Type: Chordophones > Fiddles > Huqins > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.7
Bayin: 絲 Silk.
Tuning: G4 / D5
Inventor: Lu Wencheng [1898–1981]
Region: Far East Asia.
Description: The gaohu [in Chinese: 高胡 in pinyin: gāohú ; pronounced kɑ́ʊ̯xǔ in IPA; Cantonese: gou1 wu4; also called yuehu 粤 胡] is a Chinese bowed stringed musical instrument, that developed from the erhu in the 1920s by the musician and composer Lü Wencheng [1898–1981]. Primarily played in Cantonese music and Cantonese Opera.
The gaohu belongs to the huqin family of instruments, together with the zhonghu, erhu, banhu, jinghu, and sihu; its name means “high-pitched huqin”. It is the leading instrument of Cantonese music and opera ensembles. As such with other huqin instruments the gaohu is played by resting the bottom of the instrument above a leg when one sits on a chair or ground. Well known pieces for the gaohu include Bu Bu Gao [步步高, Higher Step By Step] and Ping Hu Qiu Yue [平湖秋月, Autumn Moon on Calm Lake].
Construction: The gaohu is similar in construction to the erhu, although where they differ is the shape of their sound boxes, The sound box on the gaohu is circular rather the hexagonal. It is tuned a fourth higher than the erhu G4 D5. The gaohu is placed in between the knees. The sound box is formed when a membrane [python skin] is placed over the front. The over all tone of the gaohu is quiet.