Wed, May 09, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Erhu maker wins copper at competition in Beijing

By Chen Kuan-pei and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Erhu maker Tu Ming-shun holds up a prize-winning instrument at his workshop in Changhua County’s Pusin Township on Saturday.

Photo: Chen Kuan-pei, Taipei Times

Tu Ming-shun (涂明順) on April 26 became the first Taiwanese to receive the copper medal at Beijing’s Exhibition and Exchange of Erhu Making for his scientific innovations in crafting the instrument.

Tu, 52, said he first handled one of the two-stringed Chinese musical instruments when he was nine years old and made his first one at 20.

Over the three decades he has been making erhus, the quality of the materials has always been very important to him, he said.

Tu said he decided to attend the competition in China on a whim after his friend Lee Jung-hua (李榮華) suggested it just before the Lunar New Year holiday, adding that he originally entered only to meet other artisans.

When he began making an erhu to take to the competition, he used only the materials he had on hand: rosewood and Burmese python skin, he said.

Different types of wood used to make the frame — such as old sandalwood, Yunnan pistache or rosewood — produce different sounds, but only the skin on the back of a python would allow the instrument to produce a strong enough sound, Tu said.

Many erhu makers in Asia rely on their own judgement to determine the quality of their instruments, but Tu said he found that using computers or mobile applications allows for a timely analysis of the sound.

Science can help produce an erhu with the best sound, Tu said.

When awarding him the copper medal, the competition’s judges cited his use of science to make the instrument.

Lee, who attended the competition with Tu, won an excellence award for his design.

The erhu-making industry in Taiwan is constrained, as most of the materials are imported, Tu said, adding that he hopes to one day make an erhu that is entirely Taiwanese.

Such an accomplishment would help promote the quality of Taiwanese manufacturing, he added.

Tainan City Traditional Orchestra erhu player Liu Yu-ching (劉于菁) said that Tu’s instruments are always of excellent quality and capable of producing the most exquisite sounds, adding that the award was well-deserved.

This story has been viewed 3165 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top