Zhuihu

Name: Zhuihu.
Type: Bowed Lute > Chordophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.313.7
Country: China.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The zhui hu [in Chinese: 坠胡, pinyin: zhùihú] also called zhuiqin or zhuizixian also known as Zhuiqin or Zhuizi, is altered from Sanxian [a three-stringed musical instrument] can be used to perform solo and tutti. Since Zhuihu have a wide diapason, a soft sound and relatively high sound volume, performers can use it to imitate the voice of human and animals.

Origins: There is one legend attributed to the origin of Zhuihu. During the Qing Dynasty [1644-1911] Emperor Kangxi forbade all the opera performances in the Forbidden City and artists had to earn a living on the street. One day, an artist’s Sanxian was bitten by mice and the covering leather of the sound box got a hole in it.

In order not to miss the performance, the artist had to use a thin wooden piece to replace the leather and used a bow from Huqin (two-stringed Chinese violin) to play the Sanxian. This musical instrument, that can not only play music but also imitate human voice, was later called Zhuihu.

Citations: Bibliography: Shen, Sin-yan 2001. Chinese music in the twentieth century. Chinese Music Society of North America. p. 30. ISBN 978-1-880464-04-5. Shen, Sin-yan 1991. Chinese music and orchestration: a primer on principles and practice Chinese Music Society of North America. p. 129. ISBN 978-1-880464-00-7 ; Website: web archive  – chinaculture.org [Zhuihu Article]