Saturday, September 6, 2008


The ''konghou'' is an ancient harp. The ''konghou'', also known as ''kanhou'', went extinct sometime in the Ming Dynasty, but was revived in the 20th century. The modern instrument does not resemble the ancient one.

The main feature that distinguishes the modern ''konghou'' from the Western is that the modern ''konghou'''s strings are folded over to make two rows, which enables players to use advanced playing techniques such as vibrato and . The two rows of strings also make it suitable for playing fast rhythms and overtones.


*Wo-konghou or horizontal ''konghou'' first mentioned in written texts in the Spring and Autumn period .
*Su-konghou or vertical ''konghou'' first appeared in the Eastern Han Dynasty .
*The phoenix-headed ''konghou'' was introduced from India in the Eastern Jin Dynasty .

The ''konghou'' was used to play ''yayue'' in the Kingdom of Chu. During the Han Dynasty the ''konghou'' was used in ''qingshangyue'' . Beginning in the Sui Dynasty , the ''konghou'' was also used in ''yanyue'' . ''Konghou'' playing was most prevalent in the Sui and dynasties. It was generally played in rites and ceremonies and gradually prevailed among the ordinary people.

The ''konghou'' in other places

The instrument was adopted in the ancient times in Korea, where it was called ''gonghu'' , but it is no longer used there. There were three subtypes according to shape:

Similarly, the ''kudaragoto'' of Japan was in use in some Togaku performances during the Nara period, but seems to have died out by the 10th century. It has recently been revived in Japan, and the Japanese composer Mamoru Fujieda has composed for it.

Notable ''konghou'' players

*Cui Junzhi


* from The Musical Instruments E-book



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