Huqins

The huqin family [in Chinese: 胡琴; pinyin: húqín]: Huqins are a family bowed stringed instruments. More specifically played in Chinese music. These instruments consists of a body that maybe round, hexagonal or octagonal sound-box. The sound box is affixed to the bottom of the shaft creating the basic profile. These instruments usually have two tuning pegs attached on either side of the neck.

Varieties: Unusual configurations include three or four stringed versions of the huqin such as the sihu a four stringed bowed instrument. Such configurations include the zhuihu, a stringed huqin, the sihu a four stringed huqin of Mongolian origin and the sanhu a lesser known three-stringed huqin. The most common varieties of the huqin include the erhu, zhonghu a huqin tuned to a lower register and the gaohu tuned in a higher pitch. Over eighty types of huqin instruments have been documented.

Origins: Huqins are believed to have come from the nomadic Hu people, who lived on the extremities of the ancient Chinese Kingdoms. Possibly descending from an instrument called the Xiqin [奚琴] originally played by the Mongolic Xi tribe.

Developments: In the 20th century, large bass huqin such as the dihu, gehu, and diyingehu were developed for use in modern Chinese orchestras. Of these, the gehu and diyingehu would be analogous to Occidental cellos and double basses respectively, and were designed to have a timbre that would blend in with the sound of traditional huqin. These instruments generally have four strings and fingerboards, and are played in a similar manner to cellos and double basses, and are very different from the traditional huqin.

The Huqin Family
Names In Chinese Usage
Erhu or Nanhu 二胡 or 南胡
Erquanqin 二泉琴 Used to play 二泉映月Erquan Yingyue
Erxian 二弦
Daguanxian 大廣弦
Dahu 大胡
Dihu 低胡
Diyingehu 低音革胡
Banhu 板胡 Banzi Opera, Northern China
Gaohu 高胡 or 粤胡 Cantonese Opera
Gehu 革胡
Huluhu 葫蘆胡 Zhuang People, Guangxi Province, China
Jinghu 京胡 Beijing Opera
Jing erhu 京二胡
Kezaixian 殼仔絃 Taiwanese Opera, Taiwan
Maguhu 馬骨胡 Zhuang and Buyei People, Guangxi Province China
Sanhu 三胡 Yi people, Yunnan China
Sihu or Kuuchir 四胡 Mongolian, Inner Mongolian
Tihu 提胡 Chaozhou xianshi / Chaozhou String Poem
Tuhu 土胡 Zhuang people, Guangxi Province China
Tiqin 提琴 Cantonese Opera
Yehu 椰胡
Zhonghu 中胡

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