wooden shaft is stable after tuning, and it is not easy to run off the strings, but because the time is tight and loose, it brings difficulties to the tuning. The mechanical axis tuning is fast and free, and the pitch is good. If the production quality is not completely passed, there will be looseness and slippage from time to time, which will easily cause the strings to run out of sound.


Strings is one of the pronunciation bodies of the piano, and also one of the sound sources of the erhu. Its quality directly affects the pronunciation effect. There are two kinds of Strings: one is metal string, which has the characteristics of good tension, good sound quality, good pitch and high sensitivity, and it is divided into aluminum string and silver string, silver string is the best; the other is silk string, which The sound produced is softer and more delicate than metal strings, but the tension is poor, the pitch is poor and the strings are easy to break, and the sound is easy to change. Metal strings are mostly used.
playing the erhu 1

Piano bow

Piano bow (commonly known as bow) is composed of a bow shaft and bow hair. A good bow must first be long and straight; secondly, the bow hair should be white horsetail hair as the top grade, and the bow hair should be more and more uniform, and it should be tied at the joint of the fish tail. Be firm; finally, pay attention to the number of knots of the bow shaft should be few and small, and the thickness should be moderate. The length of the bow is 76~85 cm. The bow rod is a bracket to support the bow hair. The length is 2.4 feet (80 cm). It is made of Jiang Wei bamboo (also known as young bamboo). The two ends are baked and bent, and horsetails are tied. The bamboo is thick. One end is at the tail of the bow, and the ponytail is clamped between the two strings to rub the Strings sound. The bow hair is mostly horsetail, but it is also imitated by nylon silk. Some simple erhus use nylon thread instead of bow hair, which has poor acoustic effect. To measure the durability of bow hairs, it mainly depends on whether the bow hairs are arranged neatly and flatly, with the same length and uniform thickness. Good bow hair requires no broken ends, no slenderness, no unkempt entanglement, etc.


Qianjin is also known as Qianjin, which fixes and cuts the strings of the erhu. It also has a certain impact on intonation. It is made of cotton thread, silk thread, plexiglass, plastic and other materials. There are various forms, including fixed Qianjin, wirewound Qianjin, metal Qianjin and so on. The more commonly used is wirewound Qianjin.

Piano code

Piano code is the medium of vibration between Strings and Piano, which plays an important role in pronunciation. The materials used for it are wood, bamboo, metal and paper. Commonly used are wood pine knot code and maple code. The wood pine knot code has soft wood, round and honest pronunciation, and the maple code is moderately soft and hard, with soft pronunciation and low noise. Although the Piano code is small, it is the hub that connects PianoStrings. Its function is to transmit the vibration of the string to the python skin. Therefore, the material, shape and placement of the Piano code on the Piano greatly affect the sound quality of the erhu.
In order to improve the sound of the erhu, the hoarse-pronounced erhu adopts paper codes (that is, kraft paper or other hard paper is rolled into a strict simple shape), and the sound should be softer: the dull erhu can be changed to bamboo codes. The sound becomes louder, suitable for playing lively and lively tunes. The monotonous erhu adopts metal spring codes to make the pronunciation more resonant.


Cento is the base of the piano body, which plays the role of decoration and stabilization of the piano body. Some Erhu Cento is also equipped with an adjustable bottom bracket, which is adjusted with nylon buckles, which is more convenient when playing.

Damper pad

Below the Piano code, a small piece of Damper pad made of flannel or felt must be inserted between the Strings and the film. It can solve the “wolf sound” of the erhu, eliminate the empty sound of the erhu, and make it concentrated and full, Damper pad The thickness and size should be moderate, too thick will affect the volume, too thin will not work. The materials used to make the sound pad often include white sponge, woolen cloth, cashmere, cotton cloth, suede, flannel, etc. The most widely used are sponge and woolen cloth, and the best effect is natural suede. It should not be underestimated. There is also the ability to quickly change the tone: it is close to the Piano code, the tone is very smooth, and at the same time it loses a part of the volume; away from the Piano code, the tone will become brighter, and it must be adjusted according to the needs of the song.

playing the erhu 2

musical skills

Sitting position:

1. The center line of the body is inclined to the left, so that the center of gravity falls to the left side of the human body.
2. Stand upright with your back and sit upright on one-third of the stool

Holding the piano:

1. The Piano tube was placed in the middle of the left leg by mistake, instead of on the base of the left leg close to the lower abdomen.
2. Piano pole is too inclined to the left or right; too forward or inward.
3. In the first position, the left hand is too far away from Qianjin.
4. The left-arm lacks proper supporting force and is clamped by a tiger’s mouth and hung on the Piano pole.
5. Hook the Piano pole with your thumb down.
6. When holding the piano, the palm of your left hand is close to the Piano pole, and your fingers “lie down” and press the strings backwards.
7. Excessive bending of finger joints, touching the strings with the tip of the finger (or even with the nail).
8. Recurve finger joints, especially the first joint of the middle finger, ring finger and little finger.
9. The fingers (especially the ring finger and the little finger) do not press the string from the front of the string (from the string to the direction of the Piano pole), but from the outside of the string (from the string to the body direction), so that only the outer string is pressed. The inner string is in a virtual press state, often resulting in a wolf sound.
10. When playing, always let your fingers “hang” on the top of the phoneme, and you can’t relax.
11. When a finger is pressed on the string, the finger underneath is curled in the palm.
12. When holding the piano, the big arm is raised too much, making the left arm in a tense and unnatural state.

Musical instrument classification

Origin classification: Beijing Qin (Long Yun brand), Suzhou Qin (Han Yun brand, Huqiu brand), Shanghai Qin.
According to the situation of Piano tube, it is divided into four categories: cylindrical erhu, octagonal erhu, hexagonal erhu, flat tube erhu, double-bottomed erhu, front and eight back rounds.
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