The Electric Hurdy Gurdy

Whether on purpose, or just by dint of fate and coincidence, you've probably heard of the Donovan song "Hurdy Gurdy Man", but you probably never learned what a Hurdy Gurdy is.

Check out this Turkish electric Hurdy Gurdy awesomeness:

If this isn't one of the coolest things you've seen in a while, please feel free to use the contact form to complain to me. :)

Imagine adding a phaser, a wah-wah, or a delay to that sound. Especially after 3:30 or so where the performer goes off the rails using some sampling of what he'd previously played...

The Hurdy Gurdy is an old instrument - it's older than the guitar. It originated around the 12th century, and its probable antecedent (From Wikipedia) was called an Organistrum, played by two players.

The Hurdy Gurdy sounds a bit like a bagpipe, and that that's because of the drone strings. The bagpipe instrument has two drone pipes. Despite having strings, the Hurdy Gurdy is played like something more of a keyboard instrument than a stringed instrument, actually. There is a wheel that is coated with rosin (just like on a violin bow). The wheel is turned to vibrate the drone strings that are on either side of the wheel. On the top of the wheel are the keyed strings. One presses down on the keys to hit certain notes, or one can open the keychest on the top and use pizzicato (plucking) or vibrato effects to the strings.

In the 1300-1400s with the advent of the Renaissance, the Hurdy Gurdy enjoyed its heyday, but towards the 1700-1800s with the associated development of schools of rigorous art-based music (what we call "Classical Music" today), with the historical wars in the Mediterranean against the Ottoman Turks, and a greater desire on the part of artists and listeners to have music with wider multi-note capabilities, music with drone notes was abandoned for the most part by Western and European culture. This is might be a contributing reason why instruments like the Indian Sitar, the Kurdish Tanboor, and the Hurdy Gurdy now sound "foreign" to Western ears - despite the development of the Hurdy Gurdy in Medieval and Renaissance Europe.

This Turkish application of an amplified Hurdy Gurdy could lend a very interesting sound to the Stoner Doom subgenre in Metal today.

Plus, I just like saying "Hurdy Gurdy".

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