Tag Archives: Fiddles

Fiddles

Igil

Name: Igil.
Type: Chordophones > Spike > Fiddles > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.7
Country: Tuva, Russian Federation.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: An igil [in Tuvan – игил igil] is a two-stringed Tuvan musical instrument, played by bowing the strings. It is called “ikili” in Western Mongolia.

Playing Techniques: The igil is held nearly upright when played, with the sound box of the instrument in the performer’s lap, or braced against the top of the performer’s boot. The igil is fretless, the performers fingers do not touch the neck, the finger-nails or finger tips glide across the strings during performance. The bow is held with an underhand grip.

Construction: The neck and sound box, are usually made of a solid piece of pine or larch. The top of the sound box may be covered with skin or a thin wooden plate. The strings, and those of the bow, are traditionally made of hair from a horse’s tail. In which the two strings are strung parallel from head stock to tail end of instrument.

Modern igil often have nylon strings. Like the Igil’s close relative, morin khuur of Mongolia. The igil typically features a carved horse’s head at the top of the neck above the tuning pegs, and both instruments are known as “horse-head fiddles”.

Citations:

Haegeum

Name: Haegeum.
Type: Chordophones > Spike > Fiddles > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.313.7
Country: Korea.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The haegeum [in Hangul: 해금 haegeum] It is also popularly known as kkangkkang-i [in Hangul: 깡깡이], kkaengkkaeng-i [in Hangul: 깽깽이], or aeng-geum [in Hangul: 앵금]. The haegeum is a traditional bowed and vertically held stringed instrument that is played in Korea. The haegeum is one of the most widely played instruments in Korean music. It is used in court music as well as madagnori, commoner’s or ordinary people’s music. 

History: Little recorded information exists about the exact era when the haegeum was introduced into Korea. Although the haegeum is documented in several sources including the Akhak Gwebeom. It was also documented in hanlimbyeolgok [the unrhymed verse and songs of the royal scholars] also published during the Goryeo dynasty. So it can be inferred that the haegeum has been played at least since then. 

The sohaegeum [소해금] is a modernized fiddle with four strings, used only in North Korea and in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in China.

Construction: The haegeum constructed from using eight sonorous materials within the Chinese classification system of music. The materials included are metal, stone, silk, bamboo, gourd, clay, hide, and wood. The overall length of the haegeum from body, neck to head stock measures in length to about 70 cm. Each of the two pegs are 2.5 cm in diameter and 11 cm in length. The sound box or body has has a surface of paulownia [Paulownia tomentosa] wood at the front. The sound box is open at the rear. The pegs have spools which access string is wound.

The wood used in the construction of the haegeum quince tree, mulberry tree, large sized bamboo or xylosma tree, mulberry tree, large sized bamboo or shiny xylosma. The middle plate called ‘bokpan’ consists of eucommia bark or paulownia tree. The neck [called ‘ipjuk’] is made of dark coloured bamboo [烏斑竹] with many joints, and it is attached on a sound box with a cast iron stick inserted through it. The surrounding part of holes for ‘jua [two small sticks to tune strings]’ is covered with silver or a pisolite [an alloy or a zinc].

The surrounding region in where the holes for the tuning pegs is called the “jua” is covered with silver or a pisolite [alloy].  The jung-hyeon [inside string] is a thicker diameter than the yoo-hyeon [outside string]. With a thin leather or a string [called ‘chaeseung’], from about 2 cm below ‘jua’, the two strings ‘yoo-hyeon’.

Citations: Bibliography: Song Hyon ed. Akhak Kwebōm [Guide To The Study Of Music] Seoul, 1943 / R1975, 7-8am9a ; Chang Sa-Hun; Han’guk akki taegwan [Korean Musical Instruments] Seoul, 1969, p 611 ; Stanley Sadie ~ New Grove Dictionary of Music Book G to O Page 116 ; Websites: Doosan Encyclopedia / Haegeum [article] Translated from Korean in Google Translate ; Haegeum in print [.pdf] translated from the original text, sampled is a page on the haegeum described in the Akhak Gwebeom ;

Zhuihu

Name: Zhuihu.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Spike > Fiddles > Huqins > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.313.7
Bayin: 絲 Silk.
Country: China.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The zhuihu [in Chinese: 坠胡, pinyin: zhùihú] also called zhuiqin or zhuizixian, Zhuiqin or Zhuizi. It is altered from Sanxian, a three-stringed musical instrument. The zhuihu spread in the Henan, began to be used as a solo instrument during the 1950s. Since Zhuihu have a wide and longer body than the erhu in comparison.

It The scale range of zhuihu is similar to the two stringed huqin, zhonghu. They possess a soft sound and relatively high sound volume. This allows for performers to imitate the voice of human and animals. The zhuihu is rarely played today.

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 upright bowed spike lute] 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] ; Zhuihu Demonstration Video presented by youtube channel HKCOHuqin2009 ;

Sihu

Name: Sihu.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Spike > Fiddles > Huqins > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.313.7
Bayin: 絲 Silk.
Country: China, Inner-Mongolia.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The sihu [Chinese: 四胡; pinyin: sìhú] known as a ᠬᠤᠭᠤᠴᠢᠷ / Хуучир / Khuuchir in Mongolia, where this term define the whole hugin family. Is a Chinese bowed string instrument with four strings. The instrument’s name comes from the words sì 四, meaning “four” in Chinese, referring to the instrument’s number of strings. Hú 胡 is short for huqin, the family of instruments of which the sihu is a member.

Repertoire: The sihu is primarily associated with the Mongolian culture. It is played by Mongolians in Mongolia and those who reside in the Inner-Mongolia Autonomous Region of China. The Mongolians call it the Khuuchir. It is also used as a traditional instrument in the Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang provinces of China.

It is also used as an accompanying instrument in various Chinese narrative genres, including Beijing dagu, plum blossom dagu, xihe dagu, Tianjin new tunes, Shandong qin shu, Northeast dagu, Hubei song, Shaoxing lianhua luo, Shanxi er ren, Inner Mongolia er ren, northeast dance duet, lucky play, Beijing opera derived drama from ballads, Hebei Pi Ying [shadow theatre] and Henan erjiaxian traditional entertainment involving talking, singing, and drama.

Similar instruments include the Mongolian dörvön chikhtei khuur literally translates to “four eared fiddle” and the Tuvan byzaanchy. In China, dörbön chikhtei khuur [Chinese: 胡兀尔 or 都日奔齐和胡尔] is considered an alias of sihu.

Tunings: There are several sizes of sihu; this instrument is tuned fifths. From the smallest of the sizes tuned to D / D / A / A. The medium instrument is tuned too G / G / D / D and the lowest of these is generally tuned C / C / G / G ;

Sihu Tunings
Names Tunings
  D / D / A / A
  G / G / D / D
  C / C / G / G

Construction: Its soundbox and neck are made from hardwood and the playing end of the soundbox is covered with python, cow, or sheep skin.

Citations:

Tihu

Name: Tihu.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Spike > Fiddles > Huqins > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.313.7
Bayin: 絲 Silk.
Country: China.
Region: Far East-Asia.

Description: [in Chinese: 提胡 ; in Pinyin: tíhú] it is a two stringed vertical bowed instrument and as such it is a member of the huqin family a subgroup of the spike fiddles category. The tihu is played in Chaozhou xianshi music of the Chaozhou people. It is an adaptation of the gaohu used in Cantonese music.

It is used in the Chaozhou people’s original homeland of Chaozhou and Shantou, in eastern Guangdong, as well as in regions where Chaozhou people have immigrated, such as Thailand and Singapore.

Playing Techniques: The tihu is generally held with the resonator between the knees. It is considered a supporting instrument in the Chaozhou xianshi ensemble. It is tuned lower than the erxian and plays in a slower, more lyrical fashion.

Construction: It has a tubular hardwood body that is covered on the playing end with python skin.

Citations:

Zhonghu

Name: Zhonghu.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Spike > Fiddles > Huqins > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.7
Bayin: Silk 絲.
Tuning: A E or G D.
Country: China.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The zhonghu [in Chinese; 中胡, pinyin: zhōnghú] is a low-pitched Chinese bowed string instrument. Together with the erhu and gaohu, it is a member of the huqin family. It was developed in the 1940s as the alto member of the huqin family [similar in range to the European viola] to increase the pitch range of the instruments used in a Chinese orchestra. The zhonghu is analogous with the erhu in shape and overall sound, but is slightly larger and lower pitched. Its body is covered on the playing end with snakeskin.

Tuning: The instrument has two strings, which are generally tuned to the interval of a fifth to A and E or to G and D this latter tuning equivalent to the violin’s lowest two strings.

Erxian Tunings
Name In Chinese Tunings
Zhonghu 士-工 A / E
Zhonghu 合-尺 G / D

Citations: Bibliography: Tsui Yingfang, archived from 14 May 2014 The Concise Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, Volume 2. Routledge. p. 1119. ISBN 9781136095948 ;

Morin Khuur

Name: Morin Khuur.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Spike > Fiddles > Huqins > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.7
Tuning: F / Bb
Specimens: 2 in collection.
Country: Mongolia & Inner Mongolia, China.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The name morin khuur [in Mongolian: Морин хуур or ‘moriny tolgoit khuur’] is used to denote a fiddle having a horse head often with a dragon’s head underneath. Heads of dragon, birds, sea monsters etc. This iconography also found on Tibetan lutes.

Construction: The morin khuur is built around a trapezoid frame. A recent practice from violin luthery has been adapted being the addition of a sound post. This is to allow the ease transmission of sound through the body and the rest of the instrument. A neck is mounted later in the assembly process.

Having two friction tuning pegs on either side at the top of the instrument located right where the horses head would be. F-holes as seen on the violin are sometimes carved in to Morin khuur [as seen on my specimen].

Citations: Bibliography: Marsh, Peter K. 2004 ; Horse-Head Fiddle and the Cosmopolitan Reimagination of Mongolia ISBN 0-415-97156-X ; Santaro, Mikhail 1999 Морин Хуур – Хялгасны эзэрхийгч, available in Cyrillic ; ISBN 99929-5-015-3 and classical Mongolian script ISBN 7-80506-802-X Luvsannorov, Erdenechimeg 2003 Морин Хуурын арга билгийн арванхоёр эгшиглэн, ISBN 99929-56-87-9 ; Pegg, Carole 2003 Mongolian Music, Dance, and Oral Narrative: Recovering Performance Traditions [with audio CD] ISBN 978-0-295-98112-3 ;

Jiaohu

Name: Jiaohu.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Spike > Fiddles > Huqins > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.7
Bayin: 絲 Silk.
Country: China.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The jiaohu [角胡; pinyin: jiǎohú] it is a Chinese bowed stringed instrument of the huqin family. The name of the instrument derives from jiǎo [角] meaning “horn” and hú [胡] short for huqin. It is very similar in shape and its neck is length to the jinghu and erhu. Being a member of the huqin family, it is a bowed instrument, unlike the European violin the bow passes in between the strings. This approach to stringing the jiaohu is the same as the erhu. The Jiaohu is featured in Chinese operas, especially in Beijing.

Usage: As with many of the diverse instruments in China, many Huqin stringed instruments were used in feudal times to accentuate traditions, festivals, rituals and court life. Many woodwinds, drums, and stringed instruments including the Jiaohu were used in ensembles to give operas more emotional meaning. The jiaohu is used primarily by the Gelao people of the southern Chinese province of Guangxi.  

Construction: Its sound box is made from the horn of a cow. The open front end of the sound box is covered with snake skin. As with many of the diverse instruments in China.  

Citations: Bibliography: Websites:

Daguangxian

Name: Daguangxian.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Spike > Fiddles > Huqins > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.313.7
Bayin: 絲 Silk.
Country: China & Taiwan.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The daguangxian [in simplified Chinese: 大广弦; traditional Chinese: 大廣弦; pinyin: dàguǎngxián; literally “great, broad string instrument”] is a Chinese bowed two-stringed musical instrument in the huqin family of instruments. It is used primarily in Taiwan and Fujian, among the Hakka and Min Nan peoples. It is also referred to as datongxian [大筒弦], guangxian [广弦] and daguanxian [大管弦].

Playing Techniques: The Daguangxian is held on the lap and played upright in a similar manner to the erhu.

Citations:

Diyingehu

Name: Diyingehu.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Spike > Fiddles > Huqins.
Hornbostel Sachs No#: 321.322.5
Inventor: Yang Yusen [1926-1980].
Country: China.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The bass gehu [in Chinese 低音革胡; pinyin: dīyīngéhú, pronounced; tíín kɤ̌ xǔ]; also called digehu or beigehu 倍革胡, literally “bass gehu” is a Chinese bowed string instrument in the huqin family. It was developed by Yang Yusen along with the gehu in the 20th century. It has four strings and is the Chinese equivalent of the double bass.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites: