The hurdy gurdy is a traditional European musical instrument. The earliest forms of the hurdy gurdy were in existence at least as early as the 10th century in the Byzantine Empire and by the end of the Renaissance it had spread throughout all of Europe.1 Although designs vary widely, the basic structure of the instrument is an enlarged violin/fiddle like body with a hand crank at its base which turns a wheel that plays several strings to create a constant droning warble. The other end of the instrument has a keyboard which allows the playing of different melodies. The hurdy gurdy explained on English Heritage tv. Unfortunately the hurdy gurdy fell out of use and many variations were extinct by the early part of the 20th century. However the instrument has seen something of a revival recently and is widely used in modern European ethnic folk bands including folk metal bands like Eluveitie.
Traditional Russian song on the hurdy gurdy:
Excerpts from Beowulf recited to a hurdy gurdy:
The hurdy gurdyist from Eluveitie talks about her instrument:
The folk metal song Thousandfold by Eluveitie mentioned in the above video.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurdy_gurdy#Origins_and_history ↩