hurdy-gurdy


a musical instrument

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

“Jennifer Lucy Allan cranks out the tunes for a HURDY-GURDY special of avant-garde and traditional exploitations of this most modern-sounding instrument.”

BBC Radio 3 - 14th August 2019

Did you
know?

hurdy-gurdy
noun

- a string instrument that produces sound by a hand-turned wheel rubbing against the strings


ORIGIN

The word “hurdy-gurdy” is of mid-18th century origin and is imitative (onomatopoeic) of the sound of the instrument. The hurdy-gurdy evolved from a much earlier 9th century instrument, the "organistrum".

By the end of the 17th century changing musical tastes demanded greater polyphonic capabilities than the hurdy-gurdy could offer and pushed the instrument to the lowest social classes; as a result it acquired names like the German Bauernleier ‘peasant’s lyre’ and Bettlerleier ‘beggar’s lyre’.

Donovan’s 1968 hit song “Hurdy-Gurdy Man” triggered a revival of this curious instrument. An annual hurdy-gurdy music festival takes place in Washington State each September.


A LINGUISTIC CURIOSITY

“Hurdy-Gurdy” is a wonderfully, curious word combining euphony, onomatopoeia, and reduplication, all at the same time:

- euphony = a harmonious succession of words having a pleasing sound

- onomatopoeia = the forming of a word that sounds like the thing it represents (e.g. buzz, cuckoo, sizzle)

- reduplication =  repetition of a sound or syllable in a word (e.g. chit-chat, hocus-pocus, tip-top)


HURDY GURDY MAN” Donovan (1968)

Thrown like a star in my vast sleep
I opened my eyes to take a peek
To find that I was by the sea
Gazing with tranquility

’Twas then when the Hurdy-Gurdy Man
Came singing songs of love.


SMUGGLE OWAD
into a conversation today, say something like:

“Nowadays, you’ll often see the HURDY-GURDY being played in medieval festivals throughout Europe.”


THANKS to Florian for suggesting today’s linguistic curiosity.


HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:

https://donorbox.org/please-become-a-friend-of-owad-3

and,

Paul Smith, IBAN: DE75 7316 0000 0002 5477 40

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