The 17th. Century Model

17th Century Hurdy-Gurdy 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 design I use is from the collection in the Paris Conservatoire (Number E 2057 ). It is a fine example of this type and in my opinion typifies what an early Hurdy Gurdy should look like.

Strict copying of the original has one limitation in that there are only 19 keys on the original. My usual design includes one extra semitone as this can be incorporated in the original keyboard size. This still leaves out the three highest keys of the modern instrument but the unavailable keys are very rarely used in modern playing and were obviously not required in playing the music of the period.

The sound of this model tends to be bright and immediate, not over loud but with good carrying qualities.It is built from Sycamore, decorated with pokerwork and finished in a red/brown varnish.

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