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date: 19 November 2019

Huobusilocked

  • François Picard

Extract

Chinese long-necked lute. Traditionally it is shaped like a ladle, with a deeply curved body carved of rosewood, walnut, or red cedar, and integral, unfretted neck terminating in a pegbox with four pegs inserted from the back. Four single silk strings are attached to a tail-button and cross a low bridge standing on a snakeskin soundtable. The strings are tuned in 4ths, with a range of two octaves and a 3rd. The huobusi is related to the Central Asian qobuz (Chinese kaobusi, hupo, or hubo) and to the Tibetan sgra-snyan (Chinese zhamunie). The various forms of the name huobusi (hunbusi, hebisi, huobusi, hupoci, wubosi, hupoci, haibosi, and hubo) indicate the adaptation of a foreign name, whether qobuz, kamuz, or qanbūs. Introduced under the Tang dynasty (it appears in murals in Turfan, Xinjiang), it is documented under the name huobusi during the Yuan dynasty. It was one of the instruments played in the courtly Xiansuo ensemble from the Manchu period, where it was played probably not as a plucked lute, but, like the ...

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