Its name comes from the wooden soundboard covering
the half globular resonating coconut chamber.
Of its many other names the most prominent may
be banghu, 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
Let's begin with some sample music, where you
will hear the Banhu sounds not unlike a high-pitched
fiddle as used in Celtic folk music.
Qi Ban (2.19)
A popular opera tune.
Chuan Xing (12.09)
Journey to the Guanzhong Plain.
Highly recommended for serious
Opera theme song (5.40)
This the Banzhu version of the
Qinqiang Opera is an ancient local
opera in Northwest China's Shaanxi
is the Erhu version of the same
Listen to the Erhu and Pipa working
completely in tandem, especially
at the midpoint of this track -
wonderful combination of instruments!
Recommended Erhu version: Quite
Bang Zi (7.29)
A typical Banhu tune popular in
Qing De Ri Zi (2.43)
The day to celebrate.
Dong Xiao Qu (4.17)
Ditty from Shandong Province. The
title literally means: small bridge
in Shandong Province.
Excellent piece of Banhu music:
Recommended for first time listeners!
Ya Wu Geng (4.59)
Crescent before the dawn.
Another excellent piece of Banhu
Tou Lin (3.51)
Birds flying back to the forest.
and General Information
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.
The two strings are generally tuned a fifth, or
a fourth, apart; and the bow passes between the
strings. 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
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.
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
Closely Related Instruments:
The Yehu, another type of
Chinese fiddle with a coconut body and wooden
face, is used primarily in southern China, especially
The Dangao is from Vietnam,
and was probably introduced by Cantonese settlers
millennia ago as a localised version of the
As far as we are aware, all information and downloads
are either reproduced here with expressed permission,
or obtained from reliable free resources, and comply
with International Property Rights.
Please contact us 'Now'
if you think there is a problem, and we will rectify
the situation immediately
Below: Reunion tribute 2006 Live - excellent music