Saturday, September 6, 2008


:''For the Israelite king, see Jehu''.

The ''yehu'' is a Chinese bowed string instrument in the ''huqin'' family of instruments. ''Ye'' means coconut and ''hu'' is short for ''huqin''. It is used particularly in the southern coastal provinces of China and in Taiwan. The instrument's soundbox is made from a coconut shell, which is cut on the playing end and covered with a piece of coconut wood instead of the snakeskin commonly used on other ''huqin'' instruments such as the ''erhu'' or ''gaohu''. As with most ''huqin'' the bow hair passes in between the two strings. Many players prefer to use silk strings rather than the more modern steel strings generally used for the ''erhu'', giving the instrument a distinctly hollow, throaty timbre.

The instrument comes in various sizes. In Chaozhou music it is a leading instrument, and is tuned quite high. In Cantonese music it can be quite large and is often tuned to a relatively low pitch, lower than the ''erhu'' . It is used as an accompaniment instrument in the local musics and operas of various areas, including Guangdong, Fujian, and Taiwan. It is an important instrument in the music of the Chaozhou and Hakka peoples.

Related instruments include the Vietnamese ''&'', the Thai ''saw ou'', and the Cambodian ''tro u''. The ''banhu'', used primarily in northern China, also has a coconut resonator and wooden face but is tuned quite high and has a much brighter timbre.

No comments: