Erhu and Haegeum, Sound Magic of Two Strings

Chinese Fiddle, Erhu

The erhu and Haegeum is a two-stringed bowed musical instruments, more specifically a spike fiddle, which may also be called a Southern Fiddle. Haegeum is Korean instrument originated from Chinese Erhu. They are sometimes known in the Western world as the Chinese, Korean violins or a their two-stringed fiddle.

Both Erhu and Haegeum is used as a solo instruments as well as in small ensembles and large orchestras in their traditional music field. A very versatile instrument, the erhu is used in both traditional and contemporary music arrangements, such as in pop, rock and jazz.

Korean Fiddle, Haegeum

Chinese Erhu is the most popular of the huqin family of traditional bowed string instruments used by various ethnic groups of China. The Erhu can be traced back to proto-Mongolic instruments introduced to China more than a thousand years ago the xiqin is believed to the origin of Erhu and have originated from the Xi people of Central Asia, and have come to China in the 10th century.

Erhu means two strings’s Huqin family’s instrument, Hu commonly meaning barbarians from regions to the north or west of China generally inhabited by nomadic people on the extremities of past Chinese kingdoms.


Blind Chinese Street Musician – Beijing (1930)

Korean Haegeum is also one of the most popular instrument of Korea as like the Erhu in China. It is believed to introduce to Korea from China in Goryeo( 918–1392) dynasty. And the development of the instrument and the playing style was especially in Joseon Dynasty (1392~1897).

Korean Haegeum playing with Janggu

The haegeum is one of the most widely used instruments in Korean music. The haegeum is used in court music as well as madangnori(ordinary people’s music). Similarly to Chinese Erhu, The haegeum’s range of expression is various despite having only two strings, with sounds ranging from sorrowful and sad to humorous. The haegeum is made using eight materials: gold, rock, thread, bamboo, gourd, soil, leather, and wood, and so it is called paleum (eight sounds). In the modern period, the haegeum is popularily adopted to collaborate with various kind of musical genres such as Western classical music, jazz, rock, and any others.

TeRra™ Magazine


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