No, I didn’t put random letters as the title of this post. The Erhu (or 二胡) is a traditional Chinese musical instrument, and the sound you think of when you think of Chinese music. It’s a 2-string bowed instrument that Westerners often refer to as the “Chinese fiddle”. A traditional Chinese instrument, it’s also used in contemporary music.

The Erhu can be traced back over a thousand years, and were made of python skin and silk strings. In the 20th century, steel strings gradually became the professional way. In 1988, China severely regulated the use of python skin, as the snakes were becoming endangered. From 1 January 2005 onward, each Erhu made had to be certified as using farm-raised python skin and not wild python skin.

This makes them be very expensive. A few months back I looked into buying one, and the cheapest real one I found was over $300. Just the cloth to clean it was over $50. I became interested in the instrument last year, when I visited San Francisco in July 2011. I was walking through Chinatown when I saw someone playing one. It was something I had never seen before, and although I grew up hearing the music of China, I had never heard the instrument live in person, or even knew what made that sound. I was able to take a picture of the person playing it.

Here is a video that explains more


About Trevor Boot

I’ve been officially writing since 2004, when I was 15, but I started writing for fun now and then in 2001, when I was 12. I mostly wrote short stories and poems, but then in 2008, I wrote my first novel, titled Xangsburgh. Before this, my writing never really had any direction. I would just write independent stories that had no connection with each other, so I always had to start over from scratch. With Xangsburgh, I had a fictional city I could base all my stories in, with the stories building on each other. For me, that made writing easier, because now I don’t have to start from scratch every time. I could use Sheriff Brock without having to introduce him every time. In 2011, I realized I really enjoyed taking pictures. Several of my friends would comment that my pictures were near-professional quality. So on top of my writing, I’m also an amateur photographer. In 2014, I published Xangsburgh, as well as a photo book with some of my favourite photos I have taken, and a book of poems I’ve written between 2001 and 2013.
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