MUSIC INSTRUMENTS- Bowed Instruments

Bowed instruments consist of a bow made of horse hair that is strung between two strings of the instrument. When played, the bow is used to vibrate both strings, producing a gentle and elegant tone. To produce different tones, the strings are pressed at various harmonic points. Bowed instruments include Erhu, Gaohu, Zhonghu, Dihu, Gehu. The Erhu and Gaohu, two of the most common bowed instruments, are further elaborated below.

Erhu Known as the ‘Chinese violin’, the Erhu is a very popular instrument that is commonly used in many types of Chinese music. It consists of two strings and a sound box covered with python skin. The Erhu is recognized for its unique mellow tone, and its range is approximately 3 octaves.


The Gaohu has the same basic construction as the Erhu, but with a smaller sound box. Its range reaches 2 octaves. Gaohu is commonly used to play lively and fast music, and frequently serves as the leading instrument in folk melodies.

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