Dahu

Name: Dahu.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Spiked > Huqins.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.7
Era: 1930s.
Country: China.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The dahu [in Chinese: 大 胡 in Pinyin: dàhú] is a large bowed instrument of the huqin family. It is from China. Having a large body. The front of the body is covered with python skin in the same manner as the erhu.

Etymology: The name for this instrument derives from the Chinese word for “large” [dà] and the word [hú] shortened for huqin.

History: the dahu was developed in the 1930s as the tenor member of the erhu family. The erhu being the soprano member and the zhonghu being the alto member.  The intention is to increase the pitch range of the instruments used in a Chinese orchestra. And allow music with harmony to be played.

By the late 20th century the dahu had largely fell into disuse. A part of the reason is for the instrument its self is unwieldy to play. Also like that of other instruments of the huqin family. The bow passes in between the strings; reducing  the ability for a musician to perform pizzicato. The larger gehu, dyingehu, laruan or cello or double are generally used in Chinese orchestras for the lower pitched bass instruments instead.

Construction: A large body is constructed in the same hexagonal manner as seen on the body of the erhu. A neck is inserted into the top of the body, two tuning pegs on either sides are installed. Strings were affixed from the tail piece at the bottom of the instrument, running towards towards the front of the body. Then running over a bridge that is positioned to not stretch the Snake skin membrane.

Citations: Bibliography: Tsui Yingfai [16 September 1998] “The Modern Chinese Folk Orchestra: A Brief History”. In Tsao Penyeh [ed.] Tradition and Change in the Performance of Chinese Music, Part 2. Routledge. pp. 22–24. ISBN978-9057550416 : Websites