Ancient chinese musical instrument "Ehru" played by a man in San francisco

June 06, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

 I was visiting San francisco recently for my son's college graduation. I came across this man playing the "Ehru". Ehru was an ancient musical instrument which was introduced in the 10th century. Its two strings are generally tuned a fifth apart and its range can reach three or four octaves. Playing techniques are rich for both hands, including vibratos, harmonic tones, trills, glissandos and pizzicatos for the left hand and legates detaches martellatos, saltandos, tremolos, flying staccatos for the right hand.

 With the decline of imperial dynasties and the rising popularity of Western music in China, this new system of classifying instruments was introduced at the beginning of the 20th century. Shifting from the emphasis on material and timbre to how the instruments are played, one can see the Chinese have become more practical in their approach to music making. Such a change is crucial to the recent popularity of concerto and large-sized orchestra.

 

Erhu also takes the name of huqin 胡琴, the full term for hu 胡. It was generally known as xiqin 奚琴 (string instrument of a Mongolian tribe called Xi) in the tenth century. Now as an important solo instrument for the recital hall, it is appropriate both for deep tragedy and for overwhelming emotions. Besides, it also assumes a central position in the modern Chinese orchestra as well as in the accompaniment of singing and dancing.

 

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