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Sihu music

(chinaculture.org)

Updated: 2013-12-18

Sihu music

The sihu, a bowed instrument, is so named because of its four strings and it is commonly found in Inner Mongolia as well as in northern China under different names.

Year: 2006

Sort: Folk Music

Area:Inner Mongolia

Serial No.: Ⅱ-36

Declarer: Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region

The sihu, a bowed instrument, is so named because of its four strings and it is commonly found in Inner Mongolia as well as in northern China under different names, such as the siguzi, or the sixian (both refer to four strings).

The sihu was invented by the nomadic Donghu people in northern China during the Warring States period(475-221 BC). After the Yuan Dynasty(1271-1368), the art of sihu spread and had a far-reaching impact on Han folk singing. Tongliao City (the hinterland of the Horqin Grassland) is now the best place to find sihu.

There are three types of sihu; the alt, the mediant and the bass. The alt sounds clean and neat, while the mediant sounds thick and full.

Both the stick and the resonator are made of wood. There are three kinds of resonators; round, hexagon and octagon. First string and second string are the same tone as the third and forth strings respectively. The bow is fastened in two bunches by horsetail strings, both of which are inserted between the first and second strings, and third and forth strings respectively.

The sihu is roughly similar to theerhu, except that one plays with one's left hand the finger joints, not with one's fingertips. In the accompaniment to Mongolian narrative songs, fingernails are often used on the inner side of strings. In addition to accompanying narratives, the instrument is also seen in ensemble and local operas, such as shadow plays.

The sihu played an important role in Mongolian cultural life. There are many representative repertoires, such as the Eight Tone, the Hurry on Journey and the Asir.

The sihu is an excellent Mongolian creation and is highly valuable for academic study.

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