Gaohu

Name: Gaohu.
Type: Chordophones > Composites > Lutes > Spiked > Huqins.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.7
Payin: 絲 Silk.
Inventor: Lü Wencheng [1898–1981].
Country: China.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The gaohu [in Chinese: 高胡 in Pinyin: gāohú in IPA: kɑ́ʊ̯xǔ] or pronounced in Cantonese: gou1 wu4; also called yuehu [粤 胡]  is a Chinese bowed stringed instrument. It is a member of the huqin family along with the erhu, jinghu, zhonghu, banhu, sihu etc. Its name literally means “high pitched huqin”. Having developed from the erhu in the 1920s by the musician and composer Lü Wencheng. It is used in both Cantonese music and Cantonese opera.

Playing Techniques: most huqin are placed at the top of the left thigh. The traditional gaohu is played with the resonator or body held in between the knees.

Repertoire: The gaohu is the leading instrument of Cantonese music and Cantonese Opera ensembles. Well known pieces composed 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 it is much quieter in volume of sound due to its smaller-sized circular body. A membrane of python skin is is stretched over the front the body. It is tuned a fourth higher then the erhu G4 and D5. A small bridge is inserted underneath the strings it is supported by the tension provided by the membrane.

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