The Hurdy-Gurdy is not just a curious 3D puzzle, but a fully-functional musical instrument. An ingenious combination of iconic design, fascinating mechanics and full-fledged functionality makes this model from Ugears absolutely unique.
Just imagine, how the puzzle you singlehandedly assembled becomes not only an animated mechanism but also acquires its own voice! And the range of music styles this voice can cover is impressive: everything from simple nursery rhymes to rock-n-roll in only six keys and two strings – the melody and the drone one.
Working on the model, our designers and engineers drew inspiration from the works of Celtic and Scandinavian medieval craftsmen to merge the original ingenuity with modern mechanics.
For your information:
Did you know that Hurdy-Gurdy, an instrument producing sounds resembling a bagpipe, was invented back in 15th century to serve as accompaniment to folk dancing? Although, some sources claim that the Hurdy-Gurdy's history goes all the way back to the time of the Crusades. It combined the elements of a portable organ and a guitar.
The Hurdy-Gurdy became a common instrument among travelling musicians all over Europe to later win the favor of nobles and move up the social ladder into the rich houses of high society. During the waves of migration from the Old World, it made its way to America, Canada, and Australia gaining vast popularity in the Western world.
In Ukraine, the hurdy-gurdy was primarily an instrument of travelling musicians called lyrists. The lyrists had their own schools that were quite respected and in demand. To graduate, young musicians had to pass an examination supervised by the elders, older experienced lyrists. A successful graduation was followed by an initiation ceremony during which the teacher held a hurdy-gurdy created specially for the student with the belt over his neck and shoulder. The graduate had to cover the instrument with his overcoat and the belt would be moved over from the teacher's shoulders to the student's. For good fortune, the teacher tossed a coin into the sound hole of the hurdy-gurdy.
The Hurdy-Gurdy has a body, front and back covers, gears, crank, keybox, turning pegs, melody and drone strings, and keys. To produce a sound a musician turns the crank that rotates the wheel rubbing against the strings working as a bow in a violin or cello. This makes playing the instrument a fairly easy thing.
The tune is produced by the melody string of the Hurdy-Gurdy. It is backed by the accompaniment of the drone which creates a background sound. Six keys correspond to six notes, the tone changes with the player pressing one of the keys while turning the crank. The seventh note is played when none of the keys are pressed. We recommend to tune your melody string in D using a free online guitar chromatic tuner or by ear. The second, drone string, is recommended to be set in tune with the first one, also in D, or in musical intervals – fourth, fifth, or eighth. The pitch can be changed by turning the wheel on the bridge. A small lever on the keybox removes the background sound and makes the sound clearer.
Like all of Ugears' models, The Hurdy-Gurdy has a meticulously detailed design and comes with all you need to assemble and enjoy. The details are pre-cut by laser in high-quality plywood and pop out of it easily with a light push. Assembly does not require any additional tools or glue and the complete process is described and illustrated in a step-by-step instruction manual.
The model is produced of high-grade wood materials. The only non-wooden parts in the model set are the strings and rosin to increase the friction between the wheel and the strings and improve the sound.
Discover your medieval bard gift together with the Hurdy-Gurdy from Ugears!
Find music sheets (tablatures) on our web-site ugearsmodels.com.