hurdy-gurdist, hurdy-gurdyist, n.
/herr"dee gerr"dee, -gerr'-/, n., pl. hurdy-gurdies.
1. a barrel organ or similar musical instrument played by turning a crank.
2. a lute- or guitar-shaped stringed musical instrument sounded by the revolution against the strings of a rosined wheel turned by a crank.
[1740-50; var. of Scots hirdy-girdy uproar, influencedby HURLY-BURLY]

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Pear-shaped fiddle, the strings of which are sounded by the rim of a rosined wooden wheel turned by a handle.

A row of keys is used to produce the melody by stopping one or two strings; the remaining strings sound a constant drone. A hurdy-gurdy-like instrument existed in Europe by the 12th century; it took its present shape in the 13th century. It has long been associated with street musicians, and it is still played as a folk instrument in Europe. The name is also often used for the barrel organ, in which a hand crank rotates a barrel inside the case, on which several tunes are encoded, causing a small pipe organ to play.

Hurdy-gurdy played by a French lady of fashion, 18th century

H. Roger-Viollet

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 squat, pear-shaped fiddle having strings that are sounded not by a bow but by the rosined rim of a wooden wheel turned by a handle at the instrument's end. Notes are made on the one or two melody strings by stopping them with short wooden keys pressed by the left-hand fingers. Up to four unstopped strings, called bourdons, sound drones.

      The hurdy-gurdy was first mentioned in the 10th century as the organistrum. It was then a church instrument played by two men, one fingering the keys, one turning the wheel. Secular, one-man forms, called symphonia, appeared in the 13th century. It was fashionable during the reign of Louis XIV as the vielle à roue (“wheel fiddle”) and was played into the 20th century by folk and street musicians, notably in France and eastern Europe. The Swedish nyckelharpa is a similar fiddle with keys, but it is played with a bow.

      Joseph Haydn composed a group of concerti and nocturnes for the lira organizatta, a variety of hurdy-gurdy having several small organ pipes attached to it. The name hurdy-gurdy sometimes mistakenly refers to other handle-operated street instruments, such as the barrel organ and barrel piano.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Hurdy-Gurdy — bezeichnet ist in der englischen Sprache das Wort für Drehleier, ein Musikinstrument. Hurdy Gurdy Girls, Tanzmädchen in amerikanischen Saloons des 19. Jahrhunderts. Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • hurdy-gurdy — ► NOUN (pl. hurdy gurdies) 1) a musical instrument with a droning sound played by turning a handle, with keys worked by the other hand. 2) informal a barrel organ. ORIGIN probably imitative of the instrument s sound …   English terms dictionary

  • hurdy-gurdy — [hʉr′dē gʉr′dē] n. pl. hurdy gurdies [prob. echoic] 1. an early instrument shaped like a lute or viol but played by turning a crank attached to a rosined wheel that causes the strings to vibrate 2. popularly a barrel organ …   English World dictionary

  • Hurdy-gurdy — Hur dy gur dy, n. [Prob. of imitative origin.] 1. A stringled instrument, lutelike in shape, in which the sound is produced by the friction of a wheel turned by a crank at the end, instead of by a bow, two of the strings being tuned as drones,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Hurdy-gurdy — (engl., spr. hördi gördi), Drehleier …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Hurdy-gurdy —   [englisch, hɛːrdɪ gɛːrdɪ], Drehleier.   …   Universal-Lexikon

  • hurdy-gurdy — 1749, perhaps imitative of its sound and influenced by c.1500 hirdy girdy uproar, confusion …   Etymology dictionary

  • Hurdy gurdy — Infobox Instrument color1=#FFD700 color2=#FFEC8B name=Hurdy gurdy names=(Wheel fiddle) range= classification=String instrument (bowed) related= *Nyckelharpa *Bowed clavierA hurdy gurdy (also known as a wheel fiddle) is a stringed musical… …   Wikipedia

  • hurdy-gurdy — UK [ˈhɜː(r)dɪ ˌɡɜː(r)dɪ] / US [ˌhɜrdɪˈɡɜrdɪ] / US [ˈhɜrdɪˌɡɜrdɪ] noun [countable] Word forms hurdy gurdy : singular hurdy gurdy plural hurdy gurdies a musical instrument that plays a tune when you turn a handle …   English dictionary

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