Monday, February 1, 2010

The Lira (Hurdy-Gurdy)

Following a trend of Russian instruments, I decided to investigate the lira, or 'hurdy-gurdy.' I suppose it is not originally Russian, per se, but it does seem to have left its mark on Russian and Ukrainian folk music. According to

Ukrainian Lira (hurdy-gurdy) - a wheel made to rotate by a crank acts as a bow. The old examples are diatonic and provided with nine to eleven keys. They have one melody string and two drone strings (tenor and bayork). These instruments are not held obliquely but laid horizontally on the lap. Their keys are provided with a device (often a simple rubber band) to make them return to their starting position. Contrary to most European hurdy-gurdy forms, the Ukrainian lira has never had a trompette (drone string with rhythmical function). Supposedly the instrument was imported from France by the Ukrainian Cossacks of colonel Ivan Sirko, who took part in The Thirty Years War (1618-1648).

It then proceeds to give several Russian variations, including the
Kolyosnaya Lira and the Donsloy Ryley.


1 comment:

Olga Winfrey said...

Donavan, early 70's. [here comes the Hurdy Gurdy man singing songs of love] pop music.