Chinese Bowed String Instrument

The "gaohu" is a Chinese bowed string instrument known for its high-pitched yet elegant sound, widely used in traditional Chinese music and operatic performances. Resembling the erhu in appearance, the gaohu is smaller and features shorter strings and a smaller resonating chamber. Players use a bow to play the strings and create soaring tones and emotionally rich music by pressing their fingers on the strings.

The gaohu's sound is often described as high-pitched and elegant. With fewer and shorter strings, it produces higher tones and presents a bright and distinctive musical character. Players use a specially crafted bow to draw the strings at varying angles and speeds, generating diverse tonal colors and expressions.

The gaohu is frequently employed in traditional Chinese music and various forms of operatic performances. It finds extensive use in orchestras, ensembles, solo performances, and theatrical music. The gaohu's tonal qualities can convey heightened emotions and rich sentiments, adding character to roles in operatic performances.

Learning to play the gaohu involves mastering bowing techniques and learning how to draw the bow across the strings to produce the desired tonal qualities. Players also become familiar with finger positions and pressure on the strings to produce different pitches and musical phrases. Additionally, understanding the cultural background and characteristics of Chinese music is crucial for effectively expressing the musicality of the gaohu.

Example of Gaohu

双声恨(广东高胡)- 张玥 / Sorrow of Twin Stars (Guangdong Gaohu) - Zhang Yue