The hurdy-gurdy is a type of mechanical fiddle which produces sound by a crank wheel that is the "eternal bow." Melody strings are shortened by tangents and a melody is accompanied by the sound of the chanters.


When you play in a sitting position hurdy-gurdy is held on knees, right hand turns the crank and left hand presses the keyboard from the bottom. The crank is connected to the wheel that turnes and rubbes strings, as a bow in other instruments.

At least one string functions as a melody line and is shortened through the keys with wooden dowels. Other strings seem to sound in a constant height - bourdon. Hurdy-gurdy was popular instrument in the music of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, until the early twentieth century, when it became a seldomness.



The instruments recorded in the project come from museum of sound with more than 80 thousand object collections from the National Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw. Together with museum staff we have chosen 23 instruments guided by the following principles – they should be definitely folk, unusual, derived from the old times, Polish and coming from different cultural backgrounds, also exotic like e.g. Asian.

Recording a full range of tone of 23 instruments - tonal and sonic scale lasted several days. Thanks to the recordings - sound banks were created and have been used in the project in two ways. The first way was based on motion-sensitive controllers which created new practical instrumentarium for use during the workshops and animation activities. The second way was placing recorded sounds on the website for promotion of the idea of the project and gathering a great number of recipients.

All instruments were also photographed and described which enabled creating of publicly accessible compendium of information about them.