Zhuihu - Chinese Traditional Musical Instruments

13. Bowed String Instrument

The Zhuihu combines the left hand technique of the plucked string instrument Sanxian and the right hand bow technique of the Erhu. The Jinghu, the chief instrument of the Beijing Opera, is smaller in size than the other bowed string instruments. Its timbre is sonorous and bright.

Zhuihu (Bowed String Instrument), also known as Zhuiqin or Zhuizi, is altered from Sanxian (a three-stringed musical instrument), can be used to perform solo and tutti. Since Zhuihu has a wide diapason, a soft sound and relatively high sound volume, performers can use it to imitate the voice of human and animals.

There is one legend about the origin of Zhuihu. In the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Emperor Kangxi forbade all the opera performances in the Forbidden City and artists had to earn a living on the street. One day, an artist's Sanxian was bitten by mice and the covering leather of the sound box got a hole in it. In order not to miss the performance, the artist had to use a thin wooden piece to replace the leather and used a bow from Huqin (two-stringed Chinese violin) to play the Sanxian. This musical instrument, that can not only play music but also imitate human voice, was later called Zhuihu.

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