I have never run across such a tune that requires the E A tuning. I would share your reluctance to tune the D string up a whole step. Erhu strings do come in various gauges, so you might try a set that is on the thin side. Otherwise, you might move the pitch up a half-step to D#/Eb with the tuning peg, and the rest of the way by moving the qianjin down.
I do suggest ordering a few sets of strings. It is good to have at least one spare set at all times.
Post by d̗̰̗͆͘ǎ͔̱͈̰̬̫ͨ̌ͮͥ͗ͭ̕vid on Aug 23, 2019 0:06:03 GMT
I managed to tune it to E pretty easily, with my qianjin being considerably high. I just found some old strings under my bed and decided to use those for testing. The strings I used are Shanghai Dunhuang standard strings, where the inner string’s gauge is at 0.42mm.
BTW, the piece that uses this tuning is called “Gan Che Yao,” which can also be played on a banhu... Here’s a demonstration by erhu performer Ru Yi: youtu.be/IFSUuImUEFs The scores are in the book, “Passion of the Strait...” by Lok Quzhao (Luo Jichao)