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  Banhu (two string fiddle)
Ban: flat board; hu:barbarian fiddle

Its name comes from the wooden soundboard covering the half globular resonating coconut chamber. Of its many other names the most prominent may be banhu, referring to its historical use in the northern bangzi opera in the mid-seventeenth century. From them on it came to accompany many other regional operas and popular narratives, spreading over north, northwest and northeast China. That betrays the origin of its strong local opera styles.

The two strings are generally tuned a fifth, or a fourth, apart. Strident and bight in tone quality and characteristic of glissando, the banhu is used as a solo instrument and one of the bowed strings in the modern Chinese orchestra.

Banhu is mainly an accompanying instrument for various local operas in North China. Its construction is basically the same with Erhu, and the most noticeable difference is that Banhu uses a thick wooden board to cover the soundbox instead of snakeskin.

The timbre of the instrument is clarion and bright, which makes it hard to join other instruments for tutti. Therefore it's usually for solo, and Banhu is especially good at presenting joyful and passionate moods.

The banhu (板胡, pinyin: bǎnhú) is a Chinese traditional bowed string instrument in the huqin family of instruments. It is used primarily in northern China. Ban means a piece of wood and hu is short for huqin.

Like the more familiar erhu and gaohu, the banhu has two strings, is held vertically, and the bow hair passes in between the two strings. The banhu differs in construction from the erhu in that its soundbox is generally made from a coconut shell rather than wood, and instead of a snakeskin that is commonly used to cover the faces of huqin instruments, the banhu uses a thin wooden board.

The banhu is sometimes also called "banghu," because it is often used in bangzi opera of northern China, such as Qinqiang from Shaanxi province.

The yehu, another type of Chinese fiddle with a coconut body and wooden face, is used primarily in southern China.

Information extracts reproduced from Wikipedia under 'Collective Commons License'
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