The Erhu—The Chinese Violin

27 Apr

It was in Santiago South America that I was first introduced to the Erhu. Ana and I had been exploring the streets of Santiago, Santiago was not new to Ana, but was an exciting new experience for me. The architecture that dated back over a hundred years was mesmerizing, there were elements of many pre colonial countries still in existence and their buildings beautifully presented and maintained. Some had seen the brunt of earthquake damage as did many normal buildings.

Every street and every corner led to a new adventure, the streets were alive with the vibrancy of the people and culture, food stalls dotted the footpaths with their enticing aromas, street buskers added to the flamboyancy of the streets, buskers who portrayed statues, motionless until approached, street pavement artists with their beautiful paintings depicting various scenes, magicians to enthrall the crowds, and in between were street stall holders, selling a vast array of goods from decorative jewelry to shirts and sunglasses. Every street giving off a carnival atmosphere. Interposed were dancers in National Chilean costumes giving demonstrations of the National dance The Cueca.

We entered one street that was set back from the main thoroughfare, here I could hear the strains of music that did not seem to be the normal mixture of Chilean music, this music had more of a classical sound to it, or an Asian sound to it, it reminded me a little of the music I recall in Vietnam in 1970. We continued on towards the origins of this incredible music, and came across a young Chilean teenager playing a very unusual instrument, the music he made was absolutely beautiful, captivated I watched as he played this two stringed instrument and produced the most hypnotic sounds that entranced the mind.

After the young Maestro finished his music, I had questions to ask, and through my interpreter wife Ana, we found out the name of the instrument, it was a Chinese Erhu, the young player had been taught it at one of the musical academy’s in Santiago. His busking was his income and we bought one of his CD’s and congratulated him on his performance. From that moment on it became my desire to obtain an Erhu and endeavour to learn. Back in Australia through our many travels I realised that obtaining this instrument was no easy task, the music stores had never heard of the instrument, it is only now that I have learnt it is called the Chinese Violin in Western countries but still where to obtain one was still a problem.

Last week we visited Adelaide in South Australia for a few days, it was there in Chinatown that I saw my beloved Erhu, at a small stall were two young Chinese girls selling Chinese musical instruments, and they also demonstrated playing the instruments. We purchased the Erhu and also received some papers in respect to having lessons on the Erhu by the noted player Zhao Liang. Having come this far in my quest for the Erhu there was no question in not taking up lessons to learn to play this exquisite instrument, the only problem is we live about four hour away from Adelaide; however we have plans to continue with the instrument, but need to work out a lesson itinerary to accommodate travel.

I have included a video clip of the Erhu being played by a professional, however I assure my readers I have no aspirations to reach the standards of the Masters of the Erhu, they are truly the Masters. If I can make some sounds and enjoy the instrument then it has all been worthwhile. Please listen to the music and I am sure you will find the hauntingly beautiful music as captivating as we did.




Posted by on April 27, 2016 in Uncategorized


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50 responses to “The Erhu—The Chinese Violin

  1. Michiko

    May 31, 2016 at 9:57 am

    There was no question in not talking up learn for the play this exquisite instrument!
    I Hope you having a good time Ian ..I has no idea of thinking of my head it going to be OK…
    Have a nice weather for your home.

  2. auntyuta

    May 29, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    I am just listening to the music. I, too, find it hauntingly beautiful!
    Thanks, Ian, for recently visiting many of my posts. We’ll be busy this week getting ready for another trip to Berlin. We should arrive there on Saturday. We’ll be meeting Peter’s and my family together with many of our Australian family. 🙂

    • aussieian2011

      May 30, 2016 at 8:12 am

      Glad you enjoyed that instrument and the beautiful music it makes.
      Wishing you all the best on your trip back to Berlin.
      Kind regards to you both.
      Pack the camera.

      • auntyuta

        May 31, 2016 at 4:20 am

        Yes, I’m sure, we’l be taking a “few” pictures. Maybe I’ll be able to publish some straight away.

  3. Renee Espriu

    May 28, 2016 at 3:02 am

    What an unusual instrument and quite beautiful in its’ lilting notes as though it is singing to you. I wish you well in the learning of it. I love music and the violin, fiddle or this Chinese version of the same is an instrument worth learning.

    • The Emu

      May 30, 2016 at 6:26 am

      Hi Renee, hope you are doing well, thanks for the visit.
      I loved the Erhu when I first heard it, I hope with lessons I will do it justice.
      Best wishes and kind regards.

  4. Eddie Two Hawks

    May 24, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    beautiful music, precious post.
    thrilled to have stopped by Ian

    • The Emu

      May 30, 2016 at 5:42 am

      Thanks for the visit Eddie, much appreciated.
      Glad you enjoyed the music.
      Kind regards.

  5. Eric Klingenberg

    May 22, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    You really know how to describe a street scene. I should get you to give me lessons.

    • aussieian2011

      May 23, 2016 at 7:34 am

      Thanks for the compliment Eric, it was easy to do over there, as everywhere I looked something was happening.

  6. Monica

    May 19, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    just beautiful, Ian – somehow I associate these sounds with Chinese music

    • aussieian2011

      May 23, 2016 at 7:37 am

      Hi Monica, thanks for the visit, glad you enjoyed that music, it really is a hauntingly beautiful sound.
      Hoping you are well.
      Kind regards.

  7. reocochran

    May 18, 2016 at 10:41 am

    Hell my friend, am off to work but will check in to see how you and Ana are doing. . .<3 ❤

    • aussieian2011

      May 18, 2016 at 10:44 am

      Always a pleasure to have you visit Robin.

      • reocochran

        June 26, 2016 at 1:13 pm

        Please edit the accidentally used “hell” I meant Well! I am a bit embarrassed and should this happen again please delete. I don’t use swear words except “sh*t.” It is not usually considered so bad here. . . Sending you smiles and hugs!!

        • aussieian2011

          June 26, 2016 at 1:50 pm

          All’s good Robin, think I will leave it as Hell, because then all I have to do when I see it, is to imagine an O and a visit from Robin.

  8. Laine Anne Jensen

    May 12, 2016 at 3:42 am

    I wish I had more time to read and comment on your posts, Ian. Today is my last post on wp but I wanted to stop by and tell you that though you see yourself as an amateur writer, I believe you are fabulous. It’s always the one no one expects that ends up shining brightest. Keep writing. Sending my utmost respect ❤ Laine Anne

    • aussieian2011

      May 12, 2016 at 5:19 am

      Thank you Laine for that beautiful comment, it truly means a lot to me, I see glancing through my as yet unanswered emails that you are leaving, your presence on Word Press will be sadly missed by many, including me, I wish you much pleasure and Love in the journeys in your life.
      Kindest regards and Best wishes.

  9. Sue Dreamwalker

    May 7, 2016 at 9:57 am

    What a beautiful instrument Ian.. I had not even heard of the Erhu before.. What a lovely choice to learn to play.. I wish you well in your musical pursuits Ian.. This music gave me goosebumps .. Its almost Ethereal, so very enchanting… Thank you Ian for sharing.. And I loved your narration through the streets as you came across this instrument being played.. Wonderful read Ian.. Give my best also to Ana.. Love and Hugs to you both

    • aussieian2011

      May 10, 2016 at 1:07 pm

      Hi Sue, glad you liked my choice of instruments, I have no major aspirations with it’s melodious notes though, as long as it stirs my Hearts emotions I will be happy, no matter what the sound.
      Do hope your problems with your computer are rectified soon, they do tend to piss one off sometimes.

  10. Laine Anne Jensen

    May 3, 2016 at 4:08 am

    Really wonderful, Ian. For some reason you no longer appear in my reader but I will keep checking in with you for more of these lovely writes 🙂

    • The Emu

      May 5, 2016 at 8:16 am

      Hi Laine, thanks for that comment and pointing out a problem I am having, running two sites can become a headache, seems not everyone follows both my sites, and don’t know I have two sites, I delete from one site but it appears to affect both sites, I delete follow comments and lose people, so at this stage I will just leave things as they are, I think I have you now back in both sites, Cheers.
      Emu aka Ian

  11. reocochran

    April 30, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    The Chinese violin is an amazing contradiction! I would never have guessed this instrument could produce such a beautiful sound but knowing, trusting you I expected this. Thank you, Ian for opening my mind to another instrument. 🙂

    • The Emu

      May 1, 2016 at 10:03 am

      Glad you liked my introduction to the Erhu Robin, it really does make a beautiful sound, I have no aspirations of elevating myself to the standards of the real masters, just a pleasure for me to experiment with.

      • reocochran

        June 26, 2016 at 1:15 pm

        I believe you may accomplish more on that stringed instrument than you think, Ian! xo ❤

        • aussieian2011

          June 26, 2016 at 1:52 pm

          When I feel confident I may post my skills, at the moment they are Z

  12. giselzitrone

    April 30, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    Ein schönes Instrument liebe Grüße und einen schönen ersten Mai eine Umarmung Gislinde

  13. Br Andrew Efo

    April 29, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    There are many Chinese or Asian buskers about Sydney City who play it but I have yet to hear it played like this.

  14. prenin

    April 28, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    A wonderful instrument Ian – if you master it then I am sure you’ll have a talent to treasure! 🙂

    Love the music video – quite haunting!!! 🙂

    God Bless!


  15. lafayetteangel

    April 28, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    The sound of the instrument is quite lovely.

  16. wonkywizard

    April 28, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Excellent Duet: er hu by Yu Hong Wei and pipa by Zhao Cong.

    • aussieian2011

      April 28, 2016 at 9:38 am

      Thanks for taking the time to check out my post.
      Are you familiar with the Erhu?

      • wonkywizard

        April 28, 2016 at 1:46 pm

        I love Chinese songs and music, but I am not a musician at all, and am not familiar with any musical instrument, East or West.

        • aussieian2011

          April 28, 2016 at 2:49 pm

          We have one thing in common then, I am not a musician either, will be interesting to see where I end up with the Erhu.

          • wonkywizard

            April 29, 2016 at 2:08 am

            I end up with music in poetry

  17. davidprosser

    April 28, 2016 at 7:06 am

    The music would go well with the romance of your other blog Ian.

    • aussieian2011

      April 28, 2016 at 9:37 am

      Thanks David, you are right, that music would really go well with the words in my other posts on my Aussie Ian site, thanks for taking the time to check my post out.

  18. George Parsons

    April 28, 2016 at 1:38 am

    Beautiful sounds, a real pleasure to listen to.
    Cheers mate

    • The Emu

      April 28, 2016 at 4:11 am

      Thanks George, glad you appreciated my story and video clip.
      Hope all is well with you mate, I do run another site on here if you care to have a look.
      Mainly Love and Romance.
      Cheers mate and all the best.

  19. GP Cox

    April 27, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Glad to see you are feeling good enough to put in two posts today.

    • The Emu

      April 28, 2016 at 4:14 am

      Not really feeling that good gp, need a few more weeks to get back to normal, eating mainly soups and yoghurt these days, miss a great piece of steak medium rare. The posts didn’t take long, the Erhu was a quick story, the other was already drafted.
      Cheers mate.

  20. GP Cox

    April 27, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Both instruments seem to be singing the words. A unique sound for Westerners.

    • The Emu

      April 28, 2016 at 4:16 am

      You are correct in how you understood the sounds gp, that’s how it impressed me.
      It is a very hauntingly Eastern sound, that does have a mesmerizing effect.
      Don’t think my efforts will raise me to that standard of playing.

      • GP Cox

        April 28, 2016 at 5:50 pm

        You can try…..

  21. derrickjknight

    April 27, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Captivating, indeed

    • aussieian2011

      April 27, 2016 at 1:57 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to read Derrick.


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