Saturday, September 6, 2008


The ''gaohu'' is a string instrument used in playing traditional Cantonese music and Cantonese opera. It belongs to the ''huqin'' family of instruments, together with the ''zhonghu'', ''erhu'', ''banhu'', ''jinghu'', and ''sihu'', its name means "high pitched ''huqin''". It has two strings and its soundbox is covered on the front end with snakeskin .

The ''gaohu'' was developed in the 1920s by the musician and composer Lü Wencheng and is now the leading instrument of Cantonese music and opera ensembles; prior to this the lead bowed instrument was a similar instrument called ''erxian''. The ''gaohu'' is similar in construction to the ''erhu'' but has a slightly smaller soundbox, commonly circular, and is tuned a higher, to G4 and D5. Whereas most ''huqin'' is placed on top of the left thigh, the traditional ''gaohu'' is played with the soundbox held in between the knees. It has a brighter and lighter tone as compared to the ''erhu''. Well known pieces for the ''gaohu'' include ''Bu Bu Gao'' and ''Ping Hu Qiu Yue'' .

Although originally a regional instrument used only in Cantonese music, the ''gaohu'' is used in the modern large Chinese orchestra, as part of the string family, along with the erhu, zhonghu, banhu, cello, and double bass.

Notable ''gaohu'' players include:
*Lü Wencheng in Chinese
*Liu Tianyi in Chinese
*Gan Shangshi
*Yu Qiwei in English in Chinese

Audio Sample

Video Sample

Video of Mr Yu Qiwei performing the ''gaohu'' piece ''Ping Hu Qiu Yue'' . Link:

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