The xiqin (Chinese: 奚琴; pinyin: xīqín) was a bowed string musical instrument. It is perhaps the original member of the huqin family of Chinese and Mongolian bowed string instruments; thus, the Erhu and Morin khuur and all similar fiddle instruments may be said to be derived from the xiqin. The xiqin had two silk strings and was held vertically.
Origin and development
The xiqin first appeared in China during the Tang Dynasty, during which time it was used in the palace orchestra and bowed with a bamboo stick. It was further developed in the Song Dynasty, when it began to be bowed with a horsehair bow.
In 1105, during the Northern Song Dynasty, the instrument was described as a foreign, two-stringed fiddle in an encyclopedic work on music called Yuè Shū (樂書; literally "book of music") by the music theorist Chen Yang (陳暘).
The erxian used in nanguan music and the Kyl kiyak used in kuu music of Kyrgyzstan is similar in construction to the xiqin. The Korean haegeum (hangul: 해금; hanja: 奚琴) is also very similar in shape to the xiqin from which it is derived; in fact, its name is simply the Korean pronunciation of the same Chinese characters. The Chinese characters in Cantonese would be hai kum which shows that the name in Middle Chinese would probably sounds more like Cantonese or Korean rather than the current Mandarin transliteration; however, the Mongolian khuuchir or khoochur is seen as directly related to the etymology of Old Chinese, which is retained in the modern Mandarin example of huqin or huchin, which is the general description of all spike-fiddles derived from the ancient nomadic Hu-people, including the xiqin.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved April 7, 2010.
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