Hurdy Gurdy Man


I created this character as a personal project connected to an interest I have in what happened in London during the renaissance period that had a profound effect throughout Europe and consequently the rest of the world

During the Renaissance, the hurdy-gurdy was a very popular instrument (along with the bagpipe) and the characteristic form had a short neck and a boxy body with a curved tail end. It was around this time that buzzing bridges first appeared in illustrations. The buzzing bridge (commonly called the dog) is an asymmetrical bridge that rests under a drone string on the sound board. When the wheel is accelerated, one foot of the bridge lifts from the soundboard and vibrates, creating a buzzing sound. The buzzing bridge is thought to have been borrowed from the tromba marina (monochord), a bowed string instrument.

The hurdy-gurdy tradition is well-developed particularly in Hungary, Poland, Belarus and Ukraine. In Ukraine, it is known as the lira or relia. It was and still is played by professional, often blind, itinerant musicians known as lirnyky. Their repertoire has mostly para-religious themes. Most of it originated in the Baroque period. In Eastern Ukraine, the repertoire includes unique historic epics known as dumy and folk dances.

Lirnyky were categorised as beggars by the Russian authorities and fell under harsh repressive measures if they were caught performing in the streets of major cities until 1902, when the authorities were asked by ethnographers attending the 12th All-Russian Archaeological conference to stop persecuting them.

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All original material copyright Jacob Corn 2020 unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.