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Hurdy-Gurdy

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Pajot jeune1880Jenzat, Francewood, ivory, mother of pearl, animal innards, metal and rosin 61 x 29,2 x 24,6 cm

The wheel hurdy-gurdy is a string instrument with keys. The strings are played by a crank-turned rosined wheel. It has been used in Europe since the Middle Ages, and was popular with minstrels, farmers and beggars. The bourdon strings are responsible for the instrument’s characteristic sound, producing one or more constant accompanying pitches that are typically associated with folk music. This example, with its delicate inlayed ivory and mother of pearl, was crafted by the Pajot family from Jenzat in Auvergne, France, who upheld the tradition of making instruments for generations.