- Andrea Nixon
Mongolian spike fiddle. The Mongolian name is derived from the Chinese name huqin, nowadays used to denote a two-string instrument similar to the Mongolian one, but formerly also applied to plucked and bowed lutes of different types. The modern khuuchir consists of a wooden rod spiked through a small cylindrical or polygonal resonator of wood or tin, with two gut (or nowadays metal or nylon) strings extending from posterior pegs, over a loose bridge on the soundtable of sheepskin or snakeskin, to the protruding spike or a flat base. The back of the resonator is open. A small metal ring attached to a string looped to the neck pulls the strings towards the neck and can be adjusted to alter the pitch of the open strings, which are usually tuned a 5th apart. The instrument is used mostly in ensembles. The Yueshu (12th century ce) describes a two-string fiddle xiqin...