“If I’d been a musician in the sixteenth century, I probably would have picked the Hurdy Gurdy because I imagine it would have made me very popular. Wherever I would have gone, I would have started a party.”
Does a Hurdy Gurdy sound like an all-in-one portable dance band? Take a look and a listen to this string instrument with this Hurdy Gurdy instrument demonstration by Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment musician Adrian Woodward. You might also get a glimpse at the Donkey’s Jawbone, Deer’s Antlers, and a bagpipe.
When we play Bach, we play on instruments and use techniques that would have been familiar to Bach himself in the early 18th century.
Then when we play Brahms, we change our instruments to those from Brahms’ time in the mid-19th century. This gets you closer to the experience you would have had at the time the music was written.
And more about the Hurdy Gurdy, also called a wheel fiddle or wheel vielle, from Wikipedia:
The hurdy-gurdy is a stringed instrument that produces sound by a hand crank-turned, rosined wheel rubbing against the strings. The wheel functions much like a violin bow, and single notes played on the instrument sound similar to those of a violin. Melodies are played on a keyboard that presses tangents—small wedges, typically made of wood—against one or more of the strings to change their pitch. Like most other acoustic stringed instruments, it has a sound board and hollow cavity to make the vibration of the strings audible.
Most hurdy-gurdies have multiple drone strings, which give a constant pitch accompaniment to the melody, resulting in a sound similar to that of bagpipes.
Enjoy a few more unusual instrument videos on TKSST:
• The Waterphone, an inharmonic, otherworldly instrument
• Maywa Denki’s Otamatone Instruments
• What does ‘Beethoven’s Contrabassoon’ sound like?
• Morske Orgulje – The Sea Organ in Zadar, Croatia
• The Great Stalacpipe Organ deep in Luray Caverns
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