Jinghu

Name: Jinghu.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Spike > Fiddles > Huqins > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.7
Bayin: 絲 Silk.
Country: China.
Region: Far East Asia.
Specimens:
Acquisition Source: Rufus Guitars, Kitsilano, Vancouver B.C. Canada.

Description: The jinghu [京胡; pinyin: jīnghú] it is one of the smallest instruments in the huqin family. Primarily played in Beijing Opera. It is the smallest member of the huqin family played by the Han Chinese. It is known by the general term huqin or hu ch’in, which refers to stringed instruments in general though most often fiddles. This produces an especially bright and nasal sound considered ideal for theatre music.

For this reason the jinghu is best known as the main melody instrument for Beijing opera [‘jing’ references ‘Beijing,’ ‘hu’ means ‘fiddle’]. The jinghu has also been appropriated by some regional village ensembles for use in opera mimicry and other folk styles of music. The increased popularity of Beijing opera has led to its more prevalent use in these folk genres.

Construction: The jinghu shares much in common with other huqins like the erhu in its basic construction. The Jinghu includes a body, neck or shaft and two friction tuning pegs.  A small bridge is inserted underneath the two strings. Two slit holes in ovoid shape are cut into the bottom of the shaft prior to inserting the shaft into the sound chamber. The use of steel strings for the jinghu is quite common, creating a nasal sound.

The body of the jinghu is quite small, cut from a piece of a bamboo. A membrane of python skin is stretched over creating the body. The backside of the resonator remains open. The strings are looped over a metal tail pin installed on the bottom side of the resonator.

Citations: Bibliography: Liu, Terence M. 2002 “Instruments: Erhu.” In The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music v. 7. East Asia. ed. Robert C. Provine, Yosihiko Tokumaru and J. Lawrence Witzleben. New York: Routledge, pp. 175-178 ;  Jones, Stephen. 1995. Folk Music of China: Living Instrumental Traditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press ; Pian, Rulan Chao 2002 “Peking Opera: Jingju.” In The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music v. 7. ed. Robert C. Provine, Yosihiko Tokumaru and J. Lawrence Witzleben. New York: Routledge, pp.281-287 ; Thrasher, Alan R. 1984. “Jinghu [ching-hu].” NGDMI v.2: 329. 2000 Chinese Musical Instruments. Oxford: Oxford University Press ; Yung, Bell. 2002 “Chinese Opera: An Overview.” In The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music v. 7. East Asia. ed. Robert C. Provine, Yosihiko Tokumaru, and J. Lawrence Witzleben. New York: Routledge, pp. 275-280. Websites: Grinnell College Of Musical Instruments ;

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