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Friday, June 1, 2012

Hurdy Gurdy Player, in Union Square

Hurdy Gurdy, nyc Photo by myself in Union Square.

A fellow named Davin sang along to an instrument called a hurdy gurdy in Union Square, Thursday evening. I'd never seen one of these before, though wikipedia says they are common in European folk music.

A crank on the bottom of the instrument turns a wooden wheel, which rubs against six strings. The result sounds like a nasally, stringed version of the bagpipes. Meanwhile, the player presses keys with the other hand to change the pitch.

At one point, Davin rubbed the wheel with a square of rosin, the same stuff that violinists use on their bows. The rosin maintains the friction between the wheel and the strings, which creates the nasally sound.

I managed to speak with Davin for just a minute, between songs. He said he fell in love with the instrument after hearing it by sheer accident. When I got home, a quick search on youtube shows Davin playing in the same area just last night (!).


Related posts: The Morning Serenade, Young Man, on the Subway Platform, and The King of Song, Below Ground.


Washington Cesar Takeuchi said...

Hurdy Gurdy? Very strange!

Terry at Blue Kitchen said...

Thanks, Kitty! I had heard of the hurdy gurdy before, but had never actually heard or even seen one. I've passed through Union Square a number of times on various NYC visits, but only really felt its charms our last visit, just two weekends ago. We spent some time there waiting to meet up with friends on a Saturday afternoon. It was bustling, but relaxed, the many people there thoroughly enjoying it. And we saw a huge red-tailed hawk that had apparently been hanging around all day, swooping from tree to tree, probably trying to score a pigeon.

Banjo52 said...

Yeah, I hear something like a bagpipe in the video. You don't think there's some eternal human instinct to make music on just about anything, do you? (rhetorical question).