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Shaoqin: The Fusion of Classical Chinese Strings and Modern Technology

Last Updated on 2023/12/03

Eco-Friendly Design Meets Advanced Sound in the New Shaoqin.

The Shaoqin (韶琴) is an electric variant of the huqin, a well-known family of Chinese bowed string instruments. The Shaoqin maintains the traditional tonal qualities, range, and playing methods of the conventional huqin but expands its expressiveness and versatility.

Innovations in Design and Functionality

One of the key innovations of the Shaoqin is its wide musical range, which extends at least an octave beyond that of the traditional erhu. This is facilitated by a movable bridge, known as qianjin, which allows for a broader range of pitches and the ability to change open string tunings according to the requirements of the music. This feature eliminates the need for different types of huqins like the Changcheng qin or the Erquan qin, as the Shaoqin can cover these ranges within a single instrument. Additionally, the stability of the qianjin ensures that the strings do not detune or produce unintended tones, a common issue with traditional designs.

The Shaoqin’s sound projection is another notable feature. The advanced versions of the Shaoqin include a sound tube that can alter the direction of sound projection, enhancing volume and tonal quality in concert settings. This improvement ensures that higher notes are clear and penetrating, while lower notes are rich and profound.

Environmental Considerations and Material Innovations

In terms of materials, the Shaoqin marks a significant stride in environmental sustainability. It employs synthetic, eco-friendly skin for the drum part of the instrument, replacing the traditional python skin used in erhus. This change not only addresses the inconsistencies and weather sensitivity of natural python skin but also aligns with international animal protection standards against the killing, trafficking, and sale of python skin.

Electronic Integration and Variants

The Shaoqin is designed for electronic integration. High-end models can be connected to various electronic music effectors, broadening the instrument’s applicability in modern music genres. The Shaoqin E variant is specifically tailored for band use, featuring a synthetic material bow, a hardwood sound tube, and a movable qianjin for expanded range. It is designed to enhance string section intonation in ensemble settings, hence the “E” for ensemble.


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