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Organistrum A drawing of the organistrum, here a two man hurdy gurdy, carved in the cathedral at Santiago de Compostella in North West Spain. There's a good casting of this at the V&A museum in London. This carving is nearly 1000 years old, and it's at the very top of the archway - the most important place!
The Hurdy gurdy here is once again next to an ordinary sized descant recorder to give an idea of its size. This one has its cover lifted off so you can see the wheel.

Side View of gurdy.
This style of hurdy gurdy is often described as being a bit like a model of Noah's Ark - perhaps you can see its rather boat-like shape here.

Guitar model HG
This hurdy gurdy has a guitar-shaped body, and a bigger wheel. These combine to give it a bigger sound.
If you look closely you can see the "sympathetic strings."
Here's a close-up: Strings
The sympathetic strings are the three dark wire strings you can see here. They don't touch the wheel at all, but ring in tune when the other strings sound - a sort of early echo effect. If they're really well in tune it's a wonderful, slightly unearthly sound.

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Copyright ©: 2001 onwards Richard York
Revised Aug 2005
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