Thursday, October 19, 2006

Behold, China's pride... or is it? Part 2

Good Midnight Everyone!

One of my CO friend from the school critisied me of being too 'self high' aobut the Ge Hus the school just bought.

Guess what?

I'm gonna 'self high' even more! Hahaha....

Ok now, back to more of the Geek's stuff. Today, I'm gonna talk more about the Ge Hu (


Development of the Ge Hu starts around the 1950s, where there's a need for bass instruments in the Chinese Classical scene. As I mentioned in my previous entry, the Ge Hu is made out of necessity and China's ego.

Like the other Hu Qins (胡琴), the Ge Hu has a sound barrel with a snake skin stretched over one end.

Front of the sound barrel

Back of the sound barrel

However, instead of having the bridge directly in contact with the snake skin like other Hu Qins (胡琴), it links with several connector that are attached to the skin as shown below:

The bridge

Inner side of the snake skin

Gehu is a fusion of the Erhu and Cello. The tone is clear and rich, like the viola da gamba. However, The Gehu has many weakness. It has a tendency to go out of tune easily if too much pressure is apply to the strings. The volume of two Gehus are only equivalent to one Cello. The instrument's volume and tone quality depends on the snake skin. As snake skin are easily damage by humidity, great care must be taken to prevent the deterioration of the skin.

Gehu has become a rare instrument as most of the Chinese Orchestra around the world has replace it with cello and double bass. Therefore, I am very fortunate to be able to play this unique instrument in NYP Chinese Orchestra.

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