Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

The Hurdy Gurdy. What on earth is it? What is its history? How does it work? What types are there? How often might you come across one? Do they graze in.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "The Hurdy Gurdy. What on earth is it? What is its history? How does it work? What types are there? How often might you come across one? Do they graze in."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Hurdy Gurdy. What on earth is it? What is its history? How does it work? What types are there? How often might you come across one? Do they graze in herds?

2 The hurdy-gurdy is a fascinating instrument which dates back to medieval times, but which is today enjoying a popular revival in many countries, particularly France, both as a folk instrument and for the performance of medieval and 18th- century music.

3 The hurdy-gurdy is a stringed instrument with a wheel (or circular bow) which sets several melody and drone strings vibrating together. The melody strings are stopped by tangents attached to sliding keys.

4 The French call it “ la vielle à roue” (wheel fiddle) or simply “vielle,” while in Italy it is the “ghironda” or “lira tedesca”. In German, it is called a “drehleier,” and in Hungary the “Telerokant.”

5 During the 12th and 13th centuries, the hurdy-gurdy is described as either an organistrum or a symphonie.

6 The Organistrum appears first in Spain about 1150 in stone carvings on the doorway of the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. It was a large, bass-sounding instrument, made for two players, one of whom turned the handle while the other used both hands to operate the keys.

7 By the 14 th Century, the Organistrum had given way to the Symphonie, a more practical, one-man version of the instrument.

8 During the 17th and the first half of the 18th centuries, the hurdy gurdy underwent refinements and improvements and its scale was increased to two octaves. An enormous amount of music was written and several tutors were published.

9 During the Renaissance, the hurdy gurdy was a very popular instrument, along with the bagpipe, and a characteristic form with a short neck and a boxy body with a curved tail end developed.

10 Major parts of a modern French-type hurdy gurdy

11 It was about this time that buzzing bridges first appear in depictions of the instrument. The buzzing bridge (commonly called the chien or dog) is an asymmetrical bridge 1 that rests under a drone string 2 (the Trompette) with its foot on the sound board. When the wheel is fractionally accelerated 3 (you could say “punched”) the trompette string is moved upwards and so the foot of the bridge 4 lifts up from the soundboard and vibrates because the tension in the string is pulling it back down again. As the movement is microscopic it creates a buzzing sound. Controlling this effect is one of the most difficult aspects of playing the instrument. 3 1 2 4 Cool stuff, huh..?

12 There are many different types of Hurdy Gurdy.

13 The Symphonie dates back to the twelfth century The design of this model is drawn from the painting on the St. Thomas Altar in Cologne Cathedral which dates back to the beginning of the 16th C. Hieronymus Bosch (1450 - 1516) painted this design in several of his works, the most notable being the large tryptich " The Garden of Earthly Delights ". This form of Hurdy Gurdy was very popular during the late 16th. and 17th. centuries until the "new" guitar and lute bodied forms became the fashion in Paris. It was still being made, particularly in Normandy, until the 19th. century. The Guitar bodied Hurdy Gurdy appears to have made its first appearance by 1511, as it is drawn by Virdung in his " Musica Getuscht". The design became more common in the 18th. century First developed in the 18th century, the Lute bodied Hurdy Gurdy has become the most popular shape in modern times.

14 There is a hurdy gurdy on the Metallica album Reload, played by David Miles on the 11th track, "Low Man's Lyric." The Irish musician Andy Irvine plays the hurdy gurdy on several tracks, most prominently on the tune "Planxty Irvine". The multi-instrumentalist Brendan Perry is also a hurdy gurdy virtuoso and used one in the live performance of "saltarello" in the 2005 tour of his former band Dead Can Dance. Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page can be seen playing a hurdy gurdy in the Zeppelin movie The Song Remains the Same, sitting in front of his 18th century manor at Plumpton, Sussex. The tune played is called "Autumn Lake" The indie rock band The Decemberists employ a hurdy gurdy in many of their songs including Sons and Daughters on their fourth album, The Crane Wife.

15 Brendan O'Brien plays the hurdy gurdy on the track "Into The Fire" on the Bruce Springsteen album The Rising. The folk metal band Eluveitie uses the hurdy gurdy in many of their songs. Sting played a hurdy gurdy accompanying Alison Krauss in the song "You Will Be My Ain True Love" from the Cold Mountain soundtrack. Loreena McKennit has several albums featuring a hurdy-gurdy. The Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire use a hurdy-gurdy on their 2007 album Neon Bible The pagan folk band Omnia has hurdy gurdy on many tracks on their album Pagan Folk (2006), played by Jennifer Van der Harten-Evans. The pagan folk band Faun uses hurdy gurdy on their albums, played by Elisabeth Pawelke. Jim O'Rourke's one track album Happy Days features the hurdy gurdy. Retrieved from ""

16 Hurdy Gurdies are often beautifully decorated:


18 Just in case you think I am the only one…

19 Acknowledgements. I have included images of instruments in this presentation for illustrative purposes. As far as I am aware, I have included pictures of instruments by: Chris Allen Claire Dugue Thanks also to Neil Brook (maker) for permission to use pictures from his website of types of Hurdy Gurdies in slide 13 of this presentation. If any site visitor should notice any omission on my part in this regard, please advise me so that appropriate corrections can be made.

Download ppt "The Hurdy Gurdy. What on earth is it? What is its history? How does it work? What types are there? How often might you come across one? Do they graze in."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google