The Erhu


 

Our Instrument

 We managed to build our own version of the erhu with what materials we had on hand, which obviously did not include a python. It was constructed using two guitar strings, a wood dowel, a cookie tin, a block of wood, a broom handle, a bit of nylon string, and a little plastic hinge.

The entire soundbox was just the cookie tin, which we took the lid off; the bottom of the tin serves as the resonating membrane.

We drilled a hole through one side of the tin and stuck in a segment of broom handle, attaching it on the other side with a block of wood.

The two tuning pegs were created out of wood dowels and bits of broom handle, and are friction-fitted in their slots.

The guitar strings are wound on the front side, and go through a small nylon string loop that serves as the upper restriction for the effective vibration length of each string.

The strings then go over a plastic hinge bridge and are held on the bottom of the instrument by two nails.

The bow, taken from an old violin, goes in between the two strings.

And this is what the entire thing looks like when played.

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Copyright 2008 Harvest Zhang & Karen Kaminsky. All Rights Reserved.