The erhu, also called the Chinese two-string fiddle and Chinese violin, is a string instrument that originated from China over 1,000 years ago. It is made of durable hardwood such as rosewood. It is made up of a long, stick-like neck, two tuning pegs, a sound box or resonator, a python skin, and two strings.
The erhu is a solo instrument. It is played by bowing it while sitting down with the instrument on the left high.
Types of Erhus
Kinds of Erhus include the following:
The traditional erhu of the 18th and 19th centuries is made of authentic huanghuali wood.
Its body is usually carved out of a large piece of wood for maximum durability.
The top is carved in a snake pattern, while the bottom is made with openwork carvings acting as sound holes.
The tip of the fingerboard usually carries handcrafted designs such as boxwood dragons.
The two carved pegs are made of boxwood.
The modern erhu has a body made of durable redwood.
It is made up of two fifth-tuned strings, a long neck, and a snakeskin resonator.
It has geared tuners resembling traditional wooden pegs.
It is usually sold with its own case and bow.
Choosing Erhus (Buying tips)
Bow hair: For more durability, choose an erhu with bow hairs made of metal instead of twisted silk bound to the instrument’s two strings.
Python skin: Choose an erhu that uses authentic python skin to produce the unique sound it is known for. Make sure to buy only from legal erhu manufacturers to ensure that they use python skin sourced from farm-raised animals and not from wild pythons.
Tuning: To get the proper tuning, look for an ehru tuned to the range of 3.5 octaves (D4 to A7).