Hurdy-gurdy

The hurdy-gurdy is a string 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.

Hurdy-gurdy
Other namesWheel fiddle, wheel vielle, vielle à roue, zanfona, draailier, ghironda
Classification String instrument (bowed)
Hornbostel–Sachs classification321.322-72
(Composite chordophone sounded by rosined wheel)
Playing range
Related instruments

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. For this reason, the hurdy-gurdy is often used interchangeably or along with bagpipes. It is mostly used in Occitan, Aragon, Cajun French, Asturian, Cantabric, Galician, Hungarian, and Slavic folk music.

One or more of the drone strings usually passes over a loose bridge that can be made to produce a distinctive percussive buzzing sound as the player turns the wheel.


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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Hurdy-gurdy, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.