COLLECTION: Musical Instruments

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Hurdy-gurdy

1758
Origin: France
OL: 25"; W at largest part of body: 10"
Primary: mahogany, satinwood Secondary: ebony, beech, ivory
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1953-1050
Hurdy-gurdy (vielle): thick, pear-shape body, flat on top and base; straight, shaped sides; top decorated with border of ivory and ebony inlay; keyboard attached to top of body in long, rectangular box; ten white, thirteen black keys; top of box covered with hinged lid; arched, ebony wheel cover below keyboard; scrolled bridge; flat, tapering ebony tail piece with single key; crank at end of body has ivory handle; thick, scrolled neck with shell carving on top, star and diaper pattern on side; neck terminates in carved, female head; six ebony keys; pair of sypathetic strings on each side.
Label:Hurdy-gurdy (vielle) inscribed "CORNU fecit / A Marseille" with the date 1756 or 1758. The instrument consists of a crank-driven rosined wheel that excites the strings. four strings are drones sounding a constant pitch, while the pitches of the melody strings are determined as the player presses the ivory and ebony keys. With its drone strings and nasale tone, the sound of the instrument is similar to bagpipes.
Provenance:Purchased from Frank Partridge & Sons, London
Mark(s):Label inside reads: "CORNU fecit / A Marseille 175 (6) 8"
Inscription(s):see "marks"