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Music
Erhu
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The 'Er' of the name of this instrument meaning '2', is believed to come from the fact that it has two strings. An alternate explanation states that er comes from the fact that it is the second highest huqin in pitch to the Gao Hu in the modern Chinese orchestra. The'Hu', indicates that it is a member of the huqin family. The name huqin literally means "barbarian instrument," showing that the instrument may have originated from regions to the north or west of China.

Erhu 二胡 is a kind of violin (fiddle) with two strings which, together with zhonghu, gaohu, sihu, etc, belongs to the Hu Qin family. It is said that its origin would be dated up to the Tang dynasty (618-907) and related to the instrument, called Xi Qin originated from a Mongolian tribe Xi. During Song dynasty (960-1279), the second generation of the huqin was among the instruments played at the imperial banquets. During the Dynasties of Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911), the erhu underwent a great development at the time of the golden age of the local operas.

The erhu's musical range spans about four octaves. Its two strings are typically tuned a fifth apart to d and a. Its sound is similar to a violin, but differs by being much more nasal in quality.
 

The parts of an erhu include the neck, pegs, resonator, strings, qianjin, bridge, and bow. The sound body of the erhu is a drum-like little case usually made of ebony or sandalwood and snake skins. It usually has a hexagonal shape with the length of approximately 13 cm. The front opening is covered with skin of python (snake) and that of the back is left open. The functions of this case of resonance are to amplify the vibrations of the strings. The neck of the erhu is about 81 cm long and is manufactured with the same materials as the drum. The top of the stem is bent for decoration. The two tuning handles (pegs) are found close to the end of the stem. There is no frets (as contrast to the lute) or touching board (as contrast to violin). The player creates different pitches by touching the strings at various positions along the neck of the instrument. The strings are usually made of silk or nylon. Nowadays, metal strings are commonly used. The bow is 76 cm long and is manufactured of reed which one curves during cooking, and arched with horse hair in the same way as the bow of violin. However, in the case of erhu, the horse hair runs between the two strings. In another word, one cannot take off the bow from the instrument unless one of the two strings is taken off or broken.
 

The erhu sounds similar to human voice, and can imitate many natural sounds such as birds and horse. It is a very expressive instrument, most well-known for playing melancholic tune, but also capable of play merry melody. Playing techniques are rich for both hands, including, harmonic tones, trills, glissandos, pizzicatos for the left hand and legatos, detaches, martellatos, saltandos, tremolos, flying staccatos for the right hand.

The erhu often plays an important role in the national orchestras. In the smaller orchestras, there are usually 2 to 6 erhu, in largest, l0 with 12. In fact, the erhu plays the same role as the violin in the Western orchestras.

Music Name Description Infomation Hits  
Zhan Ma Ben Teng
戰 馬 奔 騰
Warhorses Galloping mp3
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 - 0:03:53
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Sai Ma
賽 馬
Horse Racing mp3
 - 2.41MB
 - 0:01:43
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Han Gong Qiu Yue
漢 宮 秋 月
The Autumn Moon over the Han Palace mp3
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 - 0:06:35
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Er Quan Ying Yue
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The Moon Reflected on the 'Er Spring' mp3
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 - 0:06:00
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Cai Cha Pu Die
采 茶 扑 蝶
Tea Picking and Butterfly Catching mp3
 - 8.81MB
 - 0:04:42
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Bing Zhong Yin
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Thoughts from the sickbed mp3
 - 6.65MB
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