Royal College
Hurdy-gurdy
Royal College Hurdy-gurdy
Royal College Hurdy-gurdy

This hurdy-gurdy is based on a late 16th or early 17th century example in the instrument collection of the Royal College of Music, London. My working plans are derived from an exhaustive set of measurements I took a few years ago.

Hurdy-gurdies of this type were common throughout most of the 16th century and the first half of the 17th. They were also revived at the French courts in the 18th century as "rustic" instruments. A similar instrument in the Victoria and Albert Museum was overhauled in about 1750, with the addition of much ivory and ebony.

Original instrument
Original in the Royal College Collection
Front View
Front View
Back View
Back View

The Royal College model has two chanterelles, mouche, trompette, tenor and bass bourdons, and, unusually, a fifth drone running through the pegbox, between the chanterelles. This can be set up in a number of ways - e.g. as a unison with the mouche or trompette, as a high drone, or tuned to an alternative note to facilitate quick key chages.

There is a built-in storage compartment between the head and the front block, accessed from the underside. This is very useful for storing the tuning peg, cotton, spare strings, and any other small accessories.

The tone is satisfying and rounded, not too loud, but it is incisive enough to play for dancing, and blends excellently with a renaissance guitar.

Soundhole
Soundhole - simple but effective pyrography
Aged finish
"Aged" finish

Sound Clips


C tuning

 


G tuning

 


G tuning, no trompette, keybox drone in g

 

Prices

"Royal College" hurdy-gurdy, natural wood, oil finish
£1800
"Royal College" hurdy-gurdy, aged finish
£1900
 
Cases
Excellent cases can be ordered from specialist manufacturers such as Kingham MTM, but they're pricy. I can supply a simple but attractive plywood case, black with chrome fittings for 150 when ordered with an instrument.
Delivery
Delivery price depends on where you live. Please enquire.
To order or enquire, please contact me
shim