Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Spiked > Huqin >
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.7
Region: Far East Asia.
Description: The erhu [in Chinese: 二胡; in pinyin: èrhú; in IPA: [aɻ˥˩xu˧˥]]; is a two-stringed bowed musical instrument. The erhu is among the more well known of the entire Huqin family. The lineage of the erhu can be traced back to the proto-Mongolic instruments which first appeared in China during the Tang Dynasty. The erhu was primarily used as an instrument in Chinese Folk Musical instrument in Southern China. Whereas the Sihu a four stringed huqin is played in Northern China. Further development of the erhu continued from 20th century onwards.
Etymology: The first Chinese character of the name of the instrument [二, èr, two] is a reference to the instruments two strings. An alternate explanation states that it comes from the fact. That it is the second highest huqin in pitch to the gaohu in the modern Chinese orchestra.
The second character [胡, hú] indicates that it is a member of the Huqin family, with Hu commonly meaning barbarians. The name Huqin literally means “instrument of the Hu peoples”, suggesting that the instrument may have originated from regions to the north or west of China generally inhabited by nomadic people on the extremities of past Chinese kingdoms.
Citations: Bibliography: onathan Stock. “A Historical Account of the Chinese Two-Stringed Fiddle Erhu” ~ Galpin Society Journal, v. 46 March 1993, pp. 83–113 ; Jonathan Stock 1996 ~ Musical Creativity in Twentieth-Century China: Abing, His Music, and Its Changing Meanings ~Eastman Studies in Music. Rochester, New York: Rochester University Press ; Terence Michael Liu 1988 “Development of the Chinese Two-stringed Bowed Lute Erhu Following the New Culture Movement [c. 1915–1985] Ph.D. dissertation ~ Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Websites: