Huqins

The huqin family [in Chinese: 胡琴; pinyin: húqín]: Huqins are a family bowed stringed instruments. More specifically played in Chinese music. These instruments consists of a body that maybe round, hexagonal or octagonal sound-box. The sound box is affixed to the bottom of the shaft creating the basic profile. These instruments usually have two tuning pegs attached on either side of the neck.

Varieties: Unusual configurations include three or four stringed versions of the huqin such as the sihu a four stringed bowed instrument. Such configurations include the zhuihu, a stringed huqin, the sihu a four stringed huqin of Mongolian origin and the sanhu a lesser known three-stringed huqin. The most common varieties of the huqin include the erhu, zhonghu a huqin tuned to a lower register and the gaohu tuned in a higher pitch. Over eighty types of huqin instruments have been documented.

Origins: Huqins are believed to have come from the nomadic Hu people, who lived on the extremities of the ancient Chinese Kingdoms. Possibly descending from an instrument called the Xiqin [奚琴] originally played by the Mongolic Xi tribe.Developments: In the 20th century, large bass huqin such as the dihu, gehu, and diyingehu were developed for use in modern Chinese orchestras.

Of these, the gehu and diyingehu would be analogous to Occidental cellos and double basses respectively, and were designed to have a timbre that would blend in with the sound of traditional huqin. These instruments generally have four strings and fingerboards, they are played in a similar manner to cellos and double basses, and are very different from the traditional huqin.

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