The Erhu is an ancient Asian instrument, brought to China during the Han dynasty (~140 B.C.). It is a member of the huqin family. Bowed instruments became popular in China during the Sung dynasty (A.D. 960-1279). The Erhu is one of the most widely used bowed instruments in China. This two-stringed instrument is played with the bow between the strings in a push-pull manner. The sound box is covered by a serpent skin which gives the instrument its distinctive tone of color.
Played with a variety of techniques, it is now extremely popular for both solo and orchestral performances. In classical Chinese music the Erhu is melodic, haunting, ever changing, and alive. The traditional style of playing is rich in ornamentation, giving the music a deep, three-dimensional quality.