Documenting the curious world of the hurdy-gurdy.

Altarwind introduces harmony keys


Altarwind Music, Oregon-based maker of hurdy-gurdies, has announced that it is now offering a third-row of keys on many of its instruments to allow the playing of harmonies.  This is a feature that was pioneered by British maker Chris Eaton and which appears to have inspired Altarwind’s design.

Henry III gurdy plans


Graeme McCormack of Antiquated Strings has uploaded another of his fabulous hurdy-gurdy construction plans.  Ideal for the home builder, or simply as a beautiful poster for your wall.  He writes:

I have just finished Drawing up the Henri 111 Renaissance Hurdy Gurdy. I have modelled it on an existing instrument from Paris circa 1750. The main deviation from the original is that it can play a chromatic 2 octaves, has adjustable bridges and string lifting mechanisms. I have also changed the internal frame to use smaller wood stock. The original has solid end blocks that needed large wood stock to cut them from. There are 9 x A1 size sheets to this plan. I will add more written information as I make this gurdy.

Full size PDF versions of the plans in 9 parts available on his website here.

Short documentary from Belgian TV channel Ring TV, broadcast on 7 March 2010, showing the making of a hurdy-gurdy by the luthier Jacques De Vuyst.  In Dutch.

Museum of Hurdy-Gurdy Luthiers

Website of “La Maison du Luthier, Jenzat”, a museum in Pajot’s house in Jenzat, Bournonnais devoted to the tradition of hurdy-gurdy making.  In their own words:

The Maison du Luthier at Jenzat is devoted to ethnologic heritage, its purpose being to present a very specific tradition in musical instrument-making, shown in its original setting.

The Museum is housed in the former home of the instrument-maker J.-A. Pajot (1845-1920), in the neighbourhood where the hurdy-gurdy makers lived in Jenzat (“Aymard”, “Decante et Cailhe”, “Nigout”, “Pimpard Cousin”, “Pimpard Cousin fils”, “Pajot  fils”, “Pajot jeune”, “Tixier”) Europe’s main centre for the making of hurdy-gurdies in the l9th and 20th centuries.

It includes a collection of hurdy-gurdies and other musical instruments ; a collection of tools used by instrument-makers ; the hurdy-gurdy workshop ; the brass instruments workshop (1934) ; a room for studying and viewing video films about making and playing the hurdy-gurdy ; an interactive terminal.

Hurdy-gurdies have been made in Jenzat since 1795.

More here.

Sons et couleurs

Nice Belgian website by Ruprecht Niepold focused mainly on the hurdy-gurdy.  Particularly nice photo-essay on the construction of a hurdy-gurdy here, a gallery of instruments from different makers here and a frequently maintained list of lost and stolen instruments to keep an eye out for here.

Halsway Schottische

It appears that Nigel Eaton’s composition, Halsway Schottische (or Halsway Carol) has somewhat of a cult following.  This page provides the sheet music for the tune, plus a link to some 40 different arrangements and recordings of it.  What’s more, they’re looking for more!  Record your version and send the link to this email!

Gurdypedia joins Facebook

Gurdypedia has launched its own Facebook page, where future updates to Gurdypedia will automatically be posted.  Subscribe here.

Hurdy-gurdy hospital.  Caroline Phillips, Bidaia's resident singer and hurdy-gurdy player goes to her Luthier's house in Perigord (vert) to get her Hurdy fixed.

There's another app for that...

Hurdy Gurdy - Remix, play and enjoy.  Based on three songs from Bidaia's last album, Duo, this app allows you to play the hurdy-gurdy by moving your iPhone or iPad and create your own mix that can be saved to MP3 format.

Hurdy-Gurdy App

It had to happen.  Play the hurdy-gurdy on your iPhone.  There’s an app for that…

The Hurdy-Gurdy Band

Website of “the Hurdy-Gurdy Band” - a hurdy-gurdy duo.  Features a lot of nice historical images of the hurdy-gurdy - but beware the homepage of the site launches into some unrequested hurdy-gurdy playing, so you may want to turn the volume down on your computer!

Enter the Ukuwheele
Bored of your hurdy-gurdy?  Try the latest in musical instruments - the Ukuwheele - a surprisingly pleasant sounding ukulele, modified with a wheel and manivelle.

Anna Murphy, hurdy-gurdy player for the Swiss folk/pagan metal band Eluveitie, talks about her instrument and demonstrates it backstage at their 4/25/10 show in NYC.

An interview with Matthias Loibner

There’s a great video interview with hurdy-gurdy virtuoso, Matthias Loibner over at interMuse - see here.  Interesting description of the instrument and some fantastic playing. Well worth a watch!

Whilst you’re thinking about Loibner, there are a couple of nice videos on Vimeo of his Winterreise recording.  See here and here.