Datong

Name: Datong.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Spiked > Huqins.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#:
Scale Length: mm.
Tuning:
Area: Hunan Province.
Country: China.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The datong [in Chinese: 大筒 : In Pinyin: Dàtǒng] is a stringed instrument that is popular in most parts of Hunan. Due to its leading role in The Huagu Opera, it is often called the Huagu Datong. Hunan Huagu Opera originated in the Kangxi [1662 – 1722] and Qianlong [1736 – 1795] reins of the Qing Dynasty.

The Datong has made its appearance in the folk music of Hunan as its accompaniment instrument. The history of Datong may not be as long as that of Banhu and Jinghu, it functions as an accompaniment instrument of opera, it has also gone through a long process of regulation. The tuning and performance techniques are similar to the erhu.

Construction: The traditional shape of the resonator is divided into two types. It is either made from a short or long tube. The length of the long tube is approximately 22 cm to 24 cm in length; it is made of bamboo. The stem is made of wood and is shorter in length compared to the Banhu or Jinghu. Similar to the process of development for other types of huqin, since the 1950s. The Datong gradually reformed and developed into a new type of erhu based on its original two styles.

The shape of the body may either be hexagonal or octagonal. The instrument is in the shape of a meniscus. Having a shaft on the left and right. A piece of python skin is stretched over the front of the instrument creating the membrane that completes the body. It has a similar appearance to the jinghu. The original silk string is replaced with, steel string. A bamboo or wooden support is added under the body of the instrument. Tuning and performance techniques are similar to the erhu.

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