Min Huifen - Moon (ERHU) [Great Masters & Masterpieces of Chinese Instruments 
Well. After bringing you the great Japanese album which introduced us to the Shakuhachi flute (I assume you read it!), I wanted to have a little look into Oriental music in general and see if I could find something as traditional, authentic and pure but Chinese. I think I have just the album!
Again, we are introduced to a new(to us that is) instrument which is a great Chinese tradition and is worthy of your time so I hope you will read it along with me, before listening to the great music that it produces.
We turn again to that floating oracle, Wikipedia.
The instrument in question is called the Erhu. The basics of it are that it is a violin type instrument. It only has two strings but it does resemble a violin moe than say..a flute!
The entry in wikipedia is here
I will quote a little from it.
'The erhu can be traced back to instruments introduced into China more than a thousand years ago. It is believed to have evolved from the xiqin, which was described as a foreign, two-stringed lute in an encyclopedic work on music by music theorist Chen Yang called Yue Shu (book of music), written during the Northern Song Dynasty. The xiqin is believed to have originated from the Xi people of Central Asia, and have come to China in the 10th century.
...Erhu with liu jiao qin tong (6 sided body)The first character of the name of the instrument, èr, meaning "two", is believed to come from the fact that it has two strings. An alternate explanation states that "èr" comes from the fact that it is the second highest huqin in pitch to the gaohu in the modern Chinese orchestra. The second character, "hú", indicates that it is a member of the huqin family. The name huqin literally means "barbarian instrument," showing that the instrument may have originated from regions to the north or west of China.'
I recommend you go and read the rest. Isn't it fascinating how these instruments and their names always seem to have a story and a history around them that is as interesting as the instrument itself. Moreso I'd say!
So now I will be finding out about the Huqin family of instruments - something I never realised existed...how about you?
I would love to write more about this but my health is still dragging me down so this will be short.
The musician on this album of Erhu music, although I have struggled with online translations (not even sure of the correct album name! Though google translations seem to call it Moon, so I go with that!) and a lack of English information, It seems to be the case that Min Huifen is one of the great musicians of the Chinese traditional music world. (I found this short line of text somewhere: Min Huifen, a renowned mainland erhu (two-stringed violin) soloist - So there is the proof right!). Also, for your information, Min is a woman. Wow! I found a photograph of her too!!
I sincerely wish you a relaxing time with this music.
Comments are most appreciated.
What else would you like?
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