Die Drehleier

by Marianne Bröcker

This part of the website is an English translation of the definitive hurdy-gurdy reference book Die Drehleier (The Hurdy-gurdy), written by Marianne Bröcker. For general information about this translation please see the Index Page.

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Chapter 8: The Modern Repertoire


A. The Use of the Hurdy-gurdy in Modern Times

The hurdy-gurdy was played in many European countries up until the 19th and 20th centuries, but except in France there are almost no musical sources which would permit a general view of the instrument's repertoire. The music intended for the hurdy-gurdy was preserved mainly by being handed down orally, and it was only the last decades that some of the melodies played on this instrument were written down. These few examples together with numerous examples in the literature of earlier centuries indicate that since the end of the Middle Ages the hurdy-gurdy was used consistently in two musical areas: as an instrument of the itinerant musicians and beggars and as an instrument of the local country musicians.

As in the Middle Ages (see page 288) the hurdy-gurdy was very popular as an instrument for accompanying song for a long time afterward (compare ills. 41, 133, 148, 152, 154, 161, 163, 170, 199, 223, 224, 226, 227, 228, 233) [figlink]. Thus in 15th century England music was played much for entertainment and sung stories were especially liked, which were accompanied by various instruments, among these the hurdy-gurdy [fn][1]; this was a method of presentation which is testified to even in 17th century England:

".............. with the sound
Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet" [fn][2].

In England in the 18th century the hurdy-gurdy was still


used to accompany song, so for example in a burlesque ode, composed by Bonnel Thornton and intended for the 30th of May 1763, Saint Cecilia's Day, in which the author calls upon all instruments to celebrate the Saint's Day. This ode, introduced by an overture, was presented with music. The individual parts consisted of recitatives, instrumental pieces, and vocal pieces with instruments, among these an air sung and played with the text:

"With dead, dull, doleful, heavy hums,
With mournful moans,
And grievous groans,
The sober Hurdy-Gurdy thrums" [fn][1].

Edward Jones reports of an old custom which in his time, the end of the 18th century, was still practiced in Oxfordshire and North Wales. There at Christmas times mummers marched about presenting old plays, dancing and singing and receiving apples or nuts in payment. In some of these events the mummers grouped together with musicians and sang this tune accompanied by the hurdy-gurdy:

"My father he killed a fine fat hog,
And that you may plainly see;
My mother gave me the guts of the hog,
To make a Hurdy-Gourdy" [fn][2].

In the 18th century therefore the hurdy-gurdy in England still belonged to those instruments which were used in country


festivities, probably for dancing [fn][1].

Even during the height of vocal polyphony in the 15th and 16th century, in Spain the hurdy-gurdy and the songs it accompanied, the romances and the 'canciones' derived from these, lost none of its popularity with the nobility and the common people: "Y si la Reina Católica tenía sus cantores e instrumentistas, también nos dirá luego Cervantes que las gentes de ciudad cantan romances viejos y nuevos acompañándose de la zinfoña en las horas de reposo común" [fn][2] [translation JW: And if the Catholic queen had her singers and instrumentalists, Cervantes would later tell us that the town's folk sung old and new 'romances' accompanied by the hurdy-gurdy in their leisure time.] In the 16th century the romances disappeared gradually from the popular music of Spain and were partly replaced by religious songs which were presented in a tired and complaining tone. These religious and sentimentally presented songs were recalled even up until the 20th century in the Andalusian and Levantine coastal regions, when blind beggars presented their songs or prayers in the last week of Lent to the accompaniment of a guitar, which replaced the old hurdy-gurdy ("con su guitarre en sustitución de la antigua zanfoña".) [fn][3] [translation JW: "with their/his guitar instead of the old hurdy-gurdy"].

In Germany besides the accompaniment of secular songs the hurdy-gurdy also served in the performance of religious songs. Of one hurdy-gurdy player it is reported in the 17th century that she had "einer Äbtissin auf einem grossen und reichen Stifft zu gefallen ihre Leyr gestimmt / um derselben ein Liedlein: und zwar ein geistlichs / aufzuspilen" [fn][4]. A similar report concerning the playing of sacred songs is given somewhat earlier by Sethus Calvisius in a letter to Michael Praetorius, in which he says of the hurdy-gurdy that it has three drone strings and one melody string, on which a choral piece was played to the constant sounding of the drones: "auff der Leyre aber wol drey oder vier


Seiten / als Nemblich eine Quinta, vnd Octava, zugleich durch drey Saiten: Vnd wird darnach vff andern Clavirn welche die vierde Saeite treffen vnd anrühren / etwas anders im füglichen Choral darin moduliret". In the same context Calvisius mentions that the choral piece was played on the hurdy-gurdy like a shepherd's dance. "Dieselbe Claves haben sie stets gehen vnd Thoenen lassen / vnd darnach einen Choral der aus dem c / d / oder e / gangen / vnd sein Fundament darinnen hat / darein geschlagen / wie man auff dem Instrument ein Schaeffertanzt schlegt" [fn][1]. With the reference to playing dances on the hurdy-gurdy, Clavisius indicates the use of the instrument for dance music. The author mentions this explanation of the manner of playing a choral piece on the instrument and seems thereby to be giving expression to a well known fact With this he also indicates the most important function of the hurdy-gurdy in the later centuries.

In Germany the hurdy-gurdy served also in the 15th century as an instrument for dances:

"Und die wib mit den liran
Land die iren selten firen
Und machend den andren tanz" [fn][2]
[And the woman with her hurdy-gurdy / seldom lets her instrument rest / and gets everybody to dance].
Here the hurdy-gurdy is not only played for dancing, but the line "land die iren selten firen" ["seldom lets her instrument rest"] also shows that the hurdy-gurdy player was in great demand as a dance musician. Further testimony from this time:

"Egkerleich sol ain leirn han,
Schürzenesl sol die truml schlan,
Götz und Panz Sollen machen den tanz" [fn][3].

In the 17th century the hurdy-gurdy was still played frequently "vor


den Thüren und auff Jarmärkten / Bauren Täntzen und Kirchweyhen" [fn][1]. [translation JW: "at the gates and at annual markets / country dances and church fairs"]. We do not know how the dance music played on the hurdy-gurdy sounded. The "Ungarescha" in a collection by Jacob Paix, dated 1583, could however provide one reference point (ex.1). [fn][2]

A 16th century French report relates the story of a man from the Auvergne, who with his four boys and his hurdy-gurdy traveled throughout all of France [fn][3]. The boys sang and danced and the father sang and played the hurdy-gurdy. A few references of the narrator indicates which dances the boys performed to the accompaniment of the hurdy-gurdy. He reports for example how well and precisely the boys could dance the branle and how well they could mark the beat with their wooden shoes in the clog dance [fn][4]. On the advice of an old player in Lyon the narrator should sing his chansons in the Provençe and above all play the lively bourrées of the Auvergne, This would distinguish him from the players there and make him popular [fn][5]. In Toulouse he played his dances on the Promenade, received much money for this and noted: " Les Toulousains aiment beaucoup à danser" [fn][6][translation JW: "Toulousians really love to dance"]. This report must be dated to the reign of Henri II since the harder times of Francis I are repeatedly referred to. [fn][7]

Likewise from the 16th century comes the description of the marriage of King Anarche in Francois Rabelais' (1494-1553) 'Pantagruel'. Just one single


blind hurdy-gurdy player was engaged for the celebration, and he had to provide the dance music for the guests: "et, pour les faire dancer, loua un aveugle qui leur sonnoit la note avecques sa vielle" [fn][1]. [translation JW: "and, to make them dance, hired a blind man who played on his hurdy-gurdy"]. Even in the 17th century people gladly danced to the sound of the hurdy-gurdy after supper: "Le souppé finy l'on fit joüer au vielleux toutes sortes de danses, et les jeunes hommes qui estoient là monstrerent la disposition de leur corp au son d'un agreable instrument" [fn][2][translation JW: " after supper the hurdy-gurdy players were requested to play all sorts of dances, and the young men present displayed their physical fitness to the sound of this pleasant instrument"].

In 16th century France the hurdy-gurdy for a little while found a use which it had already once had in the Middle Ages: it belonged for a brief period to the court instrumentarium of the last king of the house of Valois, Henri III. The proof that it was played at the king's court is provided by the beautiful instrument of illustration 178 (see page 155) which is decorated with the French coat-of-arms and the initials of the king and his mother. Already at that time then the hurdy-gurdy was represented at the French court. It did not however become the favorite instrument of the French aristocracy until the 18th century.

An individual repertoire for the hurdy-gurdy can be first established only in the 18th century, namely when the interest of the French aristocracy for bagpipes and hurdy-gurdies increased so much that music was composed especially for these instruments. The reasons which led to the rise of bagpipes and hurdy-gurdy into the courts of France lie in this society's search for a way of passing the time. Next to other entertainments in 17th century France there also already existed a preference for shepherd and peasant plays which, other than in the England of Elizabeth I, did not only filter down into the shepherd poetry, but also into music. In England music was played only at shepherd festivities, like the beginning of spring and the autumn solstice whereby the shepherd's instruments, especially the bagpipes, always remained in the hands of the


shepherd [fn][1]. The fashion in France on the other hand had quite different effects.

The French shepherd fashion which had already begun under Louis XIII lasted more than 150 years until the very beginning of the French Revolution. The peculiar aspect of this trend was that people did not just limit themselves to adapting shepherd motifs to poetry, but even took up the shepherd's musical instruments and introduced them into society. Anton van Dyck (1599-1641) painted the French book dealer Langlois with a musette [fn][2].

Up until the 16th century the bagpipes belonged to the instruments of the French court music [fn][3] but then lost its place in the orchestra. It was in the 17th century that the first peasant instrument was again received into the instrumentarium of good society.

The most important difference between the old French cornemuse and the musette of the 17th and 18th century court consisted in that the blowpipe of the cornemuse was replaced by small bellows operated by the arm. This device, which had already been introduced at the beginning of the 17th century [fn][4], formed the prerequisite for the long-lasting popularity of the musette in courtly society. Since the bagpipes were played by the ladies as well as by the gentlemen of the aristocracy, it was probably quite quickly removed from the mouth once blown, since blowing required some exertion and would have shattered the desired picture of charm and elegance.

Martin Hotteterre, a member of the famous Hotteterre family, added an additional improvement to the instrument: he extended the tonal range by adding a


a second small pipe on which the accidentals could be played: "pour faire les dièzes et les bémols" [fn][1].[trans JW: "to play sharps and flats"].

The attention of the society to playing the musette found its first results in the "Traité de la musette, avec une nouvelle méthode pour apprendre soy-même á jouer de cet instument facilement et en peu de Temps" [trans JW: "Treatise on the musette, with a new method to teach oneself to play this instrument easily and in a short time"], by Charles-Emmanuel Borjon, appearing 1672 in Lyon [fn][2].

Although the musette was hard to play, it remained popular among the aristocratic amateurs during the entire 17th century. Under Louis XIV there existed a special division of royal music in the so-called "Bande de la Grande Ecurie". Each of the 25 musicians of this band had to master two instruments. Besides flutists, oboists, drummers, kettle-drummers, and trumpeters (among whom since 1679 there were also crumhorn players and tromba marina players) in this ensemble there were four musette players who had been engaged from the Poitou [fn][3].

Aside from the large Marstall band [?? original text has "Marstallkapelle"] for outdoor performances the musette was also used for other occasions. At a memorable festivity, which was given in 1688 the Prince of Condé in Chantilly in honour of the Dauphin Louis, the host appeared as Pan accompanied by a procession whose members were costumed as shepherds or shepherdesses or as satyrs. They all danced and leaped to the sound of oboes, bagpipes and similar instruments [fn][4]. Jean Baptiste Lully used the musette in some works, in which he wanted to show the pastoral character of a scene on the stage [fn][5].


In the last third of the 17th century the hurdy-gurdy was also received into the instrumentarium of courtly society. The introduction of the hurdy-gurdy into the aristocracy is often viewed as a curiosity, but it is to be considered simply as a consequence of the adoption of the musette, without the popularity of which the sudden prestige of the hurdy-gurdy could not be explained.

There are above all two things that smoothed the hurdy-gurdy's way into society. The musette which had been familiar to the aristocracy for some decades already had indeed been improved upon, but had not been robbed of its inherent character of sound: it maintained even as a social instrument its constantly sounding drone pipes.

Since the sustained tones of the hurdy-gurdy are like those of the bagpipes, and its drone sound was familiar to the members of courtly society for a long time, there was no trouble in making the court society accustomed to the sound of the hurdy-gurdy.

Considered from the point of view of repertoire it was favorable for the instrument that a preference for dances and small musical forms existed, from the "Ballets de Cour" of Louis XIV through the 'comedie-ballets' of Lully to the first French operas in the last third of the 17th century.

Thus the sudden enthusiasm of the court is understandable, when towards 1680 the itinerant hurdy-gurdy players La Roze and Janot emerged, whose repertoire consisted mainly of contredanses, menuets and entreés. La Roze was not a particularly good musician, but he understood how to present these popular dances in a pleasing manner, and he sang vaudevilles to the accompaniment of the hurdy-gurdy. The second of these itinerant hurdy-gurdy players, Janot, could play and sing even better than La Roze. Besides dances and vaudevilles he also played the most well-known pieces from Lully's operas [fn][1]. The members of the court were enthused, so that La Roze and Janot could establish themselves as teachers and instruct a great number of students.

It is not to be thought that La Roze and Janot were


the first hurdy-gurdy players who found an ear in the court. There were certainly numerous hurdy-gurdy players in the streets of Paris, although they probably did not attract attention because they did not play the hurdy-gurdy as it was used in the provinces as these two musicians did. If the hurdy-gurdy players were not previously noticed despite the fact that the musette and its drone sounds had already been popular for a long time, then this can only be grounded on the supposition that not only the repertoire but also the manner of presentation of the beggars differed from those of these two players. This is supported by the report that songs were composed for La Roze and Janot which "dans le caractere de la Vielle jouée par les Aveugles", of which two begin with the words: "Je vis content avec ma Vielle" and "Dieu qui fait tout pour le mieux" [fn][1][trans SB: "in the style of the hurdy-gurdy played by the blind," "I live in contentment with my hurdy-gurdy", "God who makes all for the best".]. It cannot be established where the two musicians came from. Their repertoire of dances as well as their presentation of them, which was distinguished from the monotonous performance of the beggars, indicate that they came from the country. They probably arrived in Paris as wandering musicians and played there for various occasions, especially however for dances, as the other hurdy-gurdy players of this time also did: "Les vielleurs vont joüer de porte en porte pour faire danser les servants, les enfants, les paysans" [fn][2] [trans: SB: "The hurdy-gurdy players go from door to door to make the servants, the children and the peasants dance".]

A reference to the different manners of presentation between beggars and dance musicians is given by Jean Baptiste Lully. In 1661 he included two hurdy-gurdy players in the "Ballet de L'Impatience", without causing any excitement in a public accustomed to the sound of the bagpipes. It is true that the composer used the hurdy-gurdy also as an instrument of the blind [fn][3] and displayed it in this way to a public which had long been familiar with this.

The interest aroused in the hurdy-gurdy by La Roze and Janot was only short-lived, and once again the instrument was entrusted to the folk musicians and to the blind,


before it achieved a longer lasting success in society [fn][1]. This quickly fading interest had several causes. The sound of the instrument was quite nasal since at this time it still had the third melody string, the "voix humaine" (see page 156). Also many of the French hurdy-gurdies at the beginning of the 18th century the almost square shape of the beggar and country instruments [fn][2]. In this form however the hurdy-gurdy did not yet possess the fullness of sound of the later "vielle en guitare" and "vielle en luth". Also, Louis XIV's favorite instrument was the guitar, and he could never come to like the hurdy-gurdy, and it was forbidden for a court member to have a taste different from that of the king [fn][3].

During the regency the Versailles lute-maker Bâton began to convert guitar (1716) and lute bodies (1720) into hurdy-gurdies (see page 158), giving the instrument a more pleasing tone. Bâton further improved the exactitude of the keys so that the notes sounded even clearer in playing melodies [fn][4] and beautified the instruments with carved heads which finished off the pegheads and by decorations on the hurdy-gurdy's body. In the course of the years the hurdy-gurdy received even further improvements, but in form and tonal range it remained essentially as Bâton introduced it.

[rest of page 309, all of p. 310 missing.]



B. The Hurdy-gurdy Compositions Which Have Been Preserved

The hurdy-gurdy found itself quite quickly in the hands of many ladies and gentlemen of polite society. This society however was not familiar with the usual folk music for the hurdy-gurdy and could therefore not turn to an already available repertoire. If the instrument was to really serve for their entertainment, new music was to be written. The teachers from whom the aristocrats learned to play the hurdy-gurdy usually composed for this instrument as well. Johan Friedrich Agricola, the royal composer to the Prussian Court, expressed his amazement in a remark about the vielle in France: "Es gibt dort sogar Compositionen dafür." [fn][1] [" There are for this even compositions there".]

In their compositions the authors catered to the instrument and their pupils, in that they limited themselves mostly to very simple melodies and at the same time acknowledged the taste of the period, which called for short dance movements.

Thus there arose in the 18th century a great quantity of compositions for the hurdy-gurdy, and they all are almost completely uniform. Except for a few examples these compositions have no individual style or particular characteristics. One characteristic however is their ability to be played on different instruments. The pieces were written not only for the hurdy-gurdy or the musette; the composer mentioned in the titles almost always an entire row of different instruments which could be used as well: like transverse flute, the recorder, the violin, and the oboe.

Although the number of instruments for this music varied, this had no particular influence on the shaping of the melody. The preferred devices of alternating notes, short runs (ex. 2) and dotted rhythms (ex. 3) always remained the same. In the use of the individual types of rhythm an especial preference for triple rhythm is apparent, for which the reason is


that the accentuation and the uneven crank movements are easier in 3/4, 6/8, or 12/8 time and with the frequently occurring triplets (ex. 4).

Two pieces for the hurdy-gurdy which are unique in their technique are given by Francois Bouin in his method "La Vielleuse habile" with directions for playing these pieces. It is concerned with playing in chords. The pieces are so written as if thirds were to sound at the same time, and this, insofar as the melody strings are not tuned in thirds, is not possible on a hurdy-gurdy. The chords are supposed to be played by constantly alternating both notes. The key of the lower note is kept pressed in and that of the hurdy-gurdy the note is alternately pressed in and release again, so that a type of trill in thirds occurs [fn][1] (ex. 5).

Aside from the compositions for a single hurdy-gurdy there arose also works for the hurdy-gurdy and a figured bass. One example of this is a piece called "Fuga" from a collection of sonatas for hurdy-gurdy and figured bass by Bouin (ex. 6). The long dotted notes of the melody line are shortened in the bass, whereby an imitation occurs. The figured bass was also often used in imitation of other instruments, the tambourine for example, by being played harmonically and rhythmically scarcely or completely unchanged like a continuously repeated drone (ex. 7).

The greatest number of compositions are for two hurdy-gurdies, two musettes, or two other instruments. These compositions indicate the popularity of duos; in many of these pieces one voice follows the other in sixths or thirds (ex. 8, ex. 9). There are however a number of pieces in which one of the instruments, instead of accompanying the main voice in thirds or sixths, has more of a supporting role which is confined to the principal notes (ex. 10, ex. 11). In example 12 the main voice is executed on only one of the instruments, while the other embellishes the melody line; or both voices are equal as in a 'fugue' by


Michon (ex. 13). With the help of fast sixteenth runs or chordal breaks which one of the instruments has to play, it is often attempted to portray the character indicated by the title of the piece. Compositions of this sort has titles like "Le Tourbillon" (ex. 14) or "Lea Fureurs" (ex. 15). For two hurdy-gurdies however there were also more technically demanding pieces written, which could only be performed by skilled players.. The difficulties of these pieces lay in the rhythms which were hard to accent (ex. 16) as well as in change in rhythms (ex. 17).

Pieces intended for one hurdy-gurdy or one musette differ in no way from those written for two hurdy-gurdies or two musettes. The same thing applies to pieces in which a basso continuo is added to the melody line. Usually there is no indication given as to which line was written for which instrument (ex. 18), and the few pieces in which the composer did indicate the instruments for each voice show that the reverse arrangement would also have been possible without changing the character of the piece (ex. 19, ex. 20) In example 21 however, the two hurdy-gurdies prescribed, which accompany two equally pitched voices, could not have been exchanged for musettes, since the loud sound of two bagpipes would have drowned out the voices.

Compared to the numerous small pieces for two instruments (hurdy-gurdy or musette or hurdy-gurdy and musette) with or without general bass, the number of pieces written for more than two instruments is relatively small. There are several concerti with longer movements and in larger format by Michel Corrette . In the first five of these three movement concertos the composer used the hurdy-gurdy or musette. As in the other compositions the three melody instruments can be exchanged ; the concerti can be played on musettes, hurdy-gurdies, transverse flutes, recorders, oboes and descant viola da gamba with figured bass. The organ served as a general bass instrument. The individual voices


are handled quite simply (ex. 22): Usually two and sometimes all three melody instruments proceed in unison, whereby the leading instrument is given long solo passages (ex. 23).

A work peculiar to the instrumentation is a cantatille by Le Menu de Saint-Philibert entitled 'La Vielle' for one voice, hurdy-gurdy, or flute, violins and bass. Le Menu gives exact directions for the execution of the instrumental accompaniment and the general bass, which is supposed to be played by a harpsichord with lute stop so that a dampened tone will be produced. In the first part as well the violins are not to be bowed but plucked. The cantatille has three movements, in which a secco-recitative is flanked by two non-identical airs (exs. 24, 25, 26, 27). Except for a few places in which the soprano is accompanied by the hurdy-gurdy in thirds (ex. 28, ex. 29) the hurdy-gurdy is normally quiet when the soprano begins and is limited to two interludes.

Besides the compositions of the teacher and the virtuosi for the hurdy-gurdy there were also a great number of arrangements of other works; among these the arrangements from popular opera or ballet pieces were especially favored. But these arrangements were only seldom indicated as such by the arranger or editors. A great number of dances and airs appeared in several collections. In most of these 'recueils' the names of the composers were not mentioned, although on the other hand the titles of the larger works from which these individual pieces were taken were named. In the case of some of these collections only the editor or the hurdy-gurdy composers are known, who arrange the pieces for the instrument :

Mme Boivin (ed.), Vaudeville, Menuets, Contredances et Airs détachés chantés sur les Théatres des Comédies Française et Italienne, 1 (-13e) Partie, lesquels se jouent sur la flute, vielle, musette, violon... Paris o.J. (ca 1745). [trans SB: Vaudeville, Minuets, Contredances and Melodies "Detaches" sung at the French and Italian Theatres, 1st through 13th parts, which may be played on the flute, hurdy-gurdy, musette, violin..."]

Bordet (ed.), Troisième Recueil d'airs en duo tirés des opéra de Mrs. Rameau, Rebel et Francoeur, et autres; opéra comiques, parodie... choisis et ajustés pour les flutes, violons, pardessus de violes et dont le pluspart peuvent se jouer sur la vielle et la musette, Paris (1770). [Trans SB: Third collection of melodies for duo taken from operas by Rameau, Rebel and Francoeur and others; comic operas, parodies...chosen and arranged for flutes, violins over viola da gambas and of which the greater part may be played on the hurdy-gurdy and musette, Paris (1770)."]


Another collection is divided according to composer in so far as these are known, and according to the type of the piece when the composer is not known:

Recueil d'airs pour la vielle. I. Airs avec noms d'auteurs. II Airs sans nom d'auteur. III. Brunettes à deux vielles. IV. Nöels a deux vielles. V. Airs de trompettes et de fanfares. VI. Menuets. VII. Contredanses cotillons et danses diverses. [Trans SB: Collection of melodies for the hurdy-gurdy. I. Melodies with composers names. II. Melodies without composers names. III. Brunettes for two hurdy-gurdies. IV. Noels for two hurdy-gurdies. V. Trumpet and Fanfare Melodies. VI. Minuets. VII. Contradances, Cotillions and Diverse Dances."]

Among the composers whose work is represented in this collection are: Baptiste, de Caix, Clerambault, Colin, F. Couperin, Dandrieu, Danguy, Desjardins, Duval, Fessart, Forcroy, Halarius, Mouret, Hotteterre le Romain, Jacquet, de L'Orme, de Lacoste, Marais, Monteclair and Rameau.

Most of the pieces in this collection which have the composer's name are works of Francois Couperin and all come from his " Pièces de Clavecin", a collection of 240 pieces arranged in 27 ordres [comment JW: spelling?] and which appeared in four parts in 1713, 1717, 1722 and 1730. The "pieces de Clavecin" were especially suited to be played on another instrument. They are mostly short pieces which the composer in part even


composed so that they could be played on other instruments. Among the many pieces of Couperin's in this collection are found the 'Musette de Choisy' and the ' Musette de Taverny' which immediately follows [fn][1]. Couperin wrote both of these musettes in three voices over one another, of which the lowest represents a constant drone which when played on the harpsichord has to be continually struck. The second voice represents an accompaniment to the upper voice, and moves in the same tonal range as it. This second voice was intended to be played on a two-manual harpsichord and can be left out if the second manual is not available. With regards to both of these pieces Couperin remarks that they can be played on all instruments played in unison [fn][2]. Both musettes are written in A major and must be transposed to C major to be played on hurdy-gurdies or musettes. After transpostition they can be played, since the tonal range does not go beyond that of those instruments. In this collection of hurdy-gurdy pieces of various authors the 'Musettes' are arranged for two hurdy-gurdies, so that both voices written by Couperin for the harpsichord can be played. There is no third instrument since the drone is already provided by the hurdy-gurdies (ex. 30).

The most extensive and significant arrangement for the hurdy-gurdy in the 18th century is that of Antonio Vivaldi's concertos, the 'Four Seasons' for hurdy-gurdy, violin, flute, and basso continuo. This arrangement is the work of Nicolas Chédeville (le Cadet) [trans SB: "the younger"] and appeared under the title 'Le Printems ou les saisons amusantes. Concerto d'Antonio Vivaldi mis pour les musettes et vielles, avec accompangement de violon, flûte et basse-continue", Paris 1750. [trans SB: "Spring, or The Amusing Seasons. Conterto by Antonio Vivaldi, arranged for musettes and hurdy-gurdies, accompanied by violin, flute and basso continuo".]

Besides arrangements of the works of other composers Chédeville also wrote a great number of compositions for the hurdy-gurdy. He was the youngest of three


brothers, who were all in the kings' service as musicians. On their mother's side they were related to the Hotteterre family which had great influence on the development of the musette. Pierre Chédeville (1694-1725), the oldest of three brothers, did not leave any compositions behind. His younger brothers Esprit-Philippe Chédeville (1696-1762) and Nicolas Chédeville (1705-1782) both composed pieces for the hurdy-gurdy, and entered the orchestra of the opera together. All three brothers were good musette players and oboists. Nicolas wrote numerous pieces for the hurdy-gurdy or musette and had great success as a teacher of these instruments. This is proved by his many students from the nobility, whom he sometimes mentioned in his works, who first learned to play the musette but then, as the hurdy-gurdy became increasingly popular, were directed to the study of this instrument [fn][1].

Of interest is the dedication to the Marquis de Collande with which Nicolas prefaced his arrangement of Vivaldi's concertos. It displays the efforts of the arranger to show justice to Vivaldi's work: "Monsieur, Lorsque j'ay entrepris d'adopter les grandes compositions d'Antonio Vivaldi au ton champêtre, d'un instrument qui fait tout l'objet de mon travail, j'etois sûr de l'estime du Public pour les excellens materiaux que j'ay mis en oeuvre, Votre goût, Monsieur, si delicat et si eclairé en même tems, m'apprendre si mon auteur n'a rien perdu dans son travestissement, et jusqu'ou je peux porter la hardiesse pour étendre un instrument que vous desirez de voir perfectionner. Cet essay vous prouvera du moins publiquement l'envie que j'ay de vous plaire et le respect avec le quel je Suis Monsieur votre tres humble et tres obeissant Serviteur Chédeville le Cadet." [Trans SB: "Sir, when I undertook to adapt the great compositions of Antonio Vivaldi in a pastoral style, for an instrument which is the entire object of my work, I was certain of the esteem of the Public for the excellent materials that I have brought together, Your taste, Sir, so delicate and so piercing at the same time, will inform me if our author has indeed lost nothing in this pastoral disguise, and how far I may take this liberty to extend an instrument that you would like to see perfected. This essay will prove to you, by these public means the desire I have to please you and the respect with which I Am Sir your very humble and obedient Servant Chédeville the Younger."]

Nicolas indeed described his arrangement as "The Printems ou les saisons amusantes..." but did not confine himself to the concerti of the 'Four Seasons' but included also among these six concerti put together from various concerti of Vivaldi from the opus 8 series. The movements used by him come from the following concerti of Vivaldi:




Chédeville's latest selection and the arrangements of the individual concerti cannot be explained in reference to the technical limits of the hurdy-gurdy or the musette. The remaining movements do not go beyond the usual range and could have been used as well. His selection was apparently subjective and the movements so arranged according to how he thought they best fit together and reflected the mood indicated in the title.

Chédeville transposed the individual movements from their original keys into the principal keys of the hurdy-gurdy and bagpipes, C and G. Movements in a minor key were transposed into a minor key corresponding to the hurdy-gurdy's keys. Chédeville changed the keys of the first concerto, 'La Primavera', E major -- c#minor -- E major into C major -- c minor -- C major. In all the concerti he replaced the minor key movements always with the minor version of the principal key on account of the tuning of the drone strings. In order to avoid retuning the drone between the individual movements (see page 57, page 68). All the movements of a concerto had to be in one major key or the minor version of it.

Vivaldi's instrumentation with solo violin, two violins, viola, violin and cello, contrabasses and organ or harpsichord was reduced by Chédeville to one hurdy-gurdy or musette which replaced the solo first violin, flute and violin (or two violins) and organ and violin cello as basso-continuo instruments. The coupling of organ and violin cello [?] was also used by Vivaldi, who likewise has the cello almost always in unison with the organ. In addition comes the general bass on the organ or harpsichord. In Chédeville's work the contra bass is missing and the three middle voices of Vivaldi are decreased to two which however does not cause any significant change, since the middle voices in the original concerti are often played in unison, or else the solo violin and the other violins play in unison.


Since the violin has a greater range than the hurdy-gurdy Chédeville could not always adopt the voice of the solo violin in his arrangements. In so far as the first violin was played in ensemble with the other instruments, he did not need to change anything since the range then did not exceed that of the hurdy-gurdy. In the solo passages however the limits of the hurdy-gurdy become apparent (ex. 31, ex. 32) as well as its inability to modulate well through the various keys on account of the drone. It is bound to a narrow harmonic range which is determined by the tonic and the dominant; chords of other keys can appear only in passing (ex. 33). Chédeville did not put any limits to the virtuosity of the hurdy-gurdy player. Thus the quick sixteenth and thirty-second runs are kept and even, in few places, added (ex. 34).

The Vivaldi concerti arranged for the hurdy-gurdy belong to the most demanding pieces which were played on the instrument. In the eyes of Chédeville's contemporaries the concerti lost in no way their charm by being performed on the hurdy-gurdy: "Si Vivaldi n'etoit pas mort, combien ne seroit-il flatté d'entendre la Vielle exécuter son primtems? L'accord perpétuel et harmonieux qui l'accompagne, sa Trompette et son Bourdon son plus que suffisans, pour déterminer en sa faveur les Partisans de la véritable harmonie" [translation JW: "If Vivaldi weren't dead, how flattered he would be to hear his 'Spring" played on the hurdy-gurdy. The perpetual and harmonious chord that accompanies it, its Trompette and its Drone are more than enough to win over the Champions of true harmony"][fn][1]. And in all other compositions, just the melody line was written for the hurdy-gurdy in the Vivaldi concerti, and this leads to the opinion that the drone strings were removed (see page 70 note 1). Therefore Ancelet's remarks are not just the testimony of an enthused contemporary, but at the same time proof that the drone were not removed even in a group of other instruments.

The use of the drone strings must then also be assumed for those compositions which Vivaldi himself wrote for the hurdy-gurdy. Around 1737 there appeared at the printer Boivin's in Paris for the first time six sonatas with the title:


"Il Pastor Fido, Sonates, pour la Musette, Vièle, Flûte, Hautbois, Violon, Avec la Basse Continüe. Del Sigr. Antonio Vivaldi, Opera XIIIa". [translation JW: "Il Pastor Fido (the faithful shepherd), Sonatas for Musette, Hurdy-gurdy, Flute, Oboe, Violin with Basso Continuo of Mr. Antonio Vivaldi, opus XIII"]. These sonatas, written in the keys of C major (3), G major (1), g minor (1), and A major (1), mostly have simple melodic lines (ex. 35, ex. 36), which only present problems for the hurdy-gurdy player when triplets or staccato notes appear (exs. 37, 38, 39).

In the 18th century numerous composers wrote for the hurdy-gurdy, and many lute makers made efforts to beautify the construction of the instrument. Next to the various forms which emerged in this period, a novel combination of wind and string instrument was developed with the 'vielle organisée', the organized hurdy-gurdy (see page 163). The 'vielle organisée', although difficult to handle and very imperfect with regards to its technical aspects, found a great number of admirers, even beyond the French borders. The Austrian Norber Hadrava, himself an accomplished player of this instrument, taught King Ferdinand IV of Naples how to play it. The king liked the instrument so much that he commissioned several composers to write concerti and divertimenti for him to be played on the vielle organisée. Adalbert Gyrowetz (1763-1850) composed some serenades for the ' lira organizzata' for him [fn][1], as did Ignaz Joseph Pleyel [fn][2] and Johann Franz Xaver Sterkel, who probably first received the commission in 1783 to write several concerti for the 'organisierte Leyer' [fn][3]. After the success of these first compositions in 1785 he was again requested to write several more pieces for this instrument. Again the middleman was the imperial legation secretary Norbert Hadrava, who in a letter asked him to compose "drei Concerte für zwei organisierte Leyren für Sr.M. den König von Neapel ... das eine aus dem Ton C, das zweite aus dem F und das dritte aus dem G. Sind Sie bedacht die Ritornello kürzer als in Ihren


ersteren Concerten zu schreiben, übrigens richten Sie gänzlich den Gesang deren Leyern oder die Melodie nach der Art der Oboen ohne vieler Beschaulichkeit deren Passagen einzuleiten, die übrigen Erinnerungen wegen diesen Instrument werden Ihnen ohnehin noch bekannt sein, da Sie mehrere
Stücke von dieser Art geschrieben haben." [fn][1] ["three concerti for two 'organisierte Leyern' for Sr. M the King of Naples, One in the scale of C, the second in F and the third in G. Make the Ritornello shorter than in your first concerti, and arrange the voice of the Leyern or the melody entirely according to the manner of the oboes without making their passages too slow; the other reminders with regard to this instrument you are already familiar with, since you have written several pieces of this nature."]

Among the composers who wrote music for the vielle organisée for the King of Naples was Joseph Haydn. It is not known how the king arranged the contact with Haydn. Under certain circumstances Norbert Hadravaa, who might have known Haydn, could have been the middle man; it is however also possible that Haydn's pupil Ignaz Joseph Pleyel, who in 1782 resided in Naples and wrote concertos for the king's vielle organisée, attracted the king's attention to Haydn [fn][2].

In the 1780's Haydn wrote five concerti for two vielles organisée for Ferdinand (Hoboken VII h:1-5) and between 1788 and 1790 wrote several nocturnes (Hoboken II: 25-32) [fn][3]. Haydn wrote these compositions for two of these instruments because the king wanted to play them with Hadrava.

Like Johann Xaver Sterkel, Haydn used the keys of C major / minor in the concerti. Thus both went beyond the two principal keys C and G. To be played in F major however the instrument either had to be retuned, although then the pipes could no longer be used because these could not be simply retuned a whole note, or both rows of keys had to be constantly used. However in the nocturnes written by Haydn (of which two are in the key of F), this cannot be done either, since in these the highest notes are f''' sustained and even g'''. For the performance of these compositions in F there were probably two possibilities: either the pipes were


not used or instruments especially tuned to F were used for these scales. In any case the instruments had to have a range that went somewhat over two octaves; hurdy-gurdies of this sort were also built in France (see page 125).

As with the French compositions for two hurdy-gurdies or musettes, Haydn's compositions show a strongly developed use of parallel thirds and sixths (ex. 40, ex. 41). Haydn was careful to see that the other instruments participating did not exceed the vielle organisée in virtuosity and made all the voices technically quite simple [fn][1]. Perhaps Haydn knew other hurdy-gurdy compositions, since he also used the favorite rhythms of the French composers for this instrument and prescribed almost only uneven rhythms. [???] His compositions display very little modulation and then only into the related keys, which Harry Edwall, together with the selection of the keys, attributed to the difficulty of playing chromatically on the vielle organisée [fn][2]. In support of his opinion he cites Michel Corrette's "Méthode pour apprendre à jouer de la vielle", in which the composer likewise limits himself to C and G major and their minor versions. Nevertheless it seems to be unknown to him that the selection of the keys and the type of modulation is related to the drone sounds of the instrument [fn][3]. In regard to the question as to which parts of the composition can be played with the pipes, and which the pipes and strings, he assumes without hesitation that the drone is not present: "The drone strings, of course, were not used at all" [fn][4]. However it cannot be blithely assumed that the drone strings were not used. Even in French compositions only the melody lines were written down; the sounding of the drone strings was taken for granted and occurred even in concerti with several instruments, which were arranged in a manner similar to that of Haydn's concerti


as also in the arrangements of Vivaldi's concerti (see page 320). It was not the difficulties of playing the vielle organisée chromatically that was the reason for the simple harmonic modulation, but rather the drone strings that were used as on the normal hurdy-gurdies.

The nocturne for vielle organisee instrumented with flute and oboe were repeatedly presented in the Salomon concerts of 1791 and 1792 under the direction of Haydn. King George III of England was so enthused that he requested part of the manuscript from Haydn, which he later presented to highly esteemed personages [fn][1]. Ferdinand of Naples was also delighted with Haydn's compositions and even attempted to talk him into settling down in Naples. Haydn almost accepted this proposal [fn][2].

Ernst Fritz Schmidt, author of the article "Haydn's Werke für die Drehleier", committed several errors in regard to the instrument and its notation. He believed that the 'lira organizzata' was the same instrument as the hurdy-gurdy, as is shown already by the title of his work and in his list of the various names for the hurdy-gurdy [fn][3]. He explains that the change in London from two vielles organisée to flute and oboe did not offer difficulties, "da der Meister der Leier stets nur enistmming in hoher Sopranlage notiert". [fn][4]. ("since the master only wrote one line for the lyre in the high soprano range") It thus escaped his notice that the hurdy-gurdy as well as the vielle organisée can only play one voice above its drone and consequently was never written for otherwise.

Although the courtly hurdy-gurdy fashion remained almost exclusively confined to France, apart from these commissioned works for the king of Naples, there were also outside of France such famous composers as Leopold Mozart and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who wrote for the hurdy-gurdy. In these compositions the hurdy-gurdy was employed as a peasant and not as a virtuoso instrument.


In the second of four menuettes (K.601) in C major Wolfgang Mozart used the hurdy-gurdy in a trio as a melody instrument (ex. 42). He prescribed for the menuette flutes, oboes, fagottes, clarinets, kettle drums in C and G, a first and second violin and a bass, and in the trio exchanged the flutes of the top voices for a piccolo, hurdy-gurdy, oboes and the first violin play the melody in unison. The drone of the hurdy-gurdy is not written but must have been sounded, since the fagotte and the clarinets blow a drone in c and g almost all the way through, and the bass with the second violin move entirely on c and g. Only when the hurdy-gurdy falls out do the accompanying voices become livelier. Notations like legato-bows and staccato dots indicate that Mozart was familiar with the rhythmical possibilities of the wheel.

The second piece in which Wolfgang Mozart wrote for the hurdy-gurdy has almost the same instrumentation: in the third dance of the "Vier Deutschen Tänze" ['Four German Dances'] (K. 602), again in C major, the hurdy-gurdy is also used in a trio although this time as the only melody instrument, since the flutes are missing. Two lines are written for the hurdy-gurdy, of which the lower gives the drone sounds (ex. 43). In contrast to the trio of the menuette this has no legato bows or other notations. However in compensation the drone notes are given, and in the manner in which they are to be emphasized, the accentuation on one and three counts with the wheel is established without any special notations.

Wolfgang Mozart used the hurdy-gurdy as a melody instrument only in pieces which recall folk music with their simple melodies. In 1755 his father Leopold composed a multi-movement work called "Die Bauernhochzeit" [translation JW: "The Peasant Wedding"], which was consciously connected with the country people and their musical instruments: horns, oboes, violins, hurdy-gurdy, bagpipes, viola, fagotte,


cellos and basses. Hurdy-gurdy and bagpipes were put right in with the rest of the instruments and not displayed in solo passages, but were played only in common with the other instruments.

The hurdy-gurdy intended by Leopold Mozart is tuned in D and has a range of two octaves, from d' to d'''. The work has five movements with the following titles and keys: Marcia villanesca (D), Menuet und Trio (D), Andante (d), Menuet (A), and Trio (D), Finale (D). Hurdy-gurdy and bagpipes are used very sparingly and only in the movements in D major, thus the first and fifth movements, as well as the two trios. Again only the melody line is written for both instruments and a drone line is not present. The drone strings and pipes must sound however, since the instruments immediately pause when the piece begins to modulate into another key which does not harmonize with the drone tones of these instruments (ex. 44). The confinement of the two instruments to movements in D major lead to the same conclusion. In addition the fagottes, cellos and partly the horns, which are played in unison, indicate the use of drones. When the hurdy-gurdy and bagpipes begin to play, then the fagottes, cellos and basses almost always remain on d and hence probably on the low drone tone of the two instruments. Only when the drone instruments cease playing does the bass take on more movement. The melodies of the individual pieces are very simple, especially for the bagpipes and the hurdy-gurdy. No great technical demands are made on the players of these instruments (ex. 45). Despite the sparing use of both instruments Leopold indicates for the hurdy-gurdy a precise accentuation. This shows that the technique of separating and connecting individual notes with the help of the wheel was familiar to country players (ex. 46, ex. 47).

The works in which Leopold and Wolfgang Mozart used the hurdy-gurdy indicate that these composers knew the hurdy-gurdy only as a country instrument. Leopold Mozart even used it to characterize this music. The use of the hurdy-gurdy and the simple melody lines provided for it


without any ornamentation or runs indicate that in the case of both composers they were not stimulated by the French hurdy-gurdy fashion, but handled the instrument in their works just as it was familiar to them from their surroundings.

It was only in France that the hurdy-gurdy could not only acquire increasing respect as a popular instrument of the nobility, but also receive a tangible repertoire within this sphere. Although the French court of the "ancient regime" was a model for the other European courts, the preference for the hurdy-gurdy and bagpipes was not adopted by any other court. The hurdy-gurdy fashion in France was unique in its time.

C. The French Hurdy-gurdy Methods

The French hurdy-gurdy repertoire consisted mainly of short dance and song pieces which usually placed no great demands on the technical ability of the player. This music was intended for aristocratic amateurs whose musical training did not allow for technical difficulties. The hurdy-gurdy however had certain peculiarities, such as the fingering and the movement of the crank (see page 63), which needed some practice. Therefore it made sense that the teachers of this instrument composed directions for learning the hurdy-gurdy. Six French methods for the hurdy-gurdy, which are different in their depth and contents, have been preserved from the 18th century.

The shortest of these methods is the anonymous "Méthode" from the first half of the 18th century [fn][1]. It concerns itself with how the strings of the hurdy-gurdy are tuned in C and G, says a bit about the fingering positions of the left hand and how many revolutions of the wheel are neccesary for certain values.

A method somewhat more detailed but still very scanty in its information appeared in 1732 from J.-B. Chr. Ballard: "Pièces


choisies pour la vielle à l'usage des commencants avec des instructions pour toucher et pour entretenir cet instrument". [translation JW: "Selected pieces for hurdy-gurdy for beginners with instructions on how to play and maintain this instrument"]. Before the easy pieces there are a few explanatory notes about the instrument. The author describes tuning of the hurdy-gurdy (see page 57), goes into fine tuning of the chanterelles with the movable nuts of these strings and by the tuning of the individual tangents. He gives some information about the care of the instrument and especially for the wheel, and about the range, but says very little about turning the crank to produce the note values (page 63). After this come the pieces, with further notes as to their execution added to some of them. The composers of these pieces are not named, just as the author of the theoretical explanations is not mentioned. The afterword of this collection is of interest, since the author draws attention to the fact that the hurdy-gurdy belongs in other hands and was only brought to attention by a fad (see page 409).

Next to these two short methods are other methods which are much more detailed and which appear later, of which the best and most extensive was written by François Bouin: "La Vielleuse habile ou nouvelle Methode courte, très facile,et très sure Pour Apprendre a jouer de la Vielle. Oeuvre IIIe, Paris (1761)". [translation JW: "The able hurdy-gurdy player (femenine) or a short,very easy and sure method for learning to play the hurdy-gurdy"]. He described with great exactitude and scope the particulars of the hurdy-gurdy and how to play it, and above all took into consideration that many players had no musical education to speak of. Bouin therefore prefaced his method with a general theoretical discussion on note values, clefs, pauses, key indications, tempi, etc. After this he mentions the different types of hurdy-gurdy, the 'vielle en luth' and the 'vielle en guitare', then discusses how to hold the instrument, the position of the player's arms and hands, and then the tuning and tonal range of the hurdy-gurdy as well as the tuning of the sympathetic strings. From the fingering he comes to the wheel and its operation. In the opening remarks regarding the hurdy-gurdy Bouin says that this instrument does not suit everyone's taste [fn][1], but that it could,


when played well, take its place with the best of instruments. In discussing the wheel the author draws attention especially to its significance for the hurdy-gurdy: "C'est la roue qui donne l'ame à cet instrument" [fn][1] [translation JW: "It is the wheel that gves the hurdy-gurdy its soul"], and: "Sans le secours de la roue, la vielle ne sçauroit ni briller, ni se soutenir" [fn][2]. [translation JW: "Without the aid of the wheel , the hurdy-gurdy would not be able to shine or sustain itself"]. Next he speaks of the division of the wheel's revolution to correspond with the note values, and about the use of this rhythmical accentuation in the different types of pieces which are to be played on the hurdy-gurdy (see page 65); Bouin himself must have been a very good player, for he mentions several difficulties in playing which are not considered in the other methods. Thus he explains that notes of the same pitch which follow after one another and are connected by a tie are not to be articulated by a repeated movement of the finger, but by the wheel. In the case of four eighth notes of different pitches connected by a tie the notes are played with an entire revolution of the wheel without pause, and are only separated when they are to be played staccato [fn][3]. Pauses within a piece pose considerable difficulties, since on account of the harmonic impression the wheel cannot be turned further, and yet on account of the pause the starting position of the crank for the first note ensuing often is not correct. Therefore the last note before the pause has to be played so skillfully that the crank reaches again the correct starting point [fn][4]. If one wanted to increase the loudness of a sustained note, then the wheel could be turned slowly at first and then continually faster; the opposite procedure was used if the note was to be softened [fn][5].

These and other details which Bouin discusses prove that the most important thing to learn in playing the hurdy-gurdy was the so-called 'coup de poignet': that is, the division of the revolution of the wheel into different sections, whereby each section is introduced by a jerking motion of the hand, so that the 'trompette'


buzzes (see page 60). After these practical explanations follow various ornaments and their execution, and at the end Bouin discusses the use of cotton, rosin, and the care and preservation of the hurdy-gurdy. He advises that when the keys no longer fall back easily the player should put the hurdy-gurdy into his bed in the morning just after he has risen, and to cover it well, but never to lay it next to a fire to cure this problem [fn][1]. After advice concerning the purchase of a hurdy-gurdy he finds time to mention the playing of chords (see page 312) and finally presents a number of exercise and playing pieces for the hurdy-gurdy, graded according to their difficulty.

Bastiste Dupuit's introduction to "Principes pour toucher de la viele, avec six sonates pour cet instrument, qui conviennent aux violon, flûte, clavessin etc. Oeuvre Ier, Paris (1741)" is likewise very extensive and begins with the manner of holding the instrument. Next he discusses fingering, with which he deals in much greater detail than Bouin. Above all one peculiarity is to be noticed: he does not limit himself to the usual four fingers of the left hand but uses the thumb as well as a playing finger. Otherwise the thumb serves just to support the playing hand and rests on the keybox. The use of all five fingers as suggested by Dupuit makes playing considerably more difficult. The different length of the thumb compared to the other fingers causes the hand to be held diagonally, and this hinders a uniform execution of the notes. Besides this, the support of the thumb from the keybox is not something that can be done away with. The chapter concerning the wheel and its use is just as detailed as Bouin's. He also delves into ornamentation and articulation and finally advises the insecure player that it is better not to play a syncopated or dotted note at all than to play it incorrectly. Dupuit gives some very important information concerning the handling of the crank, the only method author to do so. The luthiers need to pay attention that the


circle described by the crank is smaller than that of the wheel, since this makes the articulation of the individual notes with the crank easier. If the S-shape of the crank is too long, it should be somewhat closed and rounded. Following this advice Dupuit indicates exactly how these theories can and should be used in his following six sonatas [fn][1]. The sonatas themselves were not intended for beginners, but have rather a considerable degree of difficulty.

The "Méthode" of Bordet does not contain such extensive information. Its complete title is: "Méthode raisonée pour apprendre la musique d'une façon plus claire et plus précise à laquelle on joint l'éntendue de la flute transvèriere, du violon, du pardessus de viole, de la vielle et de la musette; leur accord, quelques observations sur la touche desdits instruments et des leçons simples, mesurée et variées, suivies d'un recueil d'airs en duo façiles et connus pour la plus-part. Livre Ier, Paris (ca.1755)". [trans:] His remarks concerning the intended contents are followed by a short summary of musical basics: note values, intervals, clefs, etc. In connection with the tonal range of the hurdy-gurdy and of the musette Bordet makes several interesting remarks concerning the transposition for these instruments [fn][2]. The pieces which are to be played on this instrument should not be selected only according to their range, but attention should be given to seeing that they do not modulate, when in a major key, to anything other than than the dominant, or else if this cannot be avoided for only avery short time and just in passing into the sub-dominant. Somewhat greater freedom can be taken with pieces in a minor key, since modulation can occur not only onto the dominant and the sub-dominant, but even into the mediant and into the minor key of the sub-mediant, although again these modulations should only be very short: "car autrement il seroit dure a l'oreille, parce que les Cordes ou Bourdons, qui continuellement sonnent l'Accord de 5te. et Fondamental du premier Ton, deviendroient des Cordes étrangeres au nouveau Ton, et formeroient sans cesse des dissonances mal placées" [fn][3]. [trans]


If one wants to play pieces however which modulate into other keys, then the drone strings have to be removed from the wheel, " ce qui à la verité changeroit la nature de ces Instrumens, et leur ôteroit la plus grande partie de leur agrément" [fn][1]. [trans] After this advice with regard to transposition Bordet gives the tonal range of the hurdy-gurdy and the musette with the tuning of the strings and the pipes, and follows this with several short exercises, with the help of which playing the note values and the wheel accents should be learned. He does not however discuss any further this special technique which is peculiar to the hurdy-gurdy, since the "Méthode" was not intended to be exclusively a method for this instrument.

The last and best known 18th century method was produced by Michel Corrette: "Méthode pour apprendre à jouer de la vielle", printed in Paris in 1783. At the beginning the author remarks that the hurdy-gurdy is well suited to be played alone for dances: " La Vielle est un instrument à corde, agréable, brillant et bon pour jouer seul et faire danser" [translation JW: "The hurdy-gurdy is a stringed instrument, pleasant, clear toned and excellent for playing alone and for dances"][fn][2]. After the introductory remarks Corrette discusses the playing position of the instrument, the tuning of the strings and the movement of the wheel. "La tour de la Roue est la plus difficile du jeu de la Vielle". [fn][4][translation JW: The turning of the Wheel is the hardest part of playing the Hurdy-gurdy"] The instructions which follow concerning the care of the instrument and the correct regulation of the individual keys are very useful. He explains in which ways, aside from the use of cotton and rosin, the tuning of the chanterelles can be exactly regulated [fn][5]. After the technical instructions Corrette first presents pieces for one hurdy-gurdy, and after this pieces for two instruments. The most beautiful compositions are provided with fingerings and those pieces which he wrote himself are denoted by an asterisk [fn][3].[NB - footnotes are out of order, 1,2,4,5,3, because of text revisions for clarity]


If one compares the different methods, it cannot be understood why it was just the "Méthode" of Corrette which had a second printing. In the instructions for learning the hurdy-gurdy it is in no respect as exact as the methods of Dupuit or Bouin, nor are the explanations as detailed. This second printing is only understandable by assuming that the aristocratic amateurs did not lay such importance on the perfection of their playing, but were satisfied with more simple directions. From this point of view the methods of Dupuit or Bouin are more suited for virtuosi than for aristocratic dilettantes. Also, Corette was already known in society for his numerous other methods for the guitar, harpsichord, violin, violin cello and bagpipes.

D. The After-effects of the Hurdy-gurdy Vogue

During the reign of Louis XVI the significance of the hurdy-gurdy in courtly society gradually diminished. The descent of the hurdy-gurdy from the aristocracy back to its previous position did not happen abruptly on account of a sudden disinterest in the instrument, but happened within a framework of a gradual lack of interest for it. At a time in which the instrument still enjoyed great respect in society, it was played not only in salons, but served also for entertaining guests in the cafes and restaurants of Paris, where it was also used for a long time for entertainment. The hurdy-gurdy was heard in the Café Procope in the Rue des Fossés-Saint-Germain-des-Prés, an important meeting place of literary figures and cavaliers [fn][1],and before the French Revolution, also often for the entertainment of guests in the Café Royal d'Alexandre on the Boulevard du Temple [fn][2]. Even at the beginning of the 19th century the Boulevard du Temple was a center for hurdy-gurdy players: in the final act of the vaudeville "Fanchon la Vielleuse", presented


in 1801, one of the actresses sings:

"Au boulevard du Temple
le jeudi l'on contemple
Tous les gens du bon ton.
Pourquoi la mode a-t-elle
Fait choix de ce lieu?
C'est, dit-on, pour entendre la vielle
La vielle de Fanchon" [fn][1].

[translation JW:
On the Blvd. du Temple
All the fashionable people
are seen each Thursday.
Why is it stylish to make
this choice of venue?
It is said, to hear the hurdy-gurdy,
Fanchon's hurdy-gurdy.]

"Fanchon la Vielleuse" was a three-act play with a text by Jean Nicolas Bouilly and J. Pain and music by Joseph-Denis Doche. The librettist Bouilly also wrote a libretto with the title "Léonore ou l'amour conjugal", which was translated into German by Joseph von Sonnleithner and set to music by Ludwig van Beethoven ("Fidelio"). Doche was at the vaudeville theatre in Paris since 1794 and from 1815 became the first conductor of the orchestra. Among his duties he had to compose airs for theatrical works as well as stage music. In 1801 the "Fanchon la Vielleuse" was performed for the first time at the Théâtre de Vaudeville and had a long-lasting success. The life and experiences of Fanchon were not entirely invented. A Savoyard girl, born in Paris in 1737, with the name of Françoise (called Fanchon) Chemin, later married as Mme. Menart, served as a model [fn][2]. The events in the life of this Fanchon Chemin were not adopted by the authors; the only things in common with the model lay in the names and their occupation as a hurdy-gurdy player.

The success of the "Fanchon la Vielleuse" gave rise to a great number of imitations in France and in Germany, where this production was known through August von Kotzebue. The musical "Fanchon das Leyermädchen" came into being after Kotzebue had seen J.H. Bouilly's and J. Pain's vaudeville in Paris in 1804. He was so enthused about it that he translated the libretto and gave it to Friedrich Heinrich Himmel, the head of the court band of Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia, to provide the music for it. Presented


as early as the 16th of May 1804 for the first time in Berlin, this production had just as long-lasting success as the French original [fn][1]. The music consists of simple song themes; the noteworthy feature is the frequent use of uneven rhythms also seen in the French music for the hurdy-gurdy from the 18th century. [fn][2]

The same material appeared once again on the German stage, in Berlin 1854, in a musical "Muttersegen, oder die neue Fanchon"[translation JW: Mother's blessing, or the new Fanchon], with text by W.F. Riese (pseudonym W. Friedrich) after the French by Lemoins and the music by A. Schaffer [fn][3]. On account of these various productions the name 'Fanchon' became known in the 19th century beyond the borders of France, so that the hurdy-gurdy in Germany was characterized not only as a 'Bauernleier' or 'Bettlerleier' [translation JW: peasant or beggar's hurdy-gurdy], but also as a 'Fanchonleier'.

A plot similar to that of the "Fanchon" was employed by Gaetano Donizetti in his opera "Linda di Chamounix" first presented in 1842 at the Kärntnertor Theatre in Vienna. Linda is also a girl who comes from the Savoy, but here Linda does not make her living as a hurdy-gurdy player, but rather the country people who come with her from the village in Savoy to Paris earn their living thus.

The Fanchon of the theatre pieces was a virtuous maid who had nothing in common either with the life of Fanchon Chemin or with the girls who earned money by playing the hurdy-gurdy on the boulevards of Paris around the beginning of the 19th century. Among these were street girls who roamed about singing obscene couplets to the accompaniment of the hurdy-gurdy and sought to lure passers-by with the sharp sound of their instrument and by the character of the texts [fn][5].


Otherwise the theatrical pieces about 'Fanchon' had such great success that even outside the theatre a whole series of pieces for the hurdy-gurdy arose which for years secured for the instrument the attention of a greater segment of the public [fn][1]. The new hurdy-gurdy pieces, influenced by the Fanchon literature, belonged to the repertoire of the hurdy-gurdy players who lived in the cities as street and cafe musicians; little else is known about their music. Their repertoire however certainly did not originate from the folk music of the provinces. There the hurdy-gurdy was used especially as a dance instrument. In the hands of city players on the other hand it had only very little significance as a dance instrument. It was rather primarily used as an instrument for accompanying voice and as an entertainment instrument without voice.

There was still a hurdy-gurdy player in Paris shortly before 1870, a roaming street musician, who understood how to play his instrument with a great deal of talent and good taste. Often he sang and accompanied himself on the hurdy-gurdy or improvised interludes on the instrument. It is also reported of him that he played with other instruments. He then removed the drone strings from the wheel, played the melody on the hurdy-gurdy and was accompanied by the other musicians on the guitar and violin. It is particularly noted that he had an entirely independent repertoire. The reporter had often heard him play "Le Trio des Masques ou le sextuor de Lucie" [fn][2]. His artistic playing of the hurdy-gurdy is also expressly mentioned. Not only did he have a "coup d'archet de violon", but he also played a diminuendo by slowing the movement of the wheel, and then had the tone swell again by turning faster [fn][3].

Next to these forms of urban existence the hurdy-gurdy enjoyed undiminished popularity in the French provinces throughout the entire 19th century, above all in central France: in the Bourgogne, in Limousin, in the Auvergne,


in Nivernais, in Bourbonnnais, in Poitou, but also in Normandie and in Brittany. The instrument's central area was Berry, as it is today [in 1973]. The repertoire of the hurdy-gurdy in the provinces in the 19th century would have been similar to that which exists today. It is to be supposed that the country music played on the hurdy-gurdy even in the 18th century was founded, independent of its urban popularity, on an older musical tradition and did not experience much influence from the salon music. The effects of the hurdy-gurdy fashion in the cities was restricted in the provinces to changes in the construction of the instrument. In the countryside the hurdy-gurdy and the bagpipes were even in the 19th century the instruments with which musicians headed a wedding march or a procession and later played for dancing [fn][1]. Just how lively this tradition was is shown in a report from Bourbon-l'Archambault, where on the occasion of a holiday on a single street up to 15 pairs of 'menestriers' were counted. They were all a few meters apart from one another and played their music. They blew bagpipes and played hurdy-gurdies and paid no heed to the disharmony arising from the various pieces which were being played at the same time, and which drove the dogs and the hen-houses in the entire area into revolutions [fn][2]. [Editor's note: This is a direct translation of "welche die Hunde und Hühnerhöfe der ganzen Gegend in Revolution versetzte". Whether the author intended this pun is not clear.]

One century earlier (1793) the decline of the hurdy-gurdy as an aristocratic instrument was absolutely brought to a close by the events of the French Revolution. This decline of the instrument had however no effects on the traditional music of the hurdy-gurdy in the provinces, where it continued to be respected just as much. This is even shown by a man whose bloody political career is characterized by hate and revenge: Carrier. Even he was closely tied to the music of his home. Carrier, the 'representant en mission' in Nantes came from Aurillac in the Auvergne. In the same position as Fouche in Lyon and Barras in Toulon, he was responsible for bloody excesses in Nantes under the reign of terror of Robespierre. He was accustomed to play music


of the Auvergne on the hurdy-gurdy to recuperate from the bloody executions [fn][1].

Once again the hurdy-gurdy came into Paris from the provinces, this time however not as a fashionable toy for the aristocracy as in the 18th century, but with the folk music of those regions. The famous sculptor Jean Baffier, himself an excellent hurdy-gurdy player (ill. 200) [figlink] [fn][2], brought an entire group of village musicians to Paris. He had them appear at folk festivities and at artistic gatherings. They played for dancing at the 'bals-musettes', at the festivities of Montsouris, on the stage of the 'Théâtre Scipion', and at the World Exhibition in 1889. On 11 June 1889 at a celebration of the fine arts in the Parisian city hall, a large gathering of painters, sculptors, musicians and poets, there appeared once again a group of hurdy-gurdy players and bagpipers from Berry. At the head of them all Jean Baffier played the hurdy-gurdy. On this day the musicians from Berry, playing the folk music of that region, marched past four to five thousand Parisians. [fn][3] Baffier made serious efforts to reawaken interest in folk music in Paris, but the success of the musicians drawn into the city by him was based more on the public's curiosity than a genuine interest.

Aside from these efforts it was once again attempted at the end of the last century to introduce the hurdy-gurdy again into artistic music. In a "Société des instruments de musique anciens" [fn][4] founded by Van Waefelghem in 1895 there was also a quartet with the instruments hurdy-gurdy, viola d'amore, viola de gamba and harpsichord, which were played by Delsart, Van Wafelghem, Diemer and Laurent Grillet. (ill. 232) [figlink]. Grillet, one of the co-founders of the society [fn][5], played the hurdy-gurdy. He came from Sancoins in the departement Cher, which belongs to the province of Berry, which is even today one of the


principle centers of the hurdy-gurdy. Grillet was probably acquainted with the hurdy-gurdy from his youth and had played it since then. In this ensemble he played it without the characteristic sound: he strung his instrument with just one string, which served as the melody string, and left all the other strings off, so that it had no drone strings. Thus he removed the peculiar tonal characteristic of the hurdy-gurdy, its drone tones, which even in the 18th century were not removed for the music which Grillet wanted to revive with his instrument (see page 320). In this case a violin or another bowed instrument would probably given better service.

In the society 'La Couperin' in Versailles there was another hurdy-gurdy player in the person of the director of this society, Eugène de Bricqueville, who made efforts to revive the use of the instrument. He played the 18th century music written particularly for the hurdy-gurdy and had as accompanying instruments a bass and a descant viola [fn][1].

These attempts to again create a place for the hurdy-gurdy in serious music were founded on the special French situation which had arisen on account of the aristocratic fashion of the 18th century. For the first time in the history of this instrument a fad had created a repertoire for the hurdy-gurdy which was written down and hence could be reproduced at any time by any player, in contrast to the music of the provinces which was handed only down aurally.

E. The Use of the Hurdy-gurdy in Recent Times

The particular sound common to both the bagpipes and the hurdy-gurdy did not lead to a repertoire equally playable on either instrument, but was used as early as the Middle Ages for duos involving these two instruments (see page 242). This combination was preserved up until the present time in the folk music of France as well


as Hungary [fn][1]. At times the bagpipes were replaced by another instrument, as for example in Hungary, where the combination of hurdy-gurdy and clarinet is widespread [fn][2]. The hurdy-gurdy was used more frequently just by itself than with other instruments, for which it seemed just as suitable as the bagpipes when in the hands of a good player, due to the combination of melody and accompaniment. With their fixed drone sounds these instruments produced indeed just a simple accompaniment, but nevertheless they were the instruments, as Felix Hoerburger mentions, which stimulated a much stronger dance movement than more complicated harmonic structures could [fn][3]. For this reason the hurdy-gurdy and the bagpipes were for a long time preferred as dance music instruments.

We have only scattered information about the repertoire of the hurdy-gurdy in the various countries, partly because of its early disappearance, partly because for a long time this music was handed down orally. There was nowhere a specific repertoire for the hurdy-gurdy except in France, and even in France the music intended for the hurdy-gurdy was at the same time intended for the bagpipes and other instruments as well.

In the other countries in which the hurdy-gurdy was played up to recent times, it remained often in the hands of beggars, whose repertoire likewise did not remain fixed. As a folk instrument it served for the performance of the folk music tradition and did not develop its own repertoire. For this reason, in the pieces for the hurdy-gurdy which were written down, the only differences that can be ascertained pertain to the folk music of the particular country and not to the peculiarities of the instrument.

The music preferred for there hurdy-gurdy had its limits. On the basis of its construction the hurdy-gurdy is like the bagpipes in sound and the type of harmony it produces, for which reason it can be assumed that music intended for the bagpipes was also played on


on the hurdy-gurdy [fn][1]. The bagpipes however had an extensive repertoire since it was used throughout Europe as a dance instrument [fn][2].

In the Soviet Union the hurdy-gurdy was found in the hands of White Russian and Ukrainian beggars after the 1917 revolution (ill. 79,132,133) [figlink][fn][3]. But it was still played by the country folk, since in Ukraine for example there were earlier even well-attended schools for hurdy-gurdy players, "in denen erfahrene Musiker das Spiel auf der Relja lehrten". [fn][4] ["in which experienced musicians learned to play the relja"] In the White Russian steppes even in recent time the hurdy-gurdy was played by farmers at village dances and for evening entertainment, and was used by professional musicians principally for accompaniment of vocal duets [fn][5]. Example 48 shows that the songs could be very short and accompanied by the hurdy-gurdy: in example 49 on the other hand the musician sings the song without any accompaniment and plays on the hurdy-gurdy only as prelude and postlude.

In Romania, where the hurdy-gurdy was known as the 'lira' [fn][6] 'viela mecanica' [fn][7], and earlier as the 'organ' or 'lauta' [fn][8], it belonged to the instrumentarium of the northern Moldau region and Transylvania, but has completely disappeared today [fn][9].

In Bohemia the hurdy-gurdy was still a popular instrument of the traveling musicians in the 19th century and later also of the beggars [fn][10]; the farmers of the Bohemian-Moravian heights still played it in the 19th century for specific


dances and songs [fn][1]. In Slovakia it disappeared entirely as early as the 19th century [fn][2].

A picture similar to that of most of the Eastern European countries id offered by the regions in Western and Northern Europe. In the 20th century the hurdy-gurdy had disappeared entirely from Scandinavia, England, Germany and Italy, while in the 19th century it could still be traced in some of these countries: in the last century one could hear in the streets of English cities still "Airs ... such as the hurdy-gurdy players ... grind so piteously before cottage doors" [fn][3]. These hurdy-gurdy players were often however not Englishmen, but often "Italian hurdy-gurdists" [fn][4] (see page 417) [Editor's note: these "Italian hurdy-gurdists" are more likely to have been playing the barrel organ, hence "organ grinders"]. Outside of the cities however the hurdy-gurdy was still popular in England, as the name of a dance house in a mining camp, "hurdy-gurdy house" shows [fn][5]. As in England, hurdy-gurdy playing in Germany declined rapidly in the 19th century. Around 1850 the instrument which had been popular "einst bei dem Landvolk" [translation JW: "once amongst country folk"] was only heard seldom [fn][6]. In Westfalen however for example, it remained "bis ins 19. Jahrhundert hinein ... insbesondere bei Bettelmusikanten im Gebrauch." [fn][7] [" up into the 19th century...especially with beggars in use"] It was still known as a dance instrument: "Lai'r-danz" with the name "Huttsche mit de Futtsche", originally dance to the hurdy-gurdy in the Kreis Ülzen, was danced once again in 1911. A 'Lait-ketrilje', known earlier in Kreis Winsen, is probably the corrupted name for the 'Lai'r ketrilje', which is the same as 'Leier-Quadrille', and hence the name for a quadrille danced to a hurdy-gurdy [fn][8]. The hurdy-gurdy as a much used instrument is indicated by a saying used on the lower Elbe, according to which an end must be


made now, even if one has danced the entire night to the hurdy-gurdy: "Oplets is'n Scheden un wenn'n uk de ganze Nach na de Liern danzt" [fn][1]. The hurdy-gurdy was danced to also in the Lüneburg area, as a saying goes which refers to the drone sound of the instrument: "Gait nich anne(r)s, secht de Lirn-drai'r [sp][L-i/macron-rn-drai'r], danzt man tou" [fn][2]

In Austria the hurdy-gurdy, serving various purposes, was still widespread in the 19th century. It was used as an accompanying instrument for singing (1817):

"Da singet man fröliche Lieder
Der Leyermann spielet dazu" [fn][3]

[ Translation JW: "There merry songs are sung
and the hurdy-gurdy man plays along"]

It was played by itinerant musicians in front of houses (1819):

"Es ging amal a Leyerer wohl für a Weber Haus,
Da schaut das Webertöchterle bam Fensterlen heraus" [fn][4],

[translation JW : Once a hurdy-gurdy man went past a weaver's house,
the weaver's young daughter looked out of the (small) window]

Further, it was used as a dance instrument (1805):

"Der Leyrer Mazl ist heund hier,
wer danzen wil, der kombt zu mir" [fn][5]

[translation JW: Mazl the hurdy-gurdy player is here today,
all who want to dance, come to me.]

A report of a Vienna house ball from the same time (1816), at which "die Musi in zwaa Leyern bestandte" [fn][6],[translation JW: the music consisted of two hurdy-gurdys] shows that the hurdy-gurdy was played for dancing not just in the country, but also still in Vienna, which is testified to by a country dance written in 1819 (ex. 50). This dance was played by the musicians on the hurdy-gurdy or on the bagpipes or on both instruments together, which is a proof that these instruments had a common repertoire. Just how popular the drone sound of the hurdy-gurdy was at this time in Austria is indicated by the movement of the dance opus 27, no.5 (c. 1820) by Joseph Lanner, who used the hurdy-gurdy in it (ex. 51). Even a vignette on the first printing of Johann Strauss' waltz "Die Gemütlichen" [translation JW: "The comfortable/amiable ones"].


from 1848/49 shows a couple dancing to the hurdy-gurdy. (ill. 231) [figlink] [fn][1].
[missing part of sentence: Vereinzelt gespielt (Abb. 119) ....]
The instrument fell out of use sometime later.

In Hungary, where the hurdy-gurdy was earlier very widely spread and still used in the 19th century as a dance instrument, there can be found in the last decades only a few old men in the vicinity of Szentes who can play the instrument [fn][2]. There the instrument belonged to the folk music instrumentarium, while in the other parts of the country, up until approximately the mid 1950's, it was found principally in the hands of beggars [fn][3].

The Hungarian practice of playing the hurdy-gurdy is completely different from that of the western European countries. Differences are apparent in the arrangement of the keys, which in Hungary do not produce a major scale, but rather most frequently a Mixolydian scale [fn][4], which is also the scale generally used on the Hungarian bagpipes [fn][5]. [Editor's note: this is not the case on the Hungarian hurdy-gurdies which we are aware of.] Above all considerable differences can be seen in the playing of the melody, and in the sequence of the individual notes. In France and Spain pauses between the return of one key and the insertion of the next are carefully avoided, since the goal is a uniform flowing of the melody, uninterrupted by the sound of the free string, which would be heard between notes. In Hungary however the sound of the free string is inserted between the notes of the melody as a type of extra drone; this is a practice which was cultivated in conscious imitation of the manner of playing the bagpipes there [fn][6].

The musicians used a special technique in playing the


Hungarian bagpipes, whereby the melody note would be played only very briefly and then the sound of the primary note immediately reinstated. The player covers with his fingers all the holes of the playing pipe and opens only the hole for the melody note, which he then immediately closes again, thus playing again the primary note of the pipe [fn][1].

The Hungarian repertoire for the hurdy-gurdy is composed of the same folk and dance songs as for the bagpipes, which in the last decades was used especially by shepherds as musical instruments for their dances [fn][2]. Melodies for the bagpipes were played either on this instrument or on the hurdy-gurdy, again an indication of a common practice and an identical repertoire for both instruments (ex. 52). Just how popular the bagpipe and hurdy-gurdy music was in Hungary is shown by the behavior of gypsy fiddlers, who later replaced these instruments in the dance music. Since their listeners were accustomed to the drone sounds of the hurdy-gurdy and the bagpipes, the fiddlers sometimes had to imitated the music of the bagpipes on their instrument in order to please their public [fn][3].

In Spain the hurdy-gurdy survived up into the 20th century in the provinces of Asturia and Galicia [fn][4]. In Galicia it belonged to the traditional folk instruments of this region, like the bagpipes [fn][5]. It was played almost exclusively by the blind [fn][6], who appeared with their instrument especially in summer and at feasts, church celebrations, and above all in the Corpus Christi processions and in pilgrimages [fn][7]. In the countryside of Asturia and Avila there are still wandering hurdy-gurdy players and players of the "rabel", a three-stringed lute-shaped instrument. The rabel players are likewise


usually blind. These blind musicians with their rabel and hurdy-gurdy sing and play songs of miracle-working saints and of bandits or report about extraordinary events and adventures [fn][1]. Satirical and other cutting songs as well as romances were also played on the hurdy-gurdy. Lastly it served, as in other countries, as a dance instrument for Jotas and other dances [fn][2]. In the Spanish province of Pontevedra singing is accompanied by the instrument, which repeats the melody.

In the last two centuries the blind hurdy-gurdy players in Spain assumed the duties of the organ-grinder in Germany, who used this instrument to present Moritaten [need definition] and Bänkelliedern.[need definition] Since the hurdy-gurdy was played almost exclusively by blind persons in Spain, who in addition presented Moritaten, [need definition] the lack of sight of the musician was used in Spanish to characterize these Moritaten [need definition] as "romance de ciego" [fn][3].

In the province of Pontevedra the pieces from the repertoire of a blind hurdy-gurdy player show, with one exception, the range of a ninth (ex. 53). The melodies are folk tunes with strong rhythmical accents which indicate their use as dance songs. The hurdy-gurdy used for this music had a tonal range of two octaves, from g' to e''' or g''' [fn][4]. In the melodies there are however notes which lie below g', which leads to the supposition that either all instruments were not tuned alike, or that they were tuned higher and lower.

In Belgium the hurdy-gurdy was known up until the end of the 19th century. It was played in Spa in the Ardennes in 1840, in the country around Hesbaye in 1885 and in the Ourthe Valley in 1890 [fn][5]. The French influence on the construction of Belgian hurdy gurdies, which are possibly also


French instruments, is indicated by the term "tièsse di dj'vâ", which is the same as 'tête de cheval', [trans: SB: "horse's head"] so called on account of the shape of the body. [Something missing here?] the French 'vielle en luth' [fn][1]. "lute-shaped hurdy-gurdy".]

As in Spain the repertoire of the hurdy-gurdy in France consists mainly of dance pieces, and the instrument was also used to accompany songs (ex. 54). Aside from dance music, marches are very frequently played in France on the instrument. They are particularly suited for the still widespread practice of using hurdy-gurdies and bagpipes for church processions and feast days (ex. 55). in contrast to the Spanish method of playing the hurdy-gurdy, in France not only are folk dances with simple melodies played, but there are also pieces with runs and quick ornaments (ex. 56). When used as a dance instrument the dance rhythm is marked with the help of the hurdy-gurdy's trompette, whereby the melody is accented as well. This rhythm which is the basis of the corresponding dance is indicated in the dance melodies by dotted rhythms (ex. 57).

As in other countries the hurdy-gurdy and the musette have the same repertoire in France. This is not just expressed by the frequent use of both instruments together. The one instrument can be used for the other as well, depending upon which instrument is available. Dance melodies whose titles indicate their origin from the bagpipes belong as well to the repertoire of the hurdy-gurdy, as for example "La Chevre" (ex. 58), a name which refers to the bagpipes, also called 'chevrette' in France. Similarly another dance piece played on the hurdy-gurdy has the title "Le cornemuseux de Marmignolles" (ex. 59).

Aside from the march, polka, gigue and above all the bourrée (see page 60), which was danced by couples "offen ohne Anfassen zur Sackpfeife oder Drehleier" [trans: JW: "(dancing) apart, without touching, to the bagpipe or hurdy-gurdy"][fn][2]. Waltzes are especially popular. They are widespread throughout the whole of France as 'musette' waltzes andare especially popular today in the repertoire of accordion orchestras or of accordion soloists. Presumably


the name of the waltz 'musette' is related to the French bagpipes called 'musette', which means that this name was transferred to the piece itself from the instrument on which this dance was originally played. As early as the 18th century 'musette' denoted a slow dance, for which a drone sounding below the melody was characteristic.





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Alden and Cali Hackmann
Olympic Musical Instruments

© Original text in German copyright 1977, Verlag für systematische Musikwissenschaft GmbH
© Translation copyright 2005, Olympic Musical Instruments and the Bröcker Tranlation Group