When it comes to Chinese orchestra public performance, you’ll constantly hear people talking about the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO). After all, it is the sole professional national Chinese orchestra in Singapore. SCO undertakes the mission to inspire Singapore and the world with its music, which is one that integrates elements from Southeast Asian culture.
And you can never ignore the different Chinese orchestra instruments they leverage to help make this possible. One of the most important Chinese instruments worth knowing is the erhu, with a history of over 4,000 years. While it only has two strings, it can convey a wide range of emotions.
Even though some people refer to it as the ‘Chinese violin,’ it differs from the western instrument in numerous ways. In a nutshell, the erhu is played vertically, often resting on musician’s lap. It comes with no fingerboard, so the player’s fingers must hold and vibrate the strings by pressing only against the strings themselves.
Bear in mind this Chinese instrument is already fixed between the two strings, and the bow hair is either pushed forward or backward to catch a string. Music played perfectly resonates from the instrument’s wooden drum that acts as a natural amplifier. Intonation is undeniably one of the most arguable greatest challenges of this instrument since different positions and degrees of pressure can dramatically change the free-floating strings’ pitch.
The other good part of this Chinese orchestra instrument is that it’s incredibly expressive, capable of imitating sounds from chirping birds to neighing horses. Being an alto instrument with a middle-high musical ranges, the melodies can be tender or sonorous. In its lowest and middle range, it is especially stirring and somber. This quality is eminently suitable for conveying the grand pageant of China’s history and the emotions of its people.
The Bottom Line
The erhu is merely one of the many different Chinese orchestra instruments you should know about. It is also vital that you better understand what the Singapore National Youth Chinese Orchestra (SNYCO) entails.
In a nutshell, it comprises of more than 90 highly talented young musicians between the ages of 10 to 26, who are affected through auditions that proves their finest musical skills. To uncover more, simply visit Singapore’s National Chinese Orchestra website. Here, you can better understand what makes the SCO & Singapore National Youth Chinese Orchestra remarkable.