Appreciate traditional erhu music by a local Chinese musician

Have you watched a music performance in the library recently?

Each year Christchurch City Libraries celebrate NZ Music Month with performances by local musicians. Particularly, some musical artists with overseas backgrounds and experiences introduce a variety of world music to us. 

If you are interested in this category of music, join us to appreciate traditional Chinese erhu music performance in South Library at 4 pm on Thursday 16 May

The erhu, also known as the Chinese violin, is a Chinese two-stringed bowed musical instrument. It is composed of a drumlike soundbox, a vertical post, two strings, two tuning pegs, and a bow. The two strings are supported by the post pierced into the soundbox covered with a patch of snakeskin. Without a fingerboard, the erhu produces the characteristic sound through the vibration of the snakeskin by bowing. The tautness of the strings is determined by the pressure of the performer's fingers. The variation in string tension produces a range of sounds and conveys a wealth of feelings. The unique features of the musical instrument mean that a player is not only required to have musical talent but also practice diligently to master it.

The origin of erhu can be traced back to the Tang dynasty (618-907). During this period, many Chinese ethnic minorities played a musical instrument called xiqin, a prototype of the erhu. There were few written records about erhu as its playing technique was passed down by oral tradition. The earliest images of this instrument were found mainly in the caves of the ancient Silk Road.

With modern development, the erhu is played as both a solo instrument and in Chinese opera performances and traditional orchestras. The erhu classics like Er Quan Ying Yue (Moon reflection in Erquan) and Sai Ma (Racing Horses) are well-known among the Chinese. 

On Thursday 16 May, Jeffery Zhao from the local Chinese community will perform the erhu music at South Library.

Jeffery is a Chinese instrumental musician and a community leader in Christchurch, New Zealand. He is recognised as one of the leading figures of new style traditional Chinese music and has been to South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Australia and other countries to perform at international exchange programmes, art festivals, and solo concerts.

In New Zealand, Jeffery is active in various cultural exchange events and festivals and has made significant contributions. Since 2017, he has collaborated with musical artists from the University of Canterbury School of Music and successfully organised a series of the China New Zealand "Golden Ribbon" International Culture and Arts Festivals. 

Thank Jeffery Zhao for sharing his photo and bio used in the blog post.  

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