I’m in the process of composing a chamber piece that involves the beautiful instrument called the erhu. The erhu two-stringed bowed instrument has an unmistakable sound, a singing quality that, when I hear it, often connects me to nature and allows me to rest in the present moment. If you have never heard this instrument before, or even if you have and would like to experience the sound again, I recommend the following video.
There is a wonderful webpage about the erhu written by Lan Tung. As stated on the website by Lan Tung,
“Originated in Central Asia and introduced to China more than one thousand years ago, the erhu 二胡 belongs to the large family of stick fiddles that are found in many countries. Xiqin 奚琴 was the first bowed instrument mentioned in Chinese literature in Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.). It is believed to be the precursor of the erhu. Xiqin was also called huqin 胡琴.
hu = people lived in the north and west of China; qin = musical instrument
huqin = musical instrument of the hu people, explaining its origin
er = two, stating that the instrument has two strings”
Lan Tung, “Lang Tung Music, Erhu”, http://www.lantungmusic.com/erhu/, (accessed February 23, 2016).
I’ve been referring to this website so that I can learn about the playing technique and how to properly compose for the instrument. I’m writing a piece called “The Creation” based on the Genesis account of the creation of the world. My composition will be performed live later this year in an LA Composers Collective concert in Longbeach. More info about the concert to come!