I've been a bit under the weather for the past week or so living mostly on cough syrup and orange juice, just not feeling like doing anything, even blogging. Coming out of it now, slowly but surely.
So, have watched a lot of old black and white movies on tv this past week as I suck on my orange juice and blow my nose; today a nice 1937 classic starring Spencer Tracy: Captains Couragous (by Rudyard Kipling originally, though screenplay by someone else on account of death of the author.) Also starring Lional Barrymore as the ship's captain and a young John Carradine (Lional Barrymore was never young) and Mickey Rooney shows up at the end to unload something off the boat. I forget who the name of the rich kid who is the star of the book/movie. Rudyard, maybe. Not important.
Tracy plays the character of Manuel. Manuel is a crewman who plays a hurdy gurdy and is always carrying it around with him. To my annoyance and I'm sure many others over the years.
"The hurdy gurdy dates back to the 12th century and was the first instrument to combine a keyboard with strings. The sound, however, is closer to the bagpipe than either a piano or a violin."
And you know how I LOVE bagpipes.
Hurdy gurdy lovers (apparently there still are some since they still sell them) actually BRAG about having a drone.
Speaking of Scotland...
Donovan had a hit song 2 or 3 hundred years ago called Hurdy Gurdy Man. Thank god he didn't actually play one in the song.
If you've ever wondered why you have never seen Donovan with his mouth open, even while singing, he has bad teeth. A point of pride with a Scotsman, they say. I'm not judging. Except to say he could have spent some of his zillions on dentistry. Listening to a hurdy gurdy will make your teeth hurt too.
I wasn't going to put a link where you could actually listen to one, but why should you be spared? Go for it. (You have to shut him off after he plays it or else he keeps talking.)
Seriously, I recommend you use his site for all your medieval instrument needs. And don't be critical: no one has ever played this thing well in over 800 years. Make allowances.