Instruments | Hurdy-Gurdy, Organistrum, Sinfonye & Geigenwerk | Medieval Era | Classical
Because the name ‘hurdy-gurdy’ was abducted by the nineteenth-century barrel organ, this instrument is rarely taken as seriously as it deserves. Known as the ‘organistrum’ from the tenth to twelfth centuries, it was a stringed instrument played by a cranked resined wheel, not a bow. It required two operators, one of whom would crank and one play, and it was associated at first with the clergy in choir schools. In the thirteenth century it developed into the ‘sinfonye’, a secular instrument, and could be worked by an individual. There are likely to have been strings besides the controlled ones which sounded throughout as a running accompaniment. The sinfonye has survived best in France.
A Renaissance version of the sinfonye is to be found in the Brussels Collection. This uses not the single 5- or 7.6-cm (2- or 3-in) wheel of the medieval period, but four wheels, each 17.8 cm (7 in) in diameter, their rims covered in parchment. The wheels are intended for different strings and turn at different speeds, the bass slower than the treble, allowing for greater refinement of performance. Made in Germany, it is called by its German name of ‘Geigenwerk’, or mechanical violin.
An extensive music information resource, bringing together the talents and expertise of a wide range of editors and musicologists, including Stanley Sadie, Charles Wilson, Paul Du Noyer, Tony Byworth, Bob Allen, Howard Mandel, Cliff Douse, William Schafer, John Wilson...
Classical, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and more. Flame Tree has been making encyclopaedias and guides about music for over 20 years. Now Flame Tree Pro brings together a huge canon of carefully curated information on genres, styles, artists and instruments. It's a perfect tool for study, and entertaining too, a great companion to our music books.
The ultimate story of a life of rock music, from the 1950s to the present day.
Fantastic new, unofficial biography covers
his life, music, art and movies, with a
sweep of incredible photographs.