After nearly 10 years of wanting one, I finally placed an order for my first ehru. To celebrate, I will dedicate this post to this remarkable instrument. The erhu (二胡 pronounced êɻxǔ) is an ancient Chinese bowed-string instrument. It has two strings (D and A above), between which the bow is trapped. Here is perhaps the most famous erhu piece:
The milky sound comes from the resonation panel, which is made of dried, stretched python skin instead of wood. To truly appreciate the subtlety of the timbre, I recommend you listen to a familiar violin piece performed with an erhu, such as the 2nd movement from Carmen’s Fantasy:
I only wish my movements were a beautiful.
While erhus have become very popular solo instruments, they are also used in ensembles and orchestras. This beautiful performance uses an orchestra of almost entirely ancient Chinese instruments:
There are some absolutely incredible instruments in there. I honestly thought going into it I would be able to name everything I saw. That was until those organ-horn things knocked me off my high horse. I have to look into those some day.
The erhu is also used in more modern performances. Now, if I were reading this I would probably stop right here. But, unlike Europe, there are lots of modern Chinese musicians that continue their ancient musical tradition:
Not only is the music nice; but the videography highlights how to play the instrument. She has several other videos (tracks). Check out the right-hand column for more.
女子十二乐坊 – 12 Girls Band
You might also check out 12 Girls Band, who perform ancient and modern music using traditional Chinese instruments. Here they perform a classic Turkish folk tune:
They also perform Baroque:
And even a medley of classical tunes put to 1970’s porn rhythms:
The videographer in this video was a dipshit.
Their first couple of US releases (Romantic Energy and Eastern Energy) we decent CDs and can be found on Amazon.com.