Hurdy Gurdies

I call these hurdy-gurdies because they are stringed instruments played by wheels (thus producing a continuous sound) and nobody seems to have given such instruments a generic name.

playlist of anarchestra hurdy-gurdies on youtube

Some of the wheel-played instruments of Anarchestra.

wheely wheely 03-04 chilmark-santa fe

Wheely-Wheely  Chilmark 03

This wheel is covered with felt and plays a single string.

bite my crank 04 santa fe

bite my crank detail

Bite My Crank  Santa Fe 04

The uncoated aluminum wheel plays two strings, whose pitches can be altered by the two small pulleys hanging at the right.

gurd 06 santa fe

gurd detail

Gurd  Santa Fe 06

Four aluminum wheels driven by bike pedals play eight strings, four of which are played by a slide.

The aluminum wheeled instruments tended to screech.

basok 10-11 tucson

Basok  Tucson 10

One day Kino School shop-teacher Ed Davis brought his class to visit.  One of the students asked what a crank and shaft arrangement was for and I told him it was for a hurdy-gurdy.  He asked Ed what a hudry-gurdy was and Ed answered that it was a stringed instrument played by a leather wheel.  I had read everything I could find on hurdy-gurdies and had never come across anyone using leather (traditional hurdy-gurdies have wooden wheels).  Ed’s innate mechanical common sense prompted me to try leather for my wheels and I have been using it ever since.  Basok was the first of these.  It plays a single string and has a set of adjustable keys to effect the pitch.

gurdiad 10-11 tucson

 Gurdiad  Tucson 11

A leather wheel driven by a for pedal with two strings played by sets of keys.

turd 11 tucson

Turd  Tucson 11

Similar to Gurdiad, but with fretted neck.

Furth 13 Tucson

Furth  Tucson 12

Similar to Basok but with a fretted neck.  Where basok has an A string furth has a D.



Bigur  Tucson 17

Two drone strings and two fretted strings.



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