Today we will listen to a performance of an unusual instrument, the hurdy-gurdy. It’s a stringed instrument that produces sound via a crank-turned rosined wheel that acts at the bow. Notes are played by a keyboard that presses small wood wedges against the strings to change their pitch. The hurdy-gurdy sound is characterized by several drone strings, creating a sound similar to a violin and the bagpipes.
Jacques-Christophe Naudot, born in 1690, was a French composer, typesetter, and flutist. Most of his compositions were published in Paris between 1726 and 1740, and his most well-known work is the opus 17 No. 5 flute concerto. The poet Denesle wrote a book called “Syrinx, ou l’origine de la flutte”, which was dedicated in part to Naudot and published in 1739. “Babioles” or “baubles”, published about 1750, are duets by Naudot, suitable for hurdy gurdies or bagpipes.
In this performance of Iile Babiole and Menuets I and II, we’ll hear Robert Green playing the hurdy-gurdy.