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 2: The Wheel and the Drone


A. The Hurdy-gurdy Wheel

The hurdy-gurdy has been known for close to one thousand years through pictures, descriptions, and extant instruments. Its shape and the manner in which it was played has changed considerably in the course of its history. Even up to the present time the number of strings and keys, and the shape of the body has varied widely. These factors depended on contemporary technical possibilities and musical requirements and are, compared with the wheel, subordinate and variously developed characteristics of the instrument. Through all the centuries, sound was produced by the wheel, and it must therefore be seen as the most important element in the instrument's design.

When mention of a wheel is made in connection with a musical instrument, the instrument concerned is always a hurdy-gurdy, although in medieval sources it goes by different names. The hurdy-gurdy is always to be clearly identified as such, when the text mentions the wheel or the turning motion: "aut in rotatu, ut in symphonia" ("or in rotation, as with the symphonia") [fn][13-1]. The relatively small diameter of the wheel is characterized in more detailed fashion through the use of the diminutive or through a corresponding adjective, and at the same time mention will be made of the turning motion or of the crank: "per rottulam de suptus vertibulo girante" [trans] [fn][13-2]; "haec sonum reddit , dum una manu resolvitur rota parvula" [trans] [fn][13-3]. Attention will also be brought to the position of the wheel within the resonating body: "Habet enim introrsum rotulam paruam" [trans][fn][13-4];


"et Lyra, intùs rotâ, quae versatur", "die Leyr / inwendig von dem Rad / welches gedrehet wird" [trans] [fn][14-1] In a 15th century text the instrument is called an Ysis, and would not be recognized as an hurdy-gurdy were it not for the mention of the wheel. "Ysis est instrumentum in modum rote introrsus habens." [trans] [fn][14-2]

The wheel of the hurdy-gurdy is a vertically positioned round wooden plate. The tone of the instrument is determined both by the wood of the wheel as well as by its size: the larger the wheel , the more full the tone. Only hard woods are used to make the wheel: beech, maple, boxwood or mountain ash. The type of wood chosen makes a great deal of difference for the fullness of tone of the instrument, as does also the size of the wheel. [fn][14-3] The edge of the wheel, which acts as a bow on the strings, is coated with rosin (also called colophonium). This practice is reported in late medieval sources: "rota parvula thure linita", [trans] [fn][14-4] "rotulam paruam, thure linitam". [trans] [fn][14-5] Besides spruce resin, [fn][14-6] tar was also used: "et rotam interius cum pice registratam". [trans] [fn][14-7]

The wheel is moved by a crank situated on the outside of the instrument. The musician turned this with his right hand, while the left hand is used to operate the keys. The representations show that the crank is usually situated on the right side of the instrument and the keys on the left. Only a few pictures show it the other way around. The decisive features of the construction are the positioning of the crank on the outside of the instrument and the location of the wheel within the body. A shaft connects the wheel and the crank. There are three main points to be considered in positioning the wheel in the body:


A wheel situated in the middle of the body would stroke or bow the strings approximately halfway through their length. With the wheel in this position less than half the string length would be available to be shortened. Since the octave has the relationship of 1:2 to the basic tone of the free string and the octave tone is produced at exactly the middle of the string length, the instrument would have a range of less than one octave. Also, the strings should vibrate throughout their entire length if possible. [Ed. Note: A centrally-located wheel would impede such vibrations.] In addition, the wheel, which must be moved uniformly, requires a support built inside the body. If the wheel is positioned in the middle of the body, this support would seriously impair the resonance of the body. However if the wheel is moved closer to the keys, the shaft must then be extended. Under these circumstances additional support within the body would be called for, in order to insure the uniform motion of the wheel. The most simple and practical method proved to be with the shortest distance between the wheel and the crank. In this way the difficulties with the support inside the body are held to a minimum, the strings can vibrate along their entire length without hindrance, and the resonance of the body is limited no more than is necessary. As almost all representations of the instruments, even the early pictures of the large two-player hurdy-gurdies, show that the best possible solution to the combination of wheel and crank was recognized as such from the beginning on.

A characteristic of the hurdy-gurdy is the constant and simultaneous vibration of all available strings. More strings are always being added to create a continuing harmony. On six-stringed hurdy-gurdies the strings are so arranged that the two melody strings run on top of the wheel, and the four drone strings, two on each side, run on the side of the wheel close to the soundboard. A wheel rim of approximately 1 cm width helps to ensure that the strings run as much as possible on the surface of the wheel so that they will lie flat on the rim of the wheel (a) [fn][15-1] and not be bent on the edge because of an extreme slant in the course of the string (b). [Ed. Note: The width of the wheel rim does not determine whether the string lies flat on the wheel rim surface. The angle of the wheel rim and the dimensions of the nuts and bridges determine this important parameter.]



[Ed. Note: The author has used the German word Steg, meaning "bridge", for both the bridges (near the wheel) and the nuts (near the head). For clarity we have used "nut" to denote the part supporting the string at the head end of the instrument.]

If it is not the case that the width of the peghead corresponds to the diameter of the wheel (c), a type of construction which is often found with old hurdy-gurdies (ills. 73, 80, 96, 98, 99, 100, 101, 126, 144, 145, 146, 147) [figlink], then the drone strings then must run over the nuts (orielles = "ears" in French) after they leave the peghead, in order that they do not meet the wheel at too steep an angle (d).


Because the drone strings run nearly parallel from the nuts on the peghead on past the wheel, the bridges can be placed at some distances behind the wheel. This cannot be so in the case of the melody strings. The melody strings are under greater stress


due to the sideways shortening by means of the keys. [fn][17-1] In order to position them more securely on the surface of the wheel rim and to avoid bending them on its edge, their bridge must be placed immediately behind the wheel. The wheel rim and the top of the bridge are at the same height. By placing the bridge at the same height directly behind the wheel the strings do not tend to slip sideways.

The wheel is turned clockwise. The pressure of the rubbing of the strings on the wheel rim can be so severe that even when the crank is turned very evenly the instrument moves very noticeably along with it. Movements of the instrument body hinder the operation of the keys and must therefore be avoided as much as possible. Many representations of the large two-player instruments depict the difficulty encountered in attempting to execute a smooth turning motion without moving the resonating body too much. It was precisely when the instrument was operated by two players that the necessity arose to hold the instrument as steady as possible. For this reason the player who turns the crank almost always has his other hand on the instrument in order to hold it steady (ills. 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 22) [figlink]. A lone musician cannot both hold the hurdy-gurdy securely and play at the same time. If rhythmical accents are to be attained by an uneven turning of the crank, it is even more important that the instrument be stationary. In a sitting position the player therefore secures the hurdy-gurdy with a tight strap around the waist. If he or she plays while standing or walking, the strap runs from the head end to the back and around over the right shoulder to the tail. Usually the player wears an additional strap around the waist. Thus secured with straps, the movement of the instrument is so restricted that any further movement of the instrument can be handled by the pressure of the lower left arm.


The hurdy-gurdy has a powerful tone which is often slightly nasal. In order to avoid having the instrument produce too shrill of a tone, small cotton wads are used which are wrapped around the strings so that they cover just that part which makes contact with the wheel rim (see page 153). In this way the tone is muffled, loses its sharpness and becomes softer and more appealing.


B. The Wheel as a Continuous Bow

The hurdy-gurdy belongs to that group of instruments with which long uninterrupted sounds can be produced. By means of the uniform motion of the wheel tones can be produced which are not subject to any interruption which might be caused by the construction of an instrument. The wheel, which functions as a continuous bow, stands at the end of a development in the course of which it was attempted by various means to produce lasting tones on a stringed instrument.

Early forms of stroked or bowed stringed instruments have been handed down from various parts of the world. It is reported that the musicians of Kirgiz that they frequently rub their otherwise plucked stringed instruments with the palms of their hands. The purpose of this rubbing is to cause the strings to vibrate all at the same time [fn][18-1] and thereby to produce a longer lasting harmony. Other instruments, like the reibholz (rubwood) in Neuirland (New Mecklenburg) were stroked with the dampened flat of the hand [fn][18-2]. Kirghiz and Sartic folk musicians of central Asia stroke not only with the side of a rubbing stick strung with horse hair, but also with its wooden handle [fn][18-3]. In all of these cases the goal is to attain a longer lasting tone through friction and, in case more than one string is available, to cause several strings to sound at the same time.

In the Middle East a better solution to this problem was found: the bow.


Werner Bachmann supposes the bow to have been invented in the Turkistan basin, in the area between the Caspian Sea and the Aral Sea, and the Pamir highlands, and then to have been further developed independently in Arabia and Byzantium. [fn][19-1] Concerning the use of the bow in the Middle East, he observes: "Stets steht auch in instrumentalen Vortrag des Orientalen das "Gesangsmäßige", das ungehemmt strömende Melos im Vordergrund, das sich auf Streichinstrumenten, die das Aushalten und Verbinden der Töne mittels des Streichbogens ermöglichen, am ehesten zum Ausdruck bringen lässt." [trans] [fn][19-2] The bow however was not regarded as the perfect solution, since the motion of the bow back and forth had an observable influence on the direction of the melody [fn][19-3]. For this reason the wheel represents in comparison to the bow an infinite bowing surface, and in this respect, a perfection. "Die Drehleier stellte hinsichlich ihrer Konstruktion einen Versuch dar, den den Streichvorgang zu vereinfachen, den Bogenstrichwechsel zu vermeiden und ein Klangkontinuum zu gewährleisten". [trans] [fn][19-4]


C. Producing an Enduring Tone with Wind Instruments

Creation of the ideal sound of the enduring tone was also attempted with wind instruments. This attempt was successful when the natural breaks in the music caused by breathing were avoided with the help of a special blowing technique . "Die im Orient allgemein verbreitete Technik des Schalmeiblasens räumt selbst die natürlich Begrenzun des Melodiestroms, die durch Atemholen entsteht, aus dem Wege: man atmet wie beim Lötrorblasen durch die Nase und verwendet den Mundraum wie den Blasebalg einer Sackpfeife als Luftspeicher." [trans] [fn][19-5]


This manner of blowing is an ancient and widely spread technique. The triple shawms of Sardinia, called the launeddas [fn][20-1] have their origins in Phoenician times. They make possible the simultaneous blowing of two pipes with finger-holes and one drone pipe, in the playing of which the musician strives to maintain the tone, even over a period of hours. Even today in Sardinia in pilgrimages or processions a launeddas player walks either in front of the cross or behind it, and for the most part he does not follow the singing of the faithful: "sondern unermüdlich und mit besonderem Blastrick (ohne abzusetzen, indem der Spieler durch die Nase atmet und die Luft mit Wangendruck in die Pfeifenblast) seine Melodien voranschickt." ["His melodies continue by means of uninterrupted blowing and a special blowing technique (without removing the instrument from the mouth, breathing in through the nose at the same time, puffing out the cheeks to fill them, and blowing into the instrument"] [fn][20-2]. In playing the zurna, a type of oboe popular throughout the Near East, India, and into China, the hollow of the mouth serves as a wind-chamber, and the player breathes with a special technique such that the music is not interupted. [fn][20-3] In Maghreb the r'aita is blown for a very long time without interrupting the breathing. [fn][20-4]


D. The Enduring Tone and the Drone

The technique of having one or several tones last for longer periods of time is widespread and apparently very old. It is especially emphasized in the Mediterranean area, and the constant and uniform sound of the drone is suited to the style of music of this area. [fn][20-5] This tone does not necessarily have to be the lowest tone in the scale: it "muss nur eine ziemlich zentrale Bedeutung in der tonalen Struktur (bzw. in


der Tonalität) haben". [trans] [fn][21-1] The popularity of drone sounds in many areas is a result of the peculiarity of this simplified polyphony, in which every melody tone is directly related to the drone tone, since the "Hauptcharakterzug des langgezogen Borduns liegt darin, daß er an der Evolution der Melodie nicht teilnimmt". [trans] [fn][21-2] And it is just this contrast between static and moving voices that gives the music "einen eigentümlich aufreizenden Charakter". [trans] [fn][21-3]

The production of the drone does not necessarily depend upon an instrument. It is executed purely vocally by primitive peoples even today [fn][21-4] or, for example, by the Tosken of southern Albania [fn][21-5], and also by the so-called Ison singers of the Greek Orthodox church, who support the melody with non-changing tones (see page 47) [fn][21-6] This vocal form of the drone must be considered to be the original form, predating the instrumental form, "denn die Ausführung des Bordons durch Instrumente erfordert immerhin schon eine gewisse technische Vollkommenheit". [trans] [fn][21-7]

The human voice is not especially suited to the singing of long enduring tones, so the drone is usually played upon an instrument when used to accompany voices. This combination of voices and an instrumental drone is found especially frequently in the Near East: in Morocco the instrumentalist gives the principal tone to the singer and repeats or maintains it without interruption to the end of the piece [fn][21-8].


Stringed instruments are popular in this practice of mixing voice and instrument, supporting the song with a constant repetition of the tonic or also the dominant note of the scale [fn][22-1]. The Nubians accompany their songs in this way with a drone plucked on a five stringed lyre. The figures are played on the instrument with the left hand, in which the melody serves not only as a prelude, but also as an accompaniment to the song, "während die rechte (Hand) mit Hülfe eines Plectrum auf der tiefsten Saite den Ton g fortwährend wie einen Bass dazu anschlägt" [trans] [fn][22-2]. A drone was also played for songs accompanied by the kanun or the solo lute. On the lute the drone was produced by continually plucking a free string [fn][22-3]. Of the stringed instruments the rabab especially serves as a drone instrument. After an instrumental prelude, only a drone is played to accompany the song [fn][22-4]. According to Guillaume André Villoteau this music did not sound especially strange: "elle a produit sur nous presque le même effet que le bourdon de nos musettes" [trans] [fn][22-5].

The reverse execution also occurs, but less often. The melody is played on a wind instrument while the same melody is sung by the player at the same time. This difficult practice is mastered especially by the players of the dvojnice, a south Slavic double flute, [fn][22-6] and of the furulya, a long Hungarian split flute [fn][22-7].


As far as the instrumental drone is concerned, those instruments have reached the highest development which enable both melody and drone to be played. They are mostly technically complex "und daher Eigentum von Kulturvölkern" [trans] [fn][23-1].

In the Mediterranean area numerous drone instruments, especially wind instruments, are evidence of the high standard of development, the long tradition and the great popularity of the use of drones. The Egyptian double clarinettes were such instruments which date from 3,000 B.C. [fn][23-2], just as were the Arabian double shawms the arghûl and the zummâra, where one pipe is used for the melody and the other for the drone. The Sardinian triple shawms, the launeddas, are used in a similar fashion . The bagpipe also belongs to this group of old drone wind instruments, as does the organ which represents a combination of bagpipe and pan flute.

The hurdy-gurdy is also a drone instrument. There is such a close relationship between it and the very ancient bagpipe that the hurdy-gurdy can be characterized as the bagpipe of the string instrument group, and the possibility that the bagpipe aroused interest in building a stringed instrument with similar tonal qualities is not to be discounted. The continually sounding tones of the hurdy-gurdy, its sharp and often nasal tonal quality which distinguishes it from the more gentle sound of other stringed instruments, as well as the constantly sounding drone notes point in the direction in which the closely related bagpipe arose, namely the Near East.

That the sound of the hurdy-gurdy, which in Europe was often characterized as nasal, shrill, or piercing, corresponds to the Arabic conception of what stringed instruments should sound like is shown by the example of the European violin. This instrument was played even in the Arab countries, but quite differently than in Europe. Every tonal beauty which we are accustomed to in our violins is lacking. "Statt dessen hören wir einen recht kratzenden Ton, ohne


darin eine Unvollkommenheit erblicken zu dürfen; denn er entspricht eben einem anderen Klangideal und hat seinen Vorläufer in dem noch schärferen und kratzenderen Ton des Rebab." [trans] [fn][24-1]

Of all the stringed instruments the hurdy-gurdy is especially suited to realize the enduring tone as strived for as the ideal tone in the Middle East. It is therefore to be supposed that the hurdy-gurdy had its origin there, since this ideal sound played a dominant role in Middle Eastern practice of music and decisively influenced the construction of musical instruments.

This ideal sound is formulated by Al Akfani as-Sahawi (died 1348) in his work Irschâd al qâsid, which is "The Proper Guide for the Person striving towards the Highest Goals." In the chapter concerning music he gives the reasons for the invention and use of musical instruments: "These Instruments were invented first to satisfy a need (a necessity), and second to be of some use. This necessity arose as follows: Human tones have an effect upon the soul, take hold of it etc. Then they are interrupted by pauses, which destroy the pleasure. The usefulness exists due to the fact that some instruments contain tones (things) which are not found in nature (and hence not in the human voice) but is not allowable to ignore these." [fn][24-2]

Because on account of breathing pauses occur which do not permit a continuum of sound, the human voice cannot offer undisturbed pleasure, for which reason instruments must be invented which make possible a continuous tone. The efforts to attain this are represented by wind instruments like the double flutes, bagpipes, and organ, by stringed instruments like the hurdy-gurdy, and by the construction


of various music automata by the Byzantines and Arabs [fn][25-1], which as mechanical instruments served specially to produce uninterrupted tones. [fn][25-2]

E. The Wheel and the Hurdy-gurdy in the Middle East

[Ed. Note: This section contains a number of transliterations of Arabic words. In the original these words included markings to modify the characters: the macron symbol, dots above and below the line, etc. Wherever possible these characters are indicated in the text, but not all of these characters can be indicated in HTML. If the transliteration of a particular word seems inadequate, we suggest that the reader should consult the original text for clarification.]

Aside from the ideal sound of the continuous tone and the practice of producing a drone, two literary texts provide evidence for a Middle Eastern origin of the hurdy-gurdy. The first of these are represented by the treatises of the brotherhood Ihwan as-Safa situated in Basra, and were written in the 10th century in Mesopotamia. This brotherhood was formed in the 10th century A.D. and represented a group of scholars who wrote down what was known in their time in 51 treatises. They did not intend to create anything new, but rather to represent all areas of knowledge in a type of encyclopedia.

In a treatise with the title "Motion and Rest" the author speaks about the various types of tones [fn][25-3]. He distinguishes between separated tones and tones connected with one another. As an explanation of the latter he introduces as examples suitable musical instruments. "Getrennt sind solche (Töne), bei denen zwischen den Phasen der Tonerzeugung eine hörbare Ruhepause ist, wie beim Anschlagen der Saiten und Fallenlassen der Schlägel [fn][25-4] . Aber die ununterbrochenen Töne sind Töne wie die der mazamir (Plural von mizmar ‘Schalmei' [shawm]), der nayat (Plural von nay ‘Rohrflöte' [reed flute], der dabadib (Plural von dabdab), und der dawalib (Plural von dulab), und der nawa'ir (Plural von na'ura) und anderer mehr [fn][25-5]." [trans]


As with the woodwind instruments mizmar and nay, [fn][26-1] continuous tones must also be able to be produced with the dabadib, dawalib, and the nawa'ir. Since dabdab is usually translated as "drum" and because continuous tones cannot be produced on a drum, Henry George Farmer assumed that there was an error in the text and that the word was correctly rabab [fn][26-2]. However such an explanation is unnecessary, since the same expression was used in other cases for both percussion and drone instruments. The sumer von triere mentioned by Friedrich von Hausen was probably a bagpipe and therefore a drone instrument, just as the expression zummara from the same word stem denotes the double shawm or bagpipe; on the other hand the Middle High German word sumer means also "measure of grain, kettle drum" [fn][26-3]. Isidor of Seville calls a percussion instrument by the name of symphonia [fn][26-4]; the same expression symphonia later denotes also the bagpipe and the hurdy-gurdy (see pages 192 ff.) The material connection which lies at the bottom of these expressions, as in what follows will also be shown in the case of the dabdab, is an animal skin filled with air, which in the case of the kettle drum is beaten, and in the case of the bagpipe it serves as a supply of air.

Dabdab is a reduplicated form of the word stem db, upon which words of the following meanings are constructed: dabdaba "a kind of drum", dabdab "a drum", dabdaba "any quick motion (like the tramp of the horses)", "cries, shouts, noises, clamour", "a sound like dub dub"; dubadib "very clamorous", "a bulky or corpulent man"; dabba "a beast that is ridden", "a beast of the equine kind; i.e. horse, a mule and an ass" [fn][26-5]. Dubadib meaning "a bulky or corpulent man" is a clear reference to the blown up bag which lies at the bottom of characterizations for bagpipes and kettle drums. From this, as well as from the meanings "cries, shouts"


and "beast of the equine kind; i.e. horse, a mule and an ass" it can be inferred that the dabdab was also a shrill and loud sounding wind instrument made of animal hide, most probably a bagpipe. This inference is also justified by parallel linguistic phenomena, which show that the most important names for the bagpipe are connected with donkeys and mules. "The French word musette, ‘bagpipe, feed-bag for horses' can be traced back through the Venetian muso ‘donkey' and the Albanian musk 'mule' to Asia Minor; according to Anakreon (fragment 35 Bergk), the Mysians of Asia Minor invented the cultivation of mules. The widespread ghaida, gaita ‘bagpipe' indicates Asia Minor as well: γαιδαρος in modern Greek, γαιδονρι in Cappadocian, and gaizar in Turkish all mean ‘donkey'. The modern High German Dudelsack is related to the Polish words dudla for ‘hollow of a tree, a hollow tree', dudy ‘bagpipe', and dudlic ‘to play the bagpipe'; duldul is the mule's name in the Islamic world, the mule of the prophet Mohammed or of the Caliph Ali" [fn][27-1]. The Arabic word zummara "bagpipe" is connected with the Latin word summarius "sumpter mule", and the Latin word cantare "to blow the flute, to sing" is probably related to the Greek words κανδων, κανδηπιοσ "a pack-ass", the French word bourdonner "to play the bagpipe" is related to the Latin word burdo-onis "mule" [fn][27-2]. Thus even the word which gave its name to the drone tones of the hurdy-gurdy and the bagpipe is part of the tradition which extends from the mule over the animal hide, leather bag, bellows, and bagpipe to the drone pipe and the continuous tones which characterize the bagpipe and the hurdy-gurdy [fn][27-3].

If it is assumed with the support of such examples that the meaning of dabdab is ‘bagpipe', then it can be logically placed in order with the other instruments listed in accordance with the criteria mentioned by the author of that treatise.

The instruments mentioned last in the treatise -- the dawalib and nawa'ir are translated by Friedrich Dieterici as "Wasserader" (‘waterwheels') and "Schopf maschinen" (‘scooping machines') [fn][27-4].


Although this translation gives one of the correct meanings for each word, they do not appear to be suitable in context, because here dulab and na'ura must be the names of musical instruments, with which continuous tones can be produced.

The most usual meaning of na'ura is "scoopwheel or waterwheel", or "any type of irrigation machine", especially a type of waterwheel which is driven by water current and which produces tones when turned. "Die nawa'ir, mit denen man Wasser schöpft, setzen das Wasser in kreisrunde Bewegung, wobei sie einen Laut von sich geben." ["The nawa'ir, with which water is scooped, is turned in a circular motion by the water, thereby producing a sound."] [fn][28-1] These noises produced by the turning motion have been appraised by individual authors in quite different ways: Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Abulmutahhar alazdi (ca.1050) found the tones of the scoop wheels to be pleasant, and Roman Oberhummer characterized the huge scoopwheels of Hims (Homs), which are unique in the Arabic world, as giant organs, which with their deep tones sounding far in the distance have a soothing and elevating effect. [fn][28-2] [fn][28-3] On the other hand, this sound has also been described as a creaking noise ("noise or [creaking] sound") [fn][28-4] or as a "klagender Ton" ("jarring tone.") [fn][28-5] Characteristic for the type of sound is for example a different name for such waterwheels: "Hannâna, die Seufzende, nach dem eigentümlichen, knarrenden Ton, den sie von sich geben." ["Hannâna, the Sigher, from the peculiar creaking tone which it emits."] [fn][28-6] The na'ura also received their name from the creaking noise caused when they are turned, according to Abû Hanifa al Dînawarî. [fn][28-7]


On the basis of etymological relationships it can be concluded that a wind instrument is meant by the word na'ura, just as with the word dabdab. In the Babylonian-Assyrian language naharu meant "snore, snort", and naheru meant the "snorter". [fn][29-1] The Arabic word nahara means "snore, groan, the snorting of horses and donkeys," [fn][29-2] or "a noise made by the nose of a man, a donkey, or a horse" [fn][29-3]. The modern Hebrew as well as Syrian word n'r means the "braying or crying of a donkey." [fn][29-4] The Arabic word nahara contains the expressions for "windpipe" and the "stabbing of the camels," during which the animal's carotid arteries are pierced. [fn][29-5] To the same word stem belong nhr which is "a cloud which bursts with much water" and nahr meaning "rump, lap, breast, chest," especially the place "where the windpipe commences in the uppermost part of the breast." [fn][29-6]

Expressions like "windpipe, blowing, snorting, bursting of a filled container (cloud), breast and belly" raise the suspicion that the na'ura is also a wind instrument with a windbag and pipes and a member of the same group to which the bagpipe and organ belong. Here as well, as with the dabdab, the material connection is with the noises of the animals, the snorting or crying of the donkey, and its function as a water carrier; the donkey carries the water bags and keeps the waterwheels and the millwheels in motion.

Another source as well makes possible the classification of the na'ura as a wind instrument: Al Makkari reports in his history of the Islamic dynasties in Spain concerning the Spanish center of musical instrument building in Seville [fn][29-7] and mentions among the instruments made there a nurah (nawra), which he describes as a


flute. [fn][30-1] Just as the Arabic term na'ura for a waterwheel is the source for the Spanish words añoria, and noria, [fn][30-2] the Portuguese word nora [fn][30-3] and the French word noria, [fn][30-4] so also could nurah as the name of an instrument have come from this word.

To summarize: it is to be considered that the na'ura is also a member of that group of instruments upon which the player can produce uninterrupted tonal sequences.

It remains only to clarify what instrument the word dulab denotes in our text. On the basis of its inclusion in the list of musical instruments above, dulab similarly cannot be translated as "waterwheel", but like dabdab and na'ura it must denote an instrument with which continuous tones can be produced. A corresponding meaning can be culled from etymological relationships.

There are various theories concerning the origin of the Arabic word dulab, all of which must be considered to be uncertain. It might be a coupling of the Arabic words dual and ab, [fn][30-5] of the Persian words dól and áb [fn][30-6] or of the Persian dalu and ab [fn][30-7]. From the combination of dûl "bucket" and ab "water" comes the primary meaning of "waterwheel" [fn][30-8]. This supposition derives support from the following meanings of dul and the words related to it:


Assyrian dalû "scoop" [fn][31-1], "especially water" [fn][31-2]; Assyrian dalû "pull water up out of a well" [fn][31-3], "bucket, container for scooping" [fn][31-4]; Assyrian dulutu "scooping ditch" and Assyrian dulati (plural) "schöpfeimer" ["scoop bucket"] [fn][31-5], the Assyrian dalu, "water-scooper", "water carrier" [fn][31-6], Persian dol "bucket" [fn][31-7], Arabian dul "container for scooping" [fn][31-8].

The principal meaning of these two root words which relate to the process of scooping is "scooping container". There are also synonym expressions for the Persian word dul, specifically the Arabic and Persian word delw "bucket" [fn][31-9] and Arabic dalw "leather bucket" [fn][31-10], which are derived from the three-fold root dlw meaning "scooping bucket" [fn][31-11]. The word dulab could also have been formed from these roots on the basis of the possibility of a change from dlw to dlb (w=b). A material connection would then arise from a development of meaning from "scooping container" to "water carrier" to the animal which performs this work by keeping the scooping-wheel turning. Then the meaning of dulab no longer depends primarily upon the containers used for scooping, but rather upon the (wheel) turning motion and on the animals [fn][31-12], especially the donkeys [fn][31-13], which


turn the water-wheels. This is supported by other words related to the dlw stem. The meaning of "to circle" has both the Arabic dwl [fn][32-1], which came from dlw through metathesis of w and l, as well as Arabic dwr [fn][32-2], in which the l changed to r. In the Semitic languages a "mutual interchanging frequently occurs especially between r and l" [fn][32-3], which is made clear by an example: Arabic daula is the same as duara, both synonyms of da'ira "circulus, venter hominis et animalis, tympanum manuale" [trans] [fn][32-4].

Finally a direct relationship between the water wheel and circular movement also arises in the case of dulab out of other meanings of this word group: Persian dolab means "spinning wheel, disk, turnable table" [fn][32-5], Arabic dulab "turnable table, turnable cabinet" [fn][32-6]. From these words come the Persian dolab, Turkish dolap, Rumanian dulap, and Bulgarian dulap for "cabinet" [fn][32-7]. The Arabic word dulab denotes a "machine which is turned by a horse or similar animal, or any machine which revolves" [fn][32-8], a "windlass" [fn][32-9] and "in general, wheel" [fn][32-10]. Persian-Turkish dolab means "everything that is turned" [fn][32-11] and that is round, for example Turkish dolap


"drum-belly" [fn][33-1], Persian dolab "drum" [fn][33-2], "tympanum" [fn][33-3]. The last meanings mentioned point again to the material used, namely the animal skin, for which reason it is also to be considered whether the three-root Arabic word taulab "young donkey" [fn][33-4] does not also belong in this group.

If circular motion is taken to be the principle element in the meanings of dulab on the basis of these examples, then in conjunction with the use of the word in the context of the source there is the conclusion that here dulab may denote a musical instrument whose principal characteristic is circular motion, that is, probably a hurdy-gurdy. This thesis is supported by the fact that the word dolab denoted the hurdy-gurdy at the beginning of the 15th century in Persia.

Abdalqadir Ibn Gaibi al-Hafiz al-Maragi wrote a treatise in 1405 about more than forty different Persian instruments, including one with the name saz dolab. The word saz means "instrument", and here dolab certainly means "wheel". This saz dolab is described exactly by Ibn Gaibi according to its individual components. It had the shape of a kettle-drum, inside of which strings ran in contact with a resined wheel. Keys fixed on the outside moved the tangents up and down and thereby shortened the strings. The wheel which stroked the strings was turned by means of an external crank. [fn][33-5] An instrument so described can only be a hurdy-gurdy. [fn][33-6] At this point it could perhaps be objected that here we are concerned with only an object which managed to end up in Turkey and hence Persia through one of the crusades in the preceding


years. But if this were the case Ibn Gaibi would certainly not have listed it with the Persian instruments. The usual European forms of the instrument, as they are known to us through numerous representations, also count against this objection. No European hurdy-gurdy had the form of a kettle-drum, as Ibn Gaibi describes it in his treatise.


F. The Application of the Wheel in the Middle East

It can be expected that the wheel would only be used in the construction of musical instruments in areas where it was an object of everyday life. In order to support the thesis that the hurdy-gurdy had a Middle Eastern origin it is therefore necessary to point out that the wheel was used in this region since the earliest times: as a wagon-wheel, with the first fast wagons being developed in Mesopotamia; as bowl-shaping discs; as boring tools; as scooping and water wheels; and as water mill-wheels.

Bowl-shaping discs were already in use in Mesopotamia in 3,000 B.C. [fn][34-1]. From this central point of origin they were spread all the way to Europe, although in some areas they remained unknown up until the 12th century A.D., for example in Eastern Prussia, Poland, and many parts of European Russia [fn][34-2].

The use of the wheel for irrigation of the land was of great importance in the Middle East. Artificial irrigation was known for a long time especially on the Euphrates. In the same area, in the many cities on the Euphrates and Tigris, water wheels were also used to drive mills, and the coastal city of Basra on the Persian Gulf even had tidal mills [fn][34-3]. The Arabs


became acquainted with these water mills in the course of their expeditions into Mesopotamia and Syria and adopted them just as they did with artificial irrigation through the use of water wheels, which they introduced in lands as far away as Spain [fn][35-1] [fn][35-2]. Al Makkari reports a giant water wheel in Toledo which raised the water of the river so high that it could flow through underground pipes into the city, which lay considerably above the river, and could be used by the inhabitants [fn][35-3].

The usual and various Middle Eastern names for water wheels indicate their variety of forms and functions in different systems: hence wheels are not only vertically and horizontally positioned, but in some irrigations systems rolls of wood revolving around an axis are used [fn][35-4][fn][35-5]. These rolls are significant in this context because they are wide wooden discs in the form of vertically standing wooden disc wheels.

The wheel was an essential tool in the exploitation of water power. Water wheels were used both for irrigation and for driving mills as well as for the construction of music automata or sounding water wheels [fn][35-6]. Philon of Byzantium (3rd century B.C.) described


water wheels which made whistling sounds [fn][36-1]. The great number of various systems and the variant modes of construction of water wheels employed in them shows how popular these music automata were in Byzantium and in the Arabic lands.

Besides these music automata constructed with the help of water wheels there were also those whose wheels were driven by the wind, for example the windmill organ of late antiquity [fn][36-2]. On the basis of long experience with stringed instruments it was only a step to combine not only whistling or fluting with the wheel, but also strings and to unite the two into one musical instrument. This new combination served also the purpose of making long lasting tones possible.

The importance the wheel (or the circular form) had both for the construction as well as for the naming of musical instruments is shown by the following:

In Greek and Latin rhombus denotes, aside from the mathematical figure, "any twisted, rounded, or revolving body" or "gyroscope" and "magic wheel", also "a noise-making musical instrument used in the worship of Kybele, Rheia, or Demeter" [fn][36-3];

In Greek and Latin tympanum means not only "disc-wheel" and "water scoop wheel" (French tympan, English tympan, tympanum), but also "tambourin" [fn][36-4];

The Greek syrinx means not only "axle-cylinder, the inner metallic part of the hub which revolves around the axis" [fn][36-5], but also "pan flute" [fn][36-6];


In Latin cantus for "iron wheel rim, wheel rim" [fn][37-1] also means "song", preserved in the modern French word chant which also means "song" [fn][37-2];

The Arabic da'ira means "circle" [fn][37-3] and "wheel" [fn][37-4], in Arabic and Turkish on account of its circular form [fn][37-5] it also means "tambourine" [fn][37-6].

Among the identical names for wheels and musical instruments are some which are off especial significance because they are used both for a (water) wheel as well as for the hurdy-gurdy: In German Leier denotes the "hurdy-gurdy", but it denotes also the windlass used to raise the bucket out of a well; Leiern "to play the hurdy-gurdy", means also "to wind, to raise water up out of a well" [fn][37-7]; In English hurdy-gurdy denotes a water wheel as well as the instrument: "A wheel driven by means of a jet of water that strikes a series of buckets on the circumference of the wheel" [fn][37-8]. With hurdy-gurdy the parallel with the Arabic dulab and the Persian dolab becomes apparent, since these words also denote both "waterwheel" and "hurdy-gurdy".


The following can be said with certainty for summing-up: In the Middle East the wheel was used very early in various categories of daily life. The variety of uses of the wheel in this cultural region is shown especially by the construction of music automata, in which the wheel represented an important part of the construction. These mechanical music instruments on the other hand must be considered as efforts to reach the Middle Eastern ideal of uninterrupted playable continuous tones. Such long lasting tones were required especially for the Mediterranean practice of drones. With the bow which was invented in the Middle East such tonal ideals could be approximated. However the ideal stringed instrument for this musical practice was the hurdy-gurdy, in which wheel, lasting tone and drone tone were united. Its origin in the Middle East therefore may be considered to be certain.


G. The Hurdy-gurdy's Path to Europe

When it is assumed that the hurdy-gurdy originated in the Middle East, the question arises as to how it got to Europe. Various ways are to be considered: the commercial routes from Byzantium north and westwards, or the direct route via Arabic Spain.

Even in very early times, for about 3000 years there were trade routes along which a lively exchange of goods between the Near East and the Baltic Sea area took place [fn][38-1]. Primarily there appears to have been an exchange of material goods since a more far-reaching cultural influence cannot be traced. [fn][38-2]

Most probably the trade between Byzantium and Western Europe moved along the same inner continental routes along the Danube as the trade between Byzantium and the Baltic Sea region [fn][38-3]. As far as the influence of Middle Eastern culture


goes, the route from Byzantium to Western Europe was by far of the most importance.

Islamic art had an effect upon both the Western and Eastern cultural spheres. [fn][39-1] Influences upon European architecture and art can be proven on the basis of numerous examples. With the music however influences are significantly hard to trace, since absolutely no written texts of this time exist which give any information as to how the music in fact sounded. It is just as hard to follow the spread of musical instruments [fn][39-2]. The sources of information concerning the wanderings of instruments include instruments which have been found, written texts which mention the instruments, pictorial representations, and names and characterizations which allow one to conclude that they came from another cultural sphere on the basis of their etymological relationships.

There is no material to establish whether the hurdy-gurdy was spread through the contemporary land route from Byzantium to Eastern and Western Europe, since neither instruments nor written nor pictorial testimonies have been found. Nor do Eastern European names offer any kind of a foothold: the local names for the hurdy-gurdy show no sign at all of Middle Eastern influence, rather they are names derived from the names of other string instruments (see page 233). Also opposing the possibility that the instrument was spread from Byzantium through Southeastern Europe is the fact that the earliest pictorial representations of the hurdy-gurdy come from Spain, and that the instrument was first mentioned in the early French literature.

With considerable probability the hurdy-gurdy, like many other instruments of Arabic origin, was brought to Europe by the Arabs who conquered Spain [fn][39-3]. The influence of the Arabs upon the economy, science,


and art of Spain and other European lands was undeniably very extensive. The important effect of Arabic scientists in the European Middle Ages is shown by the numerous Latin translations of the works of Arabic scholars and philosophers [fn][40-1]. The centers of Arabic intellectual activity in Moorish Spain became the meeting-points for scientists from every Islamic and Western European country [fn][40-2]. The interest of Spanish Christians in the Islamic culture went so far that they neglected their own language because they were enchanted by the harmony of Arabic verse [fn][40-3]. Both Islamic and Christian rulers in Spain cultivated close cultural ties. Islamic cultural products were adopted in the Christian courts of Northern Spain, which required good political relationships. Not only were treaties made, but marriages as well: Alfonso VI of Castile (ruled 1065/72-1109), who was characterized by his contemporaries as being half Arabic, married the baptized daughter of Al Motamid of Seville [fn][40-4].

The stimuli which the Christian kingdoms of Northern Spain received from the Arabs had an effect far beyond the borders of Spain. The troubadour art especially adopted many ideas from Moorish Spain [fn][40-5]. Numerous troubadours from Provençe spent long periods of time at courts in Northern Spain. The cultural ties could develop on the basis of political and especially dynastic


connections [fn][41-1]. In this regard it appears understandable that Middle Eastern influence can be shown in various ways in the melodies of the troubadours and the trouvères and in French folk songs [fn][41-2].

The traveling minstrels played a dominant role as the representatives of poetry and music. They, like the troubadours, also adopted and re-worked Arabic formal elements, as shown by the prologue of a traveller to the legend of the holy Fides of Agen, which is dated to the end of the 11th century. The minstrel expressly emphasizes that this time he is not handling a Spanish theme, that the words are not Greek and that he is not using the Saracen language, and he seems to be indicating that this is exceptional.

"Canczon audi q'es bella ‘n tresca,
Que fo de razon espanesca;
Non fo de paraulla grezesca
Ne de lengua serrazinesca.
Dolz' e suaus es plus que bresca
E plus qu nulz pimentz q'om mesca." [trans] [fn][41-3]

The Spanish minstrels did not limit simply their activity to their homeland, but wandered over France to Flanders and especially spread social music, in the form of song with instrumental accompaniment [fn][41-4].


In the field of music Arabic influence was to be found above all in three areas: musical forms, music theory, and musical instruments [fn][42-1]. The Arabs in Spain loved and specially cultivated instrumental music. "Daher kommt es, dass Spanien auf westgothschen, romanischen, und gotischen Baudenmälern und Bildwerken so viele ausdrucksvolle Szenen mit Darstellung von Instrumenten auf weist." ["It is for this reason that Spain offers so many expressive scenes with representations of instruments on Visigothic, Roman, and Gothic monuments and sculptures."] [fn][42-2] Seville was the center of instrument making during the dominance of the Moors. Great numbers of musical instruments were manufactured there and exported [fn][42-3].

The hurdy-gurdy belongs to those instruments which found their way into Europe via Moorish Spain. The first mention of the instrument in an Arabic text is found in the Encyclopedia of Ihwan as-Safa, the "humble brother" of Basra as already mentioned on page 25ff . Soon after their appearance, these writings were brought to Spain by a man named Muslim Ibn Muhammad abul Kasim, "known as al Magriti (of Madrid) al Andalusi (the Spaniard) arrijadi (the teacher)", on account of which it has often been concluded that he was its author [fn][42-4]. "Dass al Magriti diese Abhandlungen so bald (er starb, heisst es, anno 1007) nach Spanien, dem Greichenland des Mittelalters, brachte, beweist die große Wichtigkeit dieser Schule, denn ohne die Zusammenfassung aller Wissenschaften, wie es die Schule that, hätte nimmer die grosse geistige Entwicklung unter den Muhammedanern, Juden und Christen Spaniens stattfinden können; eine Entwicklung, die ihren befruchtenden Einfluss mit aller Macht auf die mittelalterliche Bildung ausübte." ["The fact that al Magriti brought these treatises so soon (he died, as the report goes, in the year 1007) to Spain, the Greece of the Middle Ages, indicated the great importance of this school, for without the summary of all the sciences which this school made, the great intellectual development among the Muslims, Jews, and Christians of Spain would never have taken place, a development which exercised its fruitful influence with all strength upon medieval educations"] [fn][42-5].

Aside from the Arabic encyclopedia of Ihwan as-Safa, which found its way quite early to Spain, the first recorded pictorial representations of the hurdy-gurdy


also indicate that they were adopted out of the Middle East. The earliest pictures which have come down to us come from Soria, which was in the Arabic sphere of power in the second half of the ninth century, and from Santiago de Compostela. Soria and Santiago were stopping-points along the campaign route of Almenzors in the second half of the tenth century, resulting in the destruction of Santiago's ancient cathedral.


H. The Earliest Representations of the Hurdy-gurdy

The oldest preserved representation of a hurdy-gurdy is found on the cathedral Santo Domingo of Soria, built around 1150, the capital of the Spanish province Soria in Old Castile (ill. 13) [figlink]. A large instrument for two players is portrayed on the portal, which has the same form as the hurdy-gurdy represented just a few years later on the newly built cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (ill. 17) [figlink] and again as the one pictured some time later on the bishop's palace in the same place (ill. 18) [figlink]. The especially beautiful and very well preserved representation on the cathedral of Santiago depicts details of the instrument exactly. Worthy of notice is the fact that its ornamentation betrays Arabic influence [fn][43-1]. In this context it is significant that two representations of the hurdy-gurdy have been preserved in Santiago, since Santiago de Compostela was one of the most important places in the Middle Ages for the exchange of cultural goods in Europe [fn][43-2]. As the meeting-point for European clerics and lay people, Santiago played a leading role in spreading spiritual and secular music and musical instruments.

Since the 11th century Santiago de Compostela was one of the famous goals of pilgrimages in the Middle Ages. For


two centuries pilgrims caused the importance of the Spanish St. James sanctuary in Compostela to grow steadily [fn][44-1]. The mainstream of the pilgrims to Santiago came from France and from what is now northwest Germany. Several pilgrim highways, especially later the so-called "great St. James' Way" [fn][44-2] lead through France to the St. James sanctuary in Spain. Undoubtedly in the course of this constant pilgrim activity there ensued also an intensive cultural exchange, and it can be presumed with certainty that in this way the hurdy-gurdy found its way to northern France. The representation of the instrument in the second half of the 12th century on a capitol of the Kreuzgang in the Abbey at Saint-Georges-de-Bocherville near Rouen (ill. 14) [figlink] can be considered as proof. It shows the same form of the hurdy-gurdy as the Spanish representations of the same period (ills. 13, 17, 18) [figlink]. A Psalter initial from the Abbey of Marchiennes in Hennegau (ill. 20) [figlink] and an English Psalter manuscript of the period between 1214 and 1222 (ill. 19) [figlink] also depict this form of the instrument for two players. The hurdy-gurdy probably came into Flanders through northern France. The instrument could have come to England in various ways: across Normandy or the Aquitaine, since both territories were in close connection with England in the 11th and 12th centuries [fn][44-3], or by sea from Spain, which had very close ties with England in the Middle Ages [fn][44-4].

To summarize, the representations of the hurdy-gurdy mentioned here show characteristics common to all, namely a large instrument for two players with a neck and a very characteristic shape (a figure-eight or guitar shape, see pages 131 ff) .


The fact that this type of instrument was represented within such a small period of time in such widely separated areas as Spain, northern France, Flanders and England results from the lively relations between these countries. It is especially instructive that the individual representations arose in a narrowly defined space of time. It is tempting to conclude that the hurdy-gurdy was known in these countries even before this time period, perhaps at the beginning of the 12th century or even earlier.

It must be supposed that it took a long time before a musical instrument which had just become known locally to also become so popular that it was a generally acknowledged member of the musical instrument family. Therefore the hurdy-gurdy must have been known long before its first pictorial representation in the respective country. This supposition seems to be especially justified by the very different types of ornamentation in the first representations of the instrument. Just a few years after the first representation of a hurdy-gurdy in Soria (ill. 13) [figlink], the Spanish instruments already show rich ornamentation (ills. 17, 18) [figlink], which possibly implies a rather lengthy tradition in the building of hurdy-gurdies. Obviously the large Spanish hurdy-gurdy is older than those used in other areas, and this can be considered as proof for the thesis that the instrument was spread to Europe from Spain [fn][45-1], in addition to the already mentioned facts regarding the generally customary operation by two players, the similarity in shape and the origin in a short period of time.



I. Medieval Drone Practices in Europe

Since the hurdy-gurdy apparently originated in the Middle East where it was used to realize the ideal of the continuous tone, it was a drone instrument from its inception. Admittedly no drone strings can be recognized in the representations of the Middle Ages, since the keybox is always shown closed. Even in the times when it is known for certain that the hurdy-gurdy had drone strings it cannot be shown from pictures that they exist because of the closed keybox (ills. 106, 107, 108, 112, 113) [figlink]. However if the thesis concerning its Middle Eastern origin is correct it must be concluded that the instrument served originally as a drone instrument and hence was provided with drone strings. This is shown both from the construction of the hurdy-gurdy with the wheel as an infinite bow and from the locale in which it originated, where the drone practice was very extensive,. Drone strings were almost certainly found on the instruments introduced into Europe and the instruments patterned after them there. For this and for the speedy and wide diffusion of the hurdy-gurdy in Europe an essential prerequisite however had to be fulfilled: the possibility of the use of such a drone instrument in the music life of that time. This was fulfilled through the drone practice which was also widespread and popular in Europe. Henri Laviox Fils remarked on this: "Un des caractères principaux de la musique du moyen âge est une tendance singulière vers les combinaisons harmoniques à basses persistantes et monotones, en depit des fausses relations, qui peuvent résulter de ces tenues obstinées" [trans][fn][46-1].

Drone instruments like the hurdy-gurdy are especially suited for the presentation of certain forms of early polyphony in Europe. These forms include the so-called "Haltetonorganum" ("constant-tone organum") with its long held drone tones, and the parallel organum, which on account of its slow manner of presentation requires that the sounds are sustained, and which was cultivated in the spiritual music up until the 16th century [fn][46-2] and in


folk music up until the 20th century. [fn][47-1]

While the Haltetoneorganum was mentioned by Guido of Arezzo [fn][47-2], the best source concerning this subject is found in the "Summa musicae". This later source is attributed to Johannes de Muris by Martin Gerbert. In this treatise the author characterizes two different ways of using two voices with the term "dyaphonia": the "dyaphonia organica" is, according to him, a piece of music with two voices, in which the voices move counter to each other, while the "dyaphonia basilica" characterizes a piece with two voices, one of which is held. This voice serves as a basis for the second (melody) voice, which moves up and down. Both voices meet on the drone tone during pauses in the melody: "Dyaphonia est modus canendi duobus modis; et dividitur in basilicam et organicam. Basilica est (modus) canendi duobus modis melodiam, ita quod unus teneat continue notam unam, quae est quasi basis cantus alterius concinentis; alter vero socius cantum incipit vel in diapente, vel in diapason, quandoque ascendens, quandoque descendens, ita quod in pausea concordet aliquo modo cum eo, qui basin observat." [fn][47-3]

The author of the "Summa musicae" is the only researcher to describe this practice in detail, but this cannot be taken to mean that this method of presentation was only introduced at a later date. On the contrary, Ernst Ludwig Waeltner even supposes that the sound of the drone was so familiar that it needed no special mention [fn][47-4].


There is a possible link between the "dyaphonia basilica" as explained above and the vocal drone practice of the Ison-song which is still cultivated in a few Greek cloisters. This Byzantine Ison, the origin of which cannot be determined, must be very old, since the development of polyphony in the later centuries hindered the genesis of such a strict drone practice. The Ison is believed to have originated in ancient times and to have been adopted by the Byzantines [fn][48-1] and by the Arabians from ancient Greece [fn][48-2]. The "dyaphonia basilica" could have become known in western Europe through Byzantium, since there was a strong "influence of the east upon the church choral music and the entire liturgical art of the West" [fn][48-3]: "Einfluß des Ostens auf den Kirchengesang und die gesamte liturgische Kunst des Westens." This prompted Ewald Jammers to point to a possible connection between the adjective "basilica" and the Byzantine emperor, the Basileus [fn][48-4]. In connection with the haltetonorganum mentioned by Guido of Arezzo, Peter Wagner pointed to a possible relationship between this drone practice and the Ison-song and in addition remarked that the former could have come to Europe from Byzantium. Such an event would need to have happened before the 11th century, since in Guido's time the extremely tense political situation would have prevented such an adoption [fn][48-5].

A definite medieval drone practice is revealed by sources in which the important expression "drone", in Latin burdo, was used. The Anonymous IV (after 1272) mentions a "bordunus organorum" [fn][48-6], which Heinrich Besseler interpreted to be a longer tenor sustained note in the organum [fn][48-7]. According to Walther Krüger these


sustained tenor notes were executed by the organ, for the anonymous author "provides an excerpt out of an organum duplum and makes a note in reference to the sustained note G of the tenor: ‘continuando et G in fine modo stabili, ut in burdone organorum'"[trans][fn][49-1]. Similarly the Anonymous of St. Emmeram (1279) mentions the word "burdo" several times in his treatise on the organum duplum: "supra burdonem tenoris edificari cernitur a natura et sub dispositione organi specialis" [trans][fn][49-2] (page 53, line 5 f); "supra burdonem in cantibus organicis" [trans] (page 53, line 21); "id est burdone, id est organum duplex uel speciale" [trans] (page 53, line 28f); "Siue organum speciale et hoc supra burdonem in tenore, siue cum discantu" [trans] (page 129, line 35f.); "Id est quociens per se ponitur supra burdonem tenoris" [trans] (page 130, line 1).

The repeated mention of the word "burdo" and the manner of its use in this treatise show the author's familiarity with this term, and this in turn indicates a long use of the word and the drone practice which it serves to characterize. Therefore it should not be concluded from the small number of written texts concerning the medieval sustained tone organum that we are dealing with a method of presentation which was only rarely employed. A large number of instruments speaks expressly in favour of this musical practice in Europe. Instruments in large numbers were employed for the church organal practice [fn][49-3], and some Prosula and sequence texts are only understandable when it is supposed that instruments and voices were used simultaneously [fn][49-4], and that the tenor voices in motets were likewise played


upon instruments [fn][50-1].

The instrumental execution of drone and melody was often divided between several instruments, where one instrument would play the melody, the other instrument the drone accompaniment. The "galoubet", in German "Schwegel", was a small flute which was held and played by the musician with one hand. Meanwhile with the other hand he beat upon a drum or a "tambourin du Béarn", a stringed instrument whose strings were struck by a stick. Its seven strings were tuned in tonic and dominant, and it was intended to be only a drone instrument. In the combination of flute and drum, the drum serves as a drone instrument and replaces the drone tone of the stringed instruments [fn][50-2]. The drum-bass fiddle called the "gardon" has the same function as the "tambourin de Béarn" [fn][50-3]. About the size of a cello, the "gardon" was still played until recently with the violin in Romania and Bukovina. It has four strings tuned to the same tone, which are alternately plucked with the fingers and struck with a stick, with the muffled tone produced by the stick resembling that of a large drum [fn][50-4].

The drone instruments belong to a group of instruments which are constructed so that polyphonic pieces could be played on them. In the class of wind instruments they include especially the bagpipe and the organ, which must be considered to be the most important drone instruments of the Middle Ages in Europe. Especially the secular small organ, the portative, was always a drone instrument [fn][50-5], and Hans Hickmann even suspected in the case of some representations of the portative that


they were used exclusively for this purpose. "The extraordinarily large deepest pipes is particularly noteworthy in the case of several of the instruments with a small construction, but also the rapid descent in general, which supports an interpretation of being pure drone instruments" [fn][51-1].

Aside from wind instruments, stringed instruments were especially well liked for the use of drones. Plucked instruments were also used such as the Jew's Harp, which can be used only as a drone instrument on account of the way the sound is produced [fn][51-2]. Although plucked stringed instruments like the chitarrone [fn][51-3] and the theorbo also had drone strings, the bowed stringed instruments formed the most important group of drone instruments with strings [fn][51-4]. In Central Asia the melody is played on only one string of a several string instrument and a constantly sounding drone on the other strings [fn][51-5]. On the other hand stringed instruments In Europe were strung with drone strings in the Middle Ages and several strings were used for the melody. The most popular stringed instrument of the Middle Ages, the vielle had a drone string in addition to the melody strings. The tuning of the strings is described by Hieronymus de Moravia [fn][51-6]. The lira, a string instrument built only towards the end of the Middle Ages, was strung with from seven to twenty-four strings and always had drone strings [fn][51-7].

The bagpipes and the hurdy-gurdy are the most important of the drone instruments built especially for this practice and are the only ones which are still played in Europe. "Sie ragen in die moderne Zeit als lebendige Zeugen einer Tuasende von Jahren alten Überlieferung herein und künden uns in einer halb vertrauten, halb fremdartigen Sprache die Abstammung aus dem Orient." ["They stand in modern times as living witnesses of a thousand year old tradition and testify to us in a half familiar, half foreign language of their origin in the Middle East."] [fn][51-8]


Later the drone pipes or strings were removed from the other drone instruments of the Middle Ages, although as late as the 17th century it was still remembered that, for example, earlier the organ was a drone instrument just as the hurdy-gurdy was. This is shown in a letter from Sethus Calvisius to Michael Praetorius: "man hat vff den Orgeln / zu den Consonantiis eine andere sonderliche reige Pfeiffen haben muessen / in welchen man allezeit die Consonantis gezogen / welche sich zum Choral Clave schicke und reimen; wie auff der Leyre geschiehet; als c g c' / oder d a d' /oder e h e' etc. Dieselbe Claves haven 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" [trans] [fn][52-1].


J. The Hurdy-gurdy's Drone Strings

In view of Emmanuel Winternitz's opinion that the hurdy-gurdy had drone strings only after 1300, the point of view that drone strings were employed earlier must be shown to be valid. [fn][52-2]. According to the opinion of Joseph Smits van Waesberghe, the use of drone strings was preceded by a different technique: in the case of the large hurdy-gurdies for two players one of the strings (according to van Waesberghe earlier the strings were all tuned to the same note) was tuned to low C, so that the tangent player could make the higher octave note c sound by shortening the free string with a free finger [fn][52-3]. This


artificially produced high drone tone was supposed to be sustained for a long time. But how could the tangent player, who needed both hands in order to operate the keys for these large instruments (see page 88f.) , perform this feat, and which free finger did he use? Van Waesberghe is of the opinion that this drone tone led to the introduction of other drone strings in the 13th century [fn][53-1]. Certainly the hurdy-gurdy was built from the beginning as a drone instrument. That it had drone strings in the 13th century does not prove that these were a recent addition, but rather that these had belonged to the instrument for quite some time [fn][53-2]. A hurdy-gurdy without at least one drone string must then be looked upon as a rarity, like the instrument with revolving tangents (ill. 2) [figlink]

The continuously sounding drone strings of the hurdy-gurdy form a characteristic tonal element. Their number is generally greater than that of the melody strings, and there are only a few instruments on which there are the same number or more melody strings than drones. Nothing is known concerning the tuning of the hurdy-gurdy's drone strings before the 17th century. However it can be assumed that since the introduction of these strings the drone tones have essentially remained the same. Since on the instrument they must always be the central tones of the main tonal mode or key, the only tones open as such are the basic or primary, the fifth (or fourth) and their octaves. The supposition that three or four drone strings were tuned to one note is improbable, since a drone tripled in strength would overpower the tones of the melody strings [fn][53-3]. The use of more than two drone strings was aimed at producing a richer sound, and so


it was recommended that in the case of several strings the primary tone and its fifth or octave be used. Marin Mersenne described a hurdy-gurdy with two drone strings tuned in unison or in the octave. Since he was the first to observe overtones and because he also wanted to give them a practical value, he suggested the use of six drone strings so tuned that with them a complete C major chord could be produced, which would be made up of the first six overtones c c' g' c" e" g". Mersenne recommended that these drone strings be employed as fancy dictated; even more could be added or those strings which the player did not want to sound could be removed from the wheel [fn][54-1]. Mersenne probably recommended the removal of certain drone strings because the full C major chord which he liked was not suitable as a drone sound, since the major third as a drone permits only the single key of C major to be played harmonically on the hurdy-gurdy.

Probably the most usual tuning of the drone strings employed the primary tone and its fifth, as Sethus Calvisius describes it for the hurdy-gurdies of his time. Their drone strings were tuned c g c', d a d', or e b e' accordingly as c, d, or e was the primary tone for the melody strings [fn][54-2].

From several directions for tuning of the 18th century it is apparent that on French instruments with their four drone strings two were tuned to the primary and one to its upper fifth, while one drone string was removed from the wheel. A comparison of the individual directions for tuning shows that this method of tuning was uniform in France and was not even abandoned in the case of the larger and lower tuned instruments developed by Charles Bâton (see page 57). If this method of tuning the drone strings is compared to the one usually employed for the modern French hurdy-gurdies, the result is that though the pitch of the individual strings has been changed in the modern instruments, they still have fifth and primary drones.


Of the six strings of the French hurdy-gurdy the two melody strings are called the "chanterelles", while the four drone strings are the "trompette", the "mouche", the "petit bourdon", and the "gros bourdon". The principal keys of the French hurdy-gurdy in the 18th century were C Major/C minor and G Major/G minor. For each of these two keys three drone strings were used; all four strings were not used to play a piece in C major/C minor as Albert Jacquot declares [fn][55-1]. In each case one drone string was always removed from the wheel.

Six methods for hurdy-gurdies from the 18th century have been preserved. Baptiste Dupuit, the author of one of these methods, gives no information about tuning the strings [fn][55-2]. He apparently considered this to be superfluous since he could count on it being already known. Accordingly his six sonatas are in the keys of C major, G major, C minor and G minor, the four keys in which the hurdy-gurdies of the 18th century were played.

The directions for tuning given by the other authors as well as the tuning of Charles Bâton's hurdy-gurdy (see page 126f) and those of the modern French hurdy-gurdies are brought together in the following. The titles of the works are:

"Méthode" by an unknown author, published in: E. van der Straeten, La musique aux Pays-Bas avant le XIXe siècle, volume IV, page 92.

J. B. Ch. Ballard (editor), Pièces choisies pour la vielle à l'usage des commençants avec des instructions pour toucher et pour entretenir cet instrument, Paris 1732 (page 3f).

F. Bouin, La Vielleuse habile ou nouvelle Méthode courte, très facile et très sure Pour Apprendre à joüer de la Vielle, Oeuvre IIIe, Paris o.J. (1761) (page 14f).

Bordét, Méthode raisonnée pour apprendre la musique d'une façon plus claire et plus précise à laquelle on joint l'étendue de la flûte traversière, 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, livre Ier, Paris o.J. (ca 1755) (page 23).


M. Corrette, Méthode pour apprendre à jouer do al vielle, nouvelle édition, Paris 1783 (page 1f.).

Bâton le jeune, Mémoire sur la Viele en do-la-ré, dans lequel on rend compte des raisons qui ont engagé à la faire, et don't l'extrait a été présenté à la Reine, in: Mercure de France, Octobre 1752, Paris 1752 (page 153f. and 155).

G. Rivière, Méthode de Vielle, Montluçon (1952) (page 9).

The drone string tunings given by Sethus Calvisius and the 18th century French methods show that two of the three drone strings were always tuned to the primary tone or its octave(s) and one to the fifth. On account of this strong emphasis of the primary tone certain problems arose in re-tuning the French instruments from C to G; these problems, as Gaston Rivière's instructions show, were solved only when three drones tuned to the fifth and only one primary drone were used. The primary drone was usually removed.

The drone strings were tuned so that the primary tone was emphasized. This tuning was used not only on the French instruments of the 18th century but also seems to have been the most usual for folk instruments. In Hungary the hurdy-gurdy has three to five strings. The melody string or strings are tuned to e' and sound mostly a Mixolydian scale in A, has its drone strings tuned to a and A. Similarly on the three stringed Russian hurdy-gurdy, the melody string is tuned to a', sounding a harmonic minor scale in D, and the drone strings are tuned in d' and a [fn][56-2].


String Tunings in France

Author Chanters Mouche Trompette Petit Bourdon Gros Bourdon
Tuning in C
Anonymous g' g' g c' c not engaged
Ballard g' g' g g c' c  
Bouin g' g' g c' c not engaged
Bordet g' g' g c' c not engaged
Corrette g' g' g c' c not engaged
Tuning in G
Anonymous g' g' g d' not engaged G
Bouin g' g' g d' not engaged G
Bordet g' g' g d' not engaged G
Corrette g' g' g d' not engaged G
Bâton d d not engaged not engaged d D
Tuning in D
Bâton d d a not engaged d D
Tuning in D and G
Rivière d' d g, usually not engaged   d D



K. The Trompette String

The most important drone string of the hurdy-gurdy is the trompette string. When the crank is turned in a jerking motion a buzzing sound arises which ceases when the player turns the crank evenly. By means of this buzzing, which can be produced at will, the melody can be accentuated. This technique is of significance when the hurdy-gurdy is used for dance music. On the folk instruments used to accompany dances these trompette strings are often found, though they require a special arrangement. The other drone strings, coming out of the peghead, run along the keybox quite close to the soundboard and over the wheel, then they pass over bridges and are fastened to the soundboard or to the side of the body. The bridges placed behind the wheel are glued down firmly to the soundboard for the use of the normal drone strings. However a buzzing tone is only produced when the vibrations of the stroked string are transmitted to a bridge which is not glued down, but which constantly strikes the soundboard, whereby the tone of this string is accompanied by the chattering of the bridge. Since the bridge must be held in place on at least one side, a support is fastened to the soundboard parallel with the trompette string. This support has a small opening in it, into which the loose trompette bridge is pushed so that the string runs over the end which sticks out from the support (a). In the case of some instruments several openings are made side-by-side in the support, so that the strength of the buzzing tone can be altered by moving the bridge towards the wheel (ills. 99, 102) [figlink].

By itself this device is not sufficient to enable effective rhythmical patterns to be produced by turning the crank in a


jerking motion, since the trompette string sounds whenever the wheel was turned. Therefore the support was constructed so that besides the small opening for the bridge there was an even larger one (b). Into this opening is placed a long wedge, which lies over the string (c) and with which the loudness of the buzzing can be regulated: if it was just loosely stuck in the opening, the buzz is loud; it diminishes as the wedge is further inserted, that is, as the string is forced closer to the soundboard and hence limits the movement of the loose bridge. In this manner the buzzing of the string can be regulated so that when the wheel was turned evenly only the drone tone of string could be heard, while the buzzing tone only occurs when the crank was turned unevenly.

These buzzing strings were found on German folk instruments of the 17th and 18th centuries, which have the appropriate openings in the support, even though the bridge and the wedge have been lost.


(ills. 98, 102, 105, 112, 113, 155) [figlink]. This type of buzzing string is still used on Hungarian hurdy-gurdies (ills. 116, 117, 120) [figlink]. An unusual form of the buzzing bridge is found on a 17th century German hurdy-gurdy (ill. 99) [figlink]. The support on this instrument is also glued down parallel to the buzzing drone string, and does not have the large opening to receive the wedge. Instead, there is a peg stuck into it from the top which has a slot in the bottom. The buzzing bridge of this instrument is still inserted in one of the equally large openings in the support, which serves to better regulate the buzzing tone. The openings are spaced 5 mm apart, and the string is made more or less tense depending on which opening into which the bridge is inserted, and hence also the bridge is raised more or less above the soundboard. The tension could be changed even more by means of the peg, which is connected to the vibrating string by means of an auxiliary string (a).

With the use of such an auxiliary string the strength of the buzzing tone was regulated in the case of a different but more well-known type of buzzing string, the French "trompette". The bridge of this string is inserted close to the soundboard into the small opening of a larger bridge which is glued down securely, and over which a second drone string runs, called the "mouche". The little trompette bridge [called the chien], which was also called the


"trompillon" [fn][61-1], is asymmetrical and has the shape of a shoe whose ‘heel' rests on a small ivory plate set into the soundboard (a).

The vibrations of the bowed string are transmitted to this bridge and cause it to hit the soundboard constantly, so that the tone begins to buzz, strengthened by the ivory inlay. By means of an auxiliary string which runs behind the bridge from the trompette to an auxiliary peg in the tailpiece (b) the buzzing of the string can be increased or diminished, but the trompette cannot be removed, as Karl Nef thought [fn][61-2].


The more this auxiliary string was tightened, the higher the foot of the trompette bridge was lifted and the more the chatter decreased. [Ed. Note: This desciption is inaccurate. Instead, the more the string is tightened, the more easily and strongly the trompette sounds.] The player only occasionally tightens the auxiliary string so much so that when the wheel is turned evenly only the drone tone of the trompette is heard, while the chattering occurs only when the crank is turned unevenly. This use of the trompette is exceptionally difficult, since every time the auxiliary peg is tightened or loosened the string's pitch is changed.

It cannot be definitely determined when such buzzing bridges were first used on hurdy-gurdies. They can be traced to several instruments as early as the 16th century. The hurdy-gurdy painted by Hieronymus Bosch appears to have had a trompette, whose existence the artist indicated by means of the auxiliary string which ran from it to the tail piece (ill. 62) [figlink]. It is recognized in the same way in the case of other representations (ills. 153, 158) [figlink]. Many French hurdy-gurdies of the 16th and 17th centuries had a trompette (ills. 178, 179), but frequently later restorations replaced the trompette bridge with one that was glued down. The presence of the auxiliary peg in the tail piece is proof that a trompette was originally intended. In the 18th century the trompette string was adopted for the new forms of the French hurdy-gurdy and retained to the present day.

The attachment of a buzzing string to the hurdy-gurdy was possibly stimulated by the tromba marina. This instrument, known for a long time and popular between the 15th and 18th centuries, had a single string which had just such a buzzing bridge. On the tromba marina, which was built in various sizes, only harmonic tones could be produced on the string, which was bowed above the hand holding the instrument. These tones had a loud trumpet-like sound, which is probably why the instrument was known as the "tromba marina", or in French "trompette marine". The buzzing string on French hurdy-gurdies received the name "trompette" from this name.

The tromba marina and the hurdy-gurdy were not the only stringed instruments on which a noticeably loud buzzing tone


was intended to be produced. The similar technique was attempted, for example, on the Hungarian bass fiddle, also known as the "glasspiel". On this instrument a steel screw was inserted into the tailpiece and directly under it, fastened to the soundboard, a steel plate. When the strings were stroked with the bow, the vibrations were transmitted to the screw and hence to the plate, producing tones similar to the tromba marina. [fn][63-1]

To judge by the representations of hurdy-gurdies with the trompette, a rhythmical method of play was strived for on this instrument, apparently since the end of the Middle Ages, and this method was common in Russia [fn][63-2] and Hungary [fn][63-3] as well as in Germany and France. Thanks however to the popularity of the hurdy-gurdy with the French aristocracy of the 18th century more is known about this technique from France than from every other country.

From the French methods it is apparent that the greatest difficulty involved in learning to play the hurdy-gurdy consists in accentuating the revolution of the crank in such a way that a uniform rhythm is produced. This accentuation by means of uneven movements of the crank with the wrist of the right hand, called the "coup de poignet" in French, must be learned for each note value in connection with the other notes, and this is especially difficult when dotted or syncopated rhythms are written in a piece.

In dividing the circle which the crank describes there is a basic distinction made between duple and triple rhythms: in the case of duple rhythms the circle is halved or quartered, and in the case of triple rhythms it is divided in three. It was therefore very difficult in the 18th century to execute the very popular triplets when they occurred in a duple rhythm, especially when the triplet was to be played staccato, that is, when each individual note had to be precisely separated from the next.


On account of these difficulties the authors of the hurdy-gurdy methods laid special value on the division of the wheel's revolution. In addition the manner in which the accent is applied influences the tonal quality as well: "La façon de donner le coup de poignet constitue la qualité de son." [fn][64-1] If the wheel is turned without accent, any kind of differentiation is lost and so even the most beautiful piece is expressionless.

To illustrate the accents produced by the player with the crank circles are most suitable; in these circles the positions within the course of the revolution are depicted, at which the player with his right hand is to continue the movement with a slight jerk. This type of presentation was used in the 18th century by François Bouin, Baptiste Dupuit, and Michel Corrette, as well as by Gaston Rivière in his 1952 edition of "Méthode de Vielle".

The most exact and complete description of the various rhythms and their execution with the crank is given by Baptiste Dupuit. He goes beyond the simple whole and half notes, beyond the quarter and eighth notes, which he unites in one circle, and places the emphasis on the execution of difficult rhythms. In Bouin's work triplets and dotted rhythms are found, but he does not handle them as completely as does Dupuit. On the other hand Bouin is the only author who deals with the division of the circle into eight sixteenth notes. The execution of this technique requires even greater dexterity of the right hand. In contrast to this 18th century virtuoso eighth-division the sixteenth note today is played just four to a revolution, so that for eight sixteenth notes two revolutions are necessary. The division into two revolutions secures for players less practiced than Bouin a better and more exact execution, for the division of a single revolution into eight parts requires great ability.

In order to offer a better overview, the various partitionings of the circle as given by the authors are grouped together and so arranged that the same


accents are placed next to each other (see page 66f).

This schematic comparison of the partitionings of the cranks revolution shows that of all the methods which deal with the accent of the wheel, that of Michel Corrette is the most incomplete. The modern method of Rivière provides the most usual rhythms, and more than these are not required for folk music.

The methods of Dupuit and Bouin especially show differences in the division in the case of complicated rhythms. Bouin only recognizes the division of the circle into quarters and halves, even for difficult rhythms (Bouin figure 121, shown here in Figure 2-4) [figure][2-4]. In contrast, Dupuit divides the circle into three unequal parts (Dupuit figure 28, q.v.) [figure][2-4]. An interesting curiosity in Bouin's work is the division of the circle for three eighth notes in a 2/4 beat, which at some times are to be played tied and at other times are to be separated. The tied notes are played by the musician by turning the wheel three quarters of a turn without any accent and only then marking the following note which no longer stands under the tied sign. The three eighth notes to be played staccato are likewise distributed in three-quarters of the wheel's revolution; if however they are triplets then the accents are placed at the beginning of the second, third, and fourth quarter. The third eighth note of the triplet is then turned somewhat faster for half of a revolution (Bouin figure 117, q.v.). [figure][2-4] Normally triplets and three eighth notes as a component of a 6/8 beat are divided into three equal thirds.

Bouin mentions that there are no set rules for the rhythms of "airs tendres" or "musettes" [fn][65-1]. This can be said for the other compositions as well. The authors of all the methods have nothing to say about the correct application of the "coup de poignet" and leave the emphasis of the individual to the taste of the player, so that the execution of this 18th century music creates difficulties for the player today, despite detailed information about the divisions of the wheel [fn][65-2].




On the other hand the divisions of the circle which determine the different rhythmic variants as handled so extensively by the authors show how important this accentuation with the help of the wheel is to the playing of the hurdy-gurdy. Every piece can sound unattractive and monotonous if the player has not mastered the technique of the "coup de poignet". Since the possibilities of the instrument for expression are limited, the division and emphasis of the individual notes by the wheel is ever so more important. Only through this does the music written in the 18th century for the hurdy-gurdy as well as the contemporary folk music come alive.


L. Retuning and Removing the Drone Strings

As long as the hurdy-gurdy is played just in one main key, the tuning of the drone strings offered no difficulties. Only the advent of the chromatic arrangement and the greater tonal field made it possible to play in several keys, the most important of which were C major/c minor and G major/g minor for French hurdy-gurdy in the 18th century.

When the key is changed from C to G the player has to retune the drone strings or remove them from the wheel. The melody strings, tuned in unison, were not retuned, since the free strings in C major sounded the lower fourth, g', or the prime tone of G major. As the 18th century tuning directions show, that according to the key being used, either the "petit bourdon" or the "gros bourdon" was always removed and the trompette retuned from c' to d'. It was the trompette which provided the greatest difficulties in retuning, since its pitch was changed every time the player adjusted the correct strength of the buzzing tone by turning the auxiliary string's peg. If the auxiliary string was loosened, the pitch fell; if the musician had to raise the trompette bridge somewhat, or in other words tighten the auxiliary string, the pitch of the trompette was accordingly raised. It was this string, so hard to tune, that had to be re-tuned every time the key changed. This was due to the fact that in the key C major/minor the trompette in the 18th century needed to sound the lower octave c'

[page 69]

where the root note was c", and to d' in the key G major/minor, where the root is g'. Apparently the material used for this string at that time did not permit tuning it either higher to g' or lower to g. If it had, all the tuning problems of the trompette would have been eliminated. For this reason it was attempted by means of a special device on the soundboard of the instrument to avoid re-tuning. After it left the peghead the string ran over the large nut which was attached to the side of the keybox and from there to the wheel. On the soundboard close to the peghead were fastened two small pegs, each of which swung on an axis, and between these ran the string (a). If the pitch of the trompette was to be raised from c' to d', the player closed these two small ‘gates' (b) and thus shortened the string by exactly one whole tone (ills. 202, 203) [figlink].

In the 18th century the retuning of individual drone strings was necessary whenever a change of key between two pieces occurred, since two of the drone strings were tuned to the root. Retuning became superfluous only with the modern French hurdy-gurdy, on which three drones are tuned to the fifth d (or its octave) of the G major/minor key and at the same time to the primary note


of the dominant (see page 57). A retuning is unnecessary since the fourth drone, the mouche, which is tuned to the primary g of the key, is usually removed. The chief difficulty with retuning the trompette, also tuned to the fifth, is thus avoided. With this tuning of the drone strings however the drone sound of the hurdy-gurdy is also changed, so that the root note no longer stands out as with the old instruments, but rather the fifth is emphasized.

When a hurdy-gurdy player tunes his instrument, he places the strings individually against the wheel, which means that he must be able to remove the strings from the wheel before he tunes. He accomplishes this by placing the drone strings in a second groove in the drone bridge behind the wheel, so that the strings no longer touch the wheel; only the trompette, on account of the loose bridge, is held behind a small peg attached to the soundboard. The player first tunes the melody strings and then places one drone string after another against the wheel. This removal of the drone strings, which is essential for the tuning of the instrument, can be seen as another way of avoiding undesired drone tones. The 18th century French hurdy-gurdy players already made use of this, as is shown by the tuning directions (see page 57). However they always removed only one string from the wheel. The opinion that the 18th century hurdy-gurdy was always played without drone strings for dances [fn][70-1] is contradicted by the detailed information about the tuning of the drone strings in the methods of this period.


In one of these methods for the hurdy-gurdy the author discusses the limited possibilities for modulations presented by the drone tones, which cannot be extended to a number of keys since they would constantly sound dissonant [fn][71-1]. If one wants to modulate into more distant keys, then the drone strings have to be removed, "cd qui à la verité changeroit la nature de ces Instrumens, et leur ôteroit la plus grande partie de leur agrément" [trans] [fn][71-2]. The following quote shows that the 18th century hurdy-gurdy was always played with drone strings, even in concerts accompanied by an orchestra. A contemporary heard the presentation of a concert from Antonio Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" arranged by Nicholas Chédeville for hurdy-gurdy, flute, violin, organ and violincello (see page 316ff). He exclaimed enthusiastically about the sound of the hurdy-gurdy with its drone strings: "Si Vivaldi n'etoit pas mort, combine ne seroit-il pas flatte de' entendre la Vielle exécuter son primtems! L'accord perpétual et harmonieux qui l'accompagne, sa Trompette et son Bordon sont plus que suffisans, pour déterminer en sa faveur les Partisans de la véritable harmonie" [trans][fn][71-3]. It was apparently not of interest for the musicians to play the hurdy-gurdy without drone strings. They had chosen this instrument for the harmonies produced by the drones, this being the peculiar charm of the hurdy-gurdy.




1) J. Gerson, Opera omnia, Volume III, Antwerpend 1706, 677.

2) Vocabularius rerum ex officina J. Keller in Augusta a. 1468 (quoted in L. Diefenbachm Novum Glossarium Latino-Germanicum Mediae et infimad aetatis, Frankfurt 1867, 237)

3) J. Gerson, Opera omnia, III, 628

4) J. Cochlaeus, Tetrachordum musices, Nuremberg 1514, cap. 9: De Musica instrumentali.


1) J.A. Comenious, Orbis sensualium pictus, Nuremberg 1658, facsimile printing Osnabrück 1964, 205

2) J. Reiss, Pauli Paulirini de Praga Tractatus de Music (~1460); in: Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft 7 (1925) 264. The interpretation of "Ysis" on page 402 compares with page 5 of this work.

3) Compare to G. Rivière, Mêthode de vielle, Montluçon (1952), 11

4) J. Gerson, Opera omnia, III, 628

5) J. Cochlaeus, Tetrachordum musices, cap. 9

6) Rosin (colophonium) is extracted from spruce resin, Fichtenharz = "thus" [trans]

7) J. Reiss, Pauli Paulirini de Praga Tractatus, 264;


1) The symbols (a), (b), etc, refer to a figure on the current page or the one following.


1) In this work the term "tangent" is used as the name of the entire key, because of the special type of string shortening used in the hurdy-gurdy. [Ed. Note: This terminology was not carried into the translation. The more common usage was followed, where the "key" is the part which is manipulated with the hand or finger, and the "tangent" is the little wooden flag or peg in the key which contacts the string to shorten it.]


1) W. Bachmann, Die Anfänge des Streichinsrumentspiels, 66.

2) K. Dittmer, Musikinstrumente der Völker, Hamburg 1947, 8.

3) W. Bachmann, Die Anfänge des Streichinsrumentspiels, 66f.


1) W. Bachmann, Die Anfänge des Streichinsrumentspiels, 54.

2) W. Bachmann, Die Anfänge des Streichinsrumentspiels, 68.

3) R. Lachmann, Musik des Orients, Breslau 1929, 67. During the 18th century "der diminuendo Bogenwechsel ein wichtiges Ausgruckselement" war, strebt man heute an, den Bogenwechsel möglichst unhörbar auszuführen [trans] (S. Babitz, Das Violinspiel im 18. Jahrhundert und heute, in Bericht über den Internationalen Musikwissenschaftlichen Kongreß Kassel 1962, Kassel 1963, 314).

4) W. Bachmann, Die Anfänge des Streichinsrumentspiels, 169.

3) R. Lachmann, Musik des Orients, 67.


1) C. Sachs, Reallexikon der Musikinstrumente, Berlin 1913, 238 s. v. Launedda. The figure of a launeddas player in the museum of Cagliari is estimated to be 3000 years old. Compare G. Fara, Su uno strumento musicale sardo, in: Rivista musicale Italiana 21 (1914) 21.

2) F. Karlinger, Volkstümliches in der Kirchenmusik Sardiniens, in: Musica sacra 76 (1956) 270f.

3) K. Reinhard, Artikel "Türkishe Musik", in: MGG 13 (1966) 955.

4) J. Rouanet, La musique arabe dan le Maghreb, in: A. Lavignac, Encyclopédie de la musique et dictionnaire du Conservatoire, I, 5, Paris 1922, 2921.

5. M. Schneider, Wurzeln und Anfänge der abendländischen Mehrstimmigkeit, in: Internationale Gesellschaft fur Musikwissenschaft. Report of the Eighth Congress New York 1961, Volume I, Kassel 1961, 166.


1) M. Schneider, Geschichte der Mehrstimmigkeit, Volume I, Berlin 1934, 50.

2) M. Schneider, Wurzeln und Anfänge, 166.

3) L. Propper, Der Basso ostinato als technisches und formbildendes Prinzip, doctoral dissertation, Berlin 1926, 5.

4) L. Propper, Der Basso ostinato, 6.

5) F. Hoerburger, Musica vulgaris. Lebensgesetze der instrumentalen Volksmusik. Erlanger Forschungen, Reihe A: Geisteswissenschaften, Volume 19, Erlangen 1966, 23 and 28.

6) Thr. G. Georgiades, Musik und Sprache. Das Werden der abendländischen Musik dargestellt an der Vertonung der Messe, Berlin 1954, 16.

7) L. Propper, Der Basso ostinato, 6.

8) A. Chottin, La pratique du chant chez les musiciens Marocains, in: Zeitschrift für vergleichende Musikwissenschaft 1 (1933) 53.


1) V. Advielle, La musique chez les Persans en 1885, Paris 1885, 11.

2) A. W. Ambros, Geschichte der Musik, 3rd edition, Volume 1, Leipzig 1887, 549.

3) A. Berner, Studien zur arabischen Musik auf Grund gegenwärtiger Theorie und Praxis in Ägypten, doctoral dissertation, Leipzig 1937, 19, 43 and 47.

4) C. Engel, Researches into the Early History of the Violin Family, London 1883, 89.

5) G. A. Villoteau, De l'état actuel de l'art musical en Egypte, 2nd edition, Paris 1826, 229.

6) W. Wunsch, Die Slawen Südosteuropas und ihre Volksmusik, in: Zeitschrift für deutsche Geisteswissenschaft 2 (1939/1940) 252f.

7) Z. Kodály, Die ungarische Volksmusik, Budapest (1956) 125; B. Sárosi, Die Volksmusikinstrumente Ungarns. Handbuch der europäischen Volksmusikinstrumente, Series I, Volume I, Leipzig (1967) 77.


1) E. von Hornbostel, Über Mehrstimmigkeit in der außereuropäischen Musik, in: Haydn-Zentenarfeier. Bericht uber den 3.Kongreß der Internationalen Musikgesellschaft Wien 1909, 300.

2) H. Hickmann, Das Portativ. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Kleinorgel, Kassel 1936, 76.


1) A. Berner, Studien zur arabischen Musik, 32.

2) Quotes from the translation in E. Wiedemann, Beiträge zur Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften. LXVI. Zur Geschichte der Musik, in: Sitzungsberichte der Physikalisch-Medizinischen Sozietät in Erlangen 54 (1922) 17f.

3) Compare to E. Wiedemann, Beiträge LXVI. Zur Geschichte der Musik, 20 note 10 by Professor Horten.


1) E. Wiedemann und F. Hauser, Byzantinische und arabische akustische Instrumente, in: Archiv für die Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften und der Technik 8 (1918) 142ff.

2) E. Wiedemann und F. Hauser, Byzantinische und arabische akustische Instrumente, 145.

3) Hairad-Din az-Zirikli (Hrsg.), Rasa'il Ihwan as-Safa', Part I, Cairo 1928, 141. [Arabic transliteration not reproduced]

4) az-Zirikli, Rasa'il, I 141, Zeile 20: muttasila (ununterbrochen) muß Druckfehler sein: richtig ist munfasila (getrennt). [Arabic transliteration not reproduced]

5) az-Zirikli, Rasa'il, I 141. [Arabic transliteration not reproduced]


1) Compare to the blowing technique described on page 19ff of this work.

2) H. G. Farmer, Studies in Oriental Musical Instruments, London 1931, 102.

3) M. Vogel, Der sumer von triere bei Friedrich von Hausen, in: Die Musikforschung 22 (1969) 150.

4) Isidor, Etymologiarum sive originum libri XX, hg. von W. M. Lindsay, Oxford 1911, Volume I, lib. III, cap. 22, 14.

5) E. W. Lane, An Arabic-English Lexicon, Book I, Part 3, London 1867, 842.


1) M. Vogel, Der sumer von triere, 161.

2) M. Vogel, Musica falsa und falso bordone, in: Festschrift Walter Wiora, Kassel 1967, 171.

3) M. Vogel, Der sumer von triere, 155.

4) F. Dieterici, Die Propädeutik der Araber im 10.Jahrhundert, Berlin 1865, 110.


1) Ibn Mukarram, Lisan al-'Arab, Volume 5, Beirut 1956, 222. [Arabic transliteration not reproduced]

2) A. Mez (Hrsg.), Abulkasim ein bagdader Sittenbild von Muhammad ibn ahmad Abulmutahhar alazdi, Heidelberg 1902, XXXIII und 24. [Arabic transliteration not reproduced]

3) R. Oberhummer, H. Zimmerer, Durch Syrien und Kleinasien. Reiseschilderungen und Studien, Berlin 1899, 92.

4) E. W. Lane, An Arabic-English Lexicon, Book I, Part 8, London 1893, 2815.

5) E. Wiedemann und F. Hauser, Byzantinische und arabische akustische Instrumente, 153.

6) E. Wiedemann und F. Hauser, Über Vorrichtungen zum Heben von Wasser in der islamischen Welt, in: Beiträge zur Geschichte der Technik und Industrie, Volume 8, Berlin 1918, 128.

7) E. Wiedemann und F. Hauser, Über Vorrichtungen zum Heben von Wasser in der islamischen Welt, 129.


1) C. Bezold, Babylonisch-Assyrisches Glossar, Heidelberg 1926, 196.

2) E. W. Lane, An Arabic-English Lexicon, I, 8, 2777.

3) Ibn Mukarram, Lisan al-'Arab, V 197. [Arabic transliteration not reproduced]

4) W. Gesenius, Hebräisches und aramäisches Handwörterbuch über das alte Testament. Unveränderter Neudruck der 17.Auflage von 1915, Berlin / Heidelberg 1949, 510.

5) E. W. Lane, An Arabic-English Lexicon, I, 8, 2774.

6) E. W. Lane, An Arabic-English Lexicon, I, 8, 2774.

7) Al-Makkari, The History of the Mohammedian Dynasties in Spain, 2 volumes, London 1840-43. Reprint London / New York 1964, Volume 1, 58f.


1) Al-Maqqari, Analectes sur l'histoire et la littérature des Arabes en Espagne, ed. by R. P. A. Dozy, 2 volumes, Leyden 1858-61, II, 1, 144.

2) R. Dozy und W. Engelmann, Glossaire des mots espagnols et portugais dérivés de l'Arabe, 2nd edition, Leyden 1869. Reprinted Amsterdam 1965, 195.

3) K. Lokotsch, Etymologisches Wörterbuch der europäischen (germanischen, romanischen und slavischen) Wörter orientalischen Ursprungs. Indogermanische Bibliothek, 2. Reihe, 3.Band, Heidelberg 1927, 125 No. 1561.

4) J. B. Belot, Vocabulaire arabe-francais à l'usage des étudiants, 14th edition, Beirut 1929, 841.

5) G. W. Freytag, Lexicon Arabico-Latinum, Volume 2, Halle 1833, 72.

6) E. W. Lane, An Arabic-English Lexicon, I, 3, 902.

7) J. A. Vullers, Lexicon Persico-Latinum Etymologicum, 3 volumes, Bonn 1855. Unaltered reprint Graz 1962, I 935.

8) J. T. Zenker, Türkisch-Arabisch-Persisches Handwörterbuch, Volume 2, Leipzig 1876, 442.


1) C. Bezold, Babylonisch-Assyrisches Glossar, 106.

2) W. Muss-Arnolt, A Concise Dictionary of the Assyrian Language, Volume I, Berlin 1905, 247.

3) The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, ed. by I. J. Gelb, T. Jacobsen, B. Landsberger, A. L. Oppenheim, Volume 3, Chicago 1959, 56.

4) W. Muss-Arnolt, A Concise Dictionary of the Assyrian Language, I 248; The Assyrian Dictionary, III 56.

5) C. Bezold, Babylonisch-Assyrisches Glossar, 106.

6) The Assyrian Dictionary, III 57; C. Bezold, Babylonisch-Assyrisches Glossar, 106.

7) F. Steingass, A Comprehensive Persian-English Dictionary, 2nd edition, London 1930, 546.

8) F. A. Mesgnien Meninski, Thesaurus lingaurum orientalium turcicae, arabicae, persicae..., 5 volumes, Vienna 1680-87, II 2183.

9) J. T. Zenker, Turkisch-Arabisch-Persisches Handwörterbuch, II 442.

10) E. W. Lane, An Arabic-English Lexicon, I, 3, 909.

11) E. W. Lane, An Arabic-English Lexicon, I, 3, 908.

12) The water wheel called a daulab or dulab was operated by a cow, a camel, or a donkey (see E. Wiedemann, Über Vorrichtungen zum Heben von Wasser, 129). [Arabic transliteration not reproduced]

13) Compare to a donkey-operated water wheel called a dubab, portrayed by Al-Gazari (A. K. Coomaraswamy, The Treatise of Al-Jazari on Automata, Boston 1924, Plate 6). [Arabic transliteration not reproduced]


1) E. W. Lane, An Arabic-English Lexicon, I, 3, 934.

2) E. W. Lane, An Arabic-English Lexicon, I, 3, 930.

3) H. Zimmern, Vergleichende Grammatik der semitischen Sprachen, Berlin 1989, 31.

4) J. A. Vullers, Lexicon Persico-Latinum, I 808 und 937.

5) J. T. Zenker, Türkisch-Arabisch-Persisches Handwörterbuch, II 442.

6) R. Dozy, Supplément aux dictionnaires arabes, Volume I, Leyden 1881, 478.

7) K. Lokotsch, Etymologisches Wörterbuch, 42 No. 529.

8) E. W. Lane, An Arabic-English Lexicon, I, 3, 902.

9) F. A. Mesgnien Meninski, Thesaurus linguarum, II, 2184.

10) R. Dozy, Supplément aux dictionnaires arabes, I 477.

11) J. T. Zenker, Türkisch-Arabisch-Persisches Handwörterbuch, II 442; J. W. Redhouse, A Turkish and English Lexicon, 2nd edition, Konstantinopel 1921, 1260.


1) J. W. Redhouse, A Turkish and English Lexicon, 1260.

2) F. Steingass, A Comprehensive Persian-English Dictionary, 546.

3) F. A. Mesgnien Meninski, Thesaurus linguarum, II 2183.

4) E. W. Lane, An Arabic-English Lexicon, I, 1 (1863) 311.

5) H. G. Farmer, 'Abdalqadir Ibn Gaibi on Instruments of Music, in: Oriens 15 (1962) 246. [Arabic transliteration not reproduced]

6) Von Raphael Georg Kiesewetter wurde das "saz dolab" des Ibn Gaibi zur Gattung der Psalterium-Instrumente gezählt [trans] (compare R. G. Kiesewetter, Die Musik der Araber, Leipzig 1842. 91).


1) "Die Erfindung der Töpferscheibe...gelang wohl erstmalig im Zweistromland um die Mitte des 4.Jahrtausends" [The invention of the potter's wheel... probably came about for the first time in Mesopotamia around the middle of the 4th millenium] (A. Rieth, 5000 Jahre Töpferscheibe, Konstanz (1960) 72; compare also 26, 44, 47, 51f and 54). The further discovery sites of potter's wheels in the Persian Gulf are remote, which must provide dating of the later examples. (compare Ch. Singer, A History of Technology, 3rd edition, Oxford 1956, Volume 1, 203).

2) A. Rieth, 5000 Jahre Töpferscheibe, 54.

3) Ch. Singer, A History of Technology, II 614.


1) R. Mielck, Terminologie und Technologie der Müller und Bäcker im islamischen Mittelalter, Hamburg 1914, 16.

2) A. Ritter von Kremer, Culturgeschichte des Orients unter den Chalifen, Volume 2, Vienna 1877, 321f.

3. Al-Makkari, The History of the Mohammedian Dynasties in Spain, II 262.

4) E. Wiedemann und F. Hauser, Über Vorrichtungen zum Heben von Wasser in der islamischen Welt, 121-154.

5) E. Wiedemann und F. Hauser, Über Vorrichtungen zum Heben von Wasser in der islamischen Welt, 131 und 150f.

6) E. Wiedemann und F. Hauser, Byzantinische und arabische akustische Instrumente, 153; compare also the translations of the descriptions of evenly piping instruments in the Benu Musa and the four different devices for the production of constantly sounding flutes after Al Gazari by: E. Wiedemann, Über Musikautomaten bei den Arabern, in: Centenario della nascita di Michele Amari, Palermo 1910, 169ff. und 181ff. [Arabic transliteration not reproduced]


1) Compare the translation by H. Schmeller, Beitrage zur Geschichte der Technik in der Antike und bei den Arabern, in: Abhandlungen zur Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften und der Medizin, Book 6, Erlangen 1922, 29 - 35.

2) F. Behn, Musikleben im Altertum und frühen Mittelalter, Stuttgart 1954, 117; H. Degering, Die Orgel, ihre Erfindung und ihre Geschichte bis zur Karolingerzeit, Münster 1905, 30 Anm. 42.

3) Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Encyclopadie der classischen Alterthumswissenschaft, Series 2, I, 1, Stuttgart 1914, Artikel "ρομβοσ; (rhombus)", 1069f.

4) Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Encyclopadie, Series 2, VII, 2, Stuttgart 1948, Article "Tympanum", 1749 and 1752.

5) Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Encyclopadie, Series 2, I, 1, Article "Rota", 1149.

6) C. Sachs, Reallexikon der Musikinstrumente, 367 s. v. Syrinx.


1) A. Walde und J. B. Hofmann, Lateinisches etymologisches Worterbuch, 3rd edition, Volume I, Heidelberg 1938, 155.

2) W. Meyer-Lubke, Romanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, 3rd edition, Heidelberg 1935, 151f. No. 1616 and 1620; E. Gamillscheg, Etymologisches Wörterbuch der französischen Sprache, 2nd edition, Heidelberg 1969, 210.

3) K. Lokotsch, Etymologisches Wörterbuch, 37 No. 464.

4) Glossarium Latino-Arabicum, hg. von F. Seybold. Semitistische Studien hg. von Carl Bezold, Heft 15 - 17, Berlin 1900, 447.

5) H. G. Farmer, Turkish Instruments of Music in the 17th Century, in: Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (1936)) 11.

6) J. A. Vullers, Lexicon Persico-Latinum, I 808; B. Toderini, Litteratur der Turken, Königsberg 1790, 252.

7) J. u. W. Grimm, Deutsches Wörterbuch, Leipzig 1854ff., Volume 6 (1885) 684 and 687.

8) I. K. Funk, Funk and Wagnalls New "Standard" Dictionary of the English Language, New York / London 1949, 1198. Compare also J. A. H. Murry, A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles, Volume 5, Oxford 1901, 464; "An impact wheel driven by a tangential jet of water which issues under pressure from a nozzle and strikes a series of buckets on the periphery".


1) R. Hennig, Zur Verkehrsgeschichte Ost- und Nordeuropas im 8. bis 12. Jahrhundert, in: Historische Zeitschrift 115 (1915) 3.

2) R. Hennig, Zur Verkehrsgeschichte, 2f., 7, 11f., 14 and 15.

3) P. H. Feist, Untersuchungen zur Bedeutung orientalischer Einflusse für die Kunst des fruhen Mittelalters, in: Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der Universität Halle, Jg. 2, Book 2,. Gesellschaftliche und sprachwissenschaftliche Reihe No. 1 (1952/53) 40.


1) P. H. Feist, Untersuchungen zur Bedeutung orientalischer Einflüsse, 47 and 60.

2) For the distribution of oriental instruments compare E. Gerson-Kiwi, Migrations and Mutations of Oriental Folk Instruments, in: Journal of the International Folk Music Council, Volume 4, London 1952, 16 - 19.

3) Compare with W. Giese, Maurische Musikinstrumente im mittelalterlichen Spanien, in: Iberica 3 (1925) 55 - 62.


1) H. Suter, Die Araber als Vermittler der Wissenschaften in deren Übergang vom Orient in den Occident, 2nd edition, Aarau 1897, 17ff.

2) H. Suter, Die Araber als Vermittler, 13 and 18f.

3) W. Giese, Maurische Musikinstrumente, 57; H. Suter, Die Araber als Vermittler, 15.

4) R. Erckmann, Der Einfluß der arabisch-spanischen Kultur auf die Entwicklung des Minnesangs, in: Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift fur Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte 9 (1931) 263.

5) Compare also the works of R. Erckmann, Der Einfluß der arabisch-spanischen Kultur auf die Entwicklung des Minnesangs, 240-284; L. Ecker, Arabischer, provenzalischer und deutscher Minnesang, Berlin 1934; J. Bühler, Die Kultur des Mittelalters, Leipzig 1931, 272f.


1) Compare A. Jeanroy, Les Troubadours en Espagne, in: Annales du Midi 27 (1915) 141 - 175.

2) R. Lach, Der Einfluß des Orients auf die Musik des Abendlandes, in: Österreichische Monatsschrift fur den Orient 40 (1914) 331; J. F. Rowbotham, A History of Music, 3 volumes, London 1885 - 87, III 580ff.

3) La Chanson de Sainte Foy, V. 14ff., ed. E. Hoepffner and P. Alfaric, 2 volumes, Paris 1926, I 255f.
"J'ouis un chant qui est beau en danse,
Qui était sur un sujet espagnol.
Il n'était pas de parole grecque
Ni de langue sarrazine.
Il est plus doux et plus sauve qu'un rayon de miel
Et plus qu'aucun piment qu'on mélange".
(La Chanson de Sainte Foy, V. 14ff., II 83).

4) O. Ursprung, Spanisch-katalanische Liedkunst des 14.Jahrhunderts, in: Zeitschrift fur Musikwissenschaft 4 (1921 / 22) 149.


1) E. A. Beichert, Die Wissenschaft der Musik bei Al-Farabi, in: Kirchenmusikalisches Jahrbuch 27 (1932) 10. [Arabic transliteration not reproduced]

2) H. Anglés, Die Instrumentalmusik bis zum 16.Jahrhundert in Spanien, in: Natalia Musicologica Knud Jeppesen septuagenario, London / Frankfurt 1962, 145.

3) Al-Makkari, The History of the Mohammedian Dynasties I 58f.

4) F. Dieterici, Die Philolphie der Araber im 10.Jahrhundert, Volume 1, Leipzig 1876, 143.

5) F. Dieterici, Die Propaedeutik der Araber, VI.


1) D. Droysen, Die Saiteninstrumente des frühen Mittelalters (Halsinstrumente), doctoral dissertation, Hamburg 1959 (masch.), 70.

2) "Augenscheinlich ist schon seine (Santiagos) Bedeutung für die Profandichtung. Es sei bloß auf Alfons X. hingewiesen, der - wie viele kastilianische Dichter seiner Zeit - sich in seinen Cantigas de santa Maria der galizischen Sprache bediente, ...wohl darum weil er 'Künstler genug war, die hohere Entwicklung des Galizischen zu erkennen, das an Geschmeidigkeit und Anmut das Kastilianische weit übertraf und sogar den Vergleich mit dem Provenzalischen aufnehmen konnte'" [trans] (E. A. Beichert, Die Wissenschaft der Musik bei Al-Farabi, 14 Anm.). [Arabic transliteration not reproduced]


1) F. Ludwig, Studien uber die Geschichte der mehrstimmingen Musik im Mittelalter, in: Kirchenmusikalisches Jarbuch 19 (1905) 10f.; R. Erckmann, Der Einfluß der arabisch-spanischen Kultur auf die Entwicklung des Minnesangs, 261.

2) F. Ludwig, Studien über die Geschichte der mehrstimmigen Musik, 11. The road through Navarre was the large connection between France and Spain (see A. Jeanroy, Les Troubadours en Espagne, 173).

3) Through William the Conquerer and Kings Henry I and Henry II of England.

4) H. Anglès, Die Instrumentalmusik bis zum 16.Jahrhundert, 149.


1) On the other hand it has been maintained: "Die beiden unvollkommensten aller Saiteninstrumente, die Leyer und das Hackbrett ... sind deutsche Erfinungen" ["Both most imperfect of all strings instruments, the Leyer and the Hackbrett... are German inventions"] [fn][a]; [die Radleier ist germanischen Ursrungs" ["the hurdy-gurdy is of Germanic origin"] [fn][b]; the hurdy-gurdy is "un instrument assez bizarre, d' origine germanique (flamande?)" [A rather strange instrument of German (or Flemish) origin] [fn][c].

a) F. Zamminer, Die Musik und die musikalischen Instrumente in ihrer Beziehung zu den Gesetzen der Akustik, Gießen 1855, 71.

b) O. Haubensak, Ursprung und Geschichte der Geige, Marburg 1930, 15.

c) J. Persijn, Origine du mot Violon, Den Haag (1937) 11.


1) H. Lavoix Fils, Etude sur la musique au siècle de Saint-Louis, Paris 1883, 323.

2) A. Geering, Die Organa und mehrstimmigen Conductus in den Handschriften des deutschen Sprachgebietes vom 13. bis 16 Jahrhundert, Bern 1952, 45f.


1) Compare with the Icelandic Organum, as reported by R. A. Ottósson, which existed until 1928 (Bericht über den 9.Internationalen Musikwissenschaftlichen Kongreß Salzburg 1964, Volume II, Kassel 1966, 79). Examples of the use of parallel intervals in folk culture include P. Collaer (Polyphonies de tradition populaire en Europe méditerranéenne, in: Acta musicologica 32 (1960) 60ff.) and C. Rihtman (Mehrstimmigkeit in der Volksmusik Jugoslaviens, in: Journal of the International Folk Music Council 18 (1966) 23 - 28).

2) Guido, Micrologus, cap. 19: "Ecce quomodo admittente cantore graviores voces organum suspensum tenemus in trito" (GS II 23).

3) GS III 239.

4) E. L. Waeltner, Das Organum bis zur Mitte des 11.Jahrhunderts, doctoral dissertation, Heidelberg 1955 (masch.), 257f.


1) A. Gastoué, La musique occidentale au Moyen Age, in: A. Lavignac, Encyclopédie de la musique et dictionnaire du Conservatoire, I (Paris 1921) 572.

2) M. el Hefni, Ibn Sina's Musiklehre, doctoral dissertation, Berlin 1931, 25. [Arabic transliteration not reproduced]

3) E. Jammers, Musik in Byzanz, im päpstlichen Rom und im Frankenreich, Heidelberg 1962, 189.

4) E. Jammers, Die Anfänge der abendländischen Musik, Straßburg 1955, 71 Anm.; E. Jammers, Musik in Byzanz, 189.

5) P. Wagner, Uber die Anfänge des mehrstimmigen Gesanges, in: Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft 9 (1927) 4 Anm. 5.

6) CS I 359.

7) H. Besseler, Bourdon und Fauxbourdon, Leipzig 1950, 25.


1) W. Kruger, Aufführungspraktische Fragen mittelalterlicher Mehrstimmigkeit, in: Die Musikforschung 10 (1957) 398.

2) This and the following quotations after H. Sowa, Ein anonymer glossierter Mensuraltraktat 1279, Kassel 1930.

3) Compare also W. Krüger, Aufführungspraktische Fragen mittelalterlicher Mehrstimmigkeit, in: Die Musikforschung 9 (1056) 419-427; 10 (1957) 279-287, 397-403, 497-505; 11 (1958) 177-189. There are also many other sources of medieval church music practice.

4) J. Smits van Waesberghe, Zur ursprünglichen Vortragsweise der Prosuln, Sequenzen und Organa, in: Bericht über den 7.Internationalen Musikwissenschaftlichen Kongreß Köln 1958, Kassel 1959, 251-254.


1) "...la majorité des ténors des motets représentent aussi des parties instrumentales". "Le ténor...était instrumental" [trans] (T. Gérold, Les instruments de musique au Moyen Age, in: Revue des Cours et Conférences, Paris 1928, 235).

2) E. Buhle, Die musikalischen Instrumente in den Miniaturen des frühen Mittelalters. I. Die Blasinstrumente, doctoral dissertation, Leipzig 1903, 35.

3) C. Sachs, Reallexikon der Musikinstrumente, 374 s. v. Tambourin du Béarn.

4) B. Sárosi, Die Volksmusikinstrumente Ungarns, 61f.

5) H. Hickmann, Das Portativ, 75ff.


1) H. Hickmann, Das Portativ, doctoral dissertation, Berlin, partial printing in Geschichte des l'ortativs, Kassel 1936, 42.

2) L. Propper, Der Basso ostinato, 8.

3) C. Sachs, Reallexikon der Musikinstrumente, 78f. s. v. Chitarrone.

4) C. Engel, Researches into the Early History, 127.

5) W. Bachmann, Die Anfänge des Streichinstrumentenspiels, 66.

6) CS I 153.

7) E. van der Straeten, The Romance of the Fiddle, London 1911, 49.

8) C. Sachs, Die Musikinstrumente Indiens und Indonesiens, Berlin / Leipzig 1923, 167.


1) Printed in: M. Praetorius, Syntagma musicum, Volume II, Wolfenbüttel 1619, 100.

2) "...curiously enough neither the hurdy-gurdy nor the bagpipe had drones when they first appeared in occidental history. There is no mention of drone pipes before 1300. The hurdy-gurdy adopted drone strings even later" (E. Winternitz, Bagpipes and Hurdy-gurdies in their Social Setting, in: Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Series, Volume II, 1943, No. 1, New York 1944, 61f.).

3) J. Smits van Waesberghe, De kerkelijke Draailier, in: Gregoriusblad 91 (1967) 110: "Vervolgens wordt één afzonderlijke snaar, in de lage C-stemming, welke niet door de toonkrukken of 'claves' wordt aangeraakt, gebruikt om de (met de losse vinger ingekorte) boven-ok-taafton c te laten horen". [trans]


1) J. Smits van Waesberghe, De kerkelijke Draailier, 111.

2) Hugo Riemann already supposed that the hurdy-gurdy already had very early drone strings (see H. Riemann, Präludien und Studien, Volume II, Leipzig 1901, 223; H. Riemann, Handbuch der Musikgeschichte, Volume I, Part 2, Leipzig 1920, 152; H. Riemann, Geschichte der Musiktheorie im IX. - XIX.Jahrhundert, 2nd edition, Berlin 1920, 85).

3) P. Werland, Musikinstrumente der spatromanischen Zeit, in: Zeitschrift für Musik 105 (1938) 1322.


1) M. Mersenne, Harmonie universelle, Volume III, Book 4, Paris 1636, 212.

2) M. Praetorius, Syntagma musicum II 100.


1) A. Jacquot, Dictionnaire pratique et raisonné des instruments de musique anciens et modernes, Paris 1886, 256f.

2) B. Dupuit, Principes pour toucher de la vielle, avec six Sonates pour cet instrument,... op. 1, Paris (1741).


1) B. Sárosi, Die Volksmusikinstrumente Ungarns, 54f.

2) K. Vertkov, G. Blagodatov, E. Jazovitskaja (Hrsg.), Atlas der Volksmusikinstrumente der UdSSR, Moscow 1963, 43.


1) N. Bessaraboff, Ancient European Musical Instruments, Boston 1941, 340.

2) K. Nef, Katalog der Musikinstrumente im Historischen Museum zu Basel, in: Festschrift zum 2.Kongress der Internationalen Musikgesellschaft, Basel 1906, 49.


1) L. Kunz, Die Bauernfiedeln, in: Zwischen Kunstgeschichte und Volkskunde, Festschrift für Wilhelm Fraenger, Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für deutsche Volkskunde, Volume 27, Berlin 1960, 141f.

2) K. Vertkov, Atlas der Volksmusikinstrumente der UdSSR, 43.

3) B. Sárosi, Die Volksmusikinstrumente Ungarns, 55.


1) A. Jacquot, Dictionnaire pratique et raisonné, 257.


1) F. Bouin, La Vielleuse habile, 17.

2) C. Flagel, Exposé sur la vielle à roue, in: Les Colloques de Wegimont IV, 1957. Le "Baroque" Musical, Paris 1963, 263.


1) "The full stringing of the hurdy-gurdy is used only in dance music and such pieces as the musettes" (N. Bessaraboff, Ancient European Musical Instruments, 340). "mit Bordunen wurde sie (die Drehleier) nur bei Tänzen, hauptsächlich bei den 'Musettes' überschriebenen Sätzen gespielt" [It (the hurdy-gurdy) was played with drones only at dances, mainly at the "musettes"] (H.-H. Dräger, Article "Drehleier", in: MGG III (1954) 747). This unfortunately unconfirmed quotation was received from Joachim Matzner (J. Matzner, Zur Systematik der Borduninstrumente. Sammlung musikwissenschaftlicher Abhandlungen, Volume 53, Strasbourg 1970, 72).


1) Bordet, Méthode raisonnée, 13.

2) Bordet, Méthode raisonnée, 14.

3) Ancelet, Observations sur la musique, les musiciens et les instruments, Amsterdam 1757, 32.


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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