rob moore

Uilleann and Northumbrian pipes, Hurdy Gurdy, Lira Organizzata, Eclectic Instruments

Hurdy Gurdies

Cynara-HGCynara Playing Her Hurdy-Gurdy

We made this Hurdy-Gurdy from a Ted Turner drawing which he had detailed from an 18th Century French Hurdy Gurdy made by Varguain, Paris.  It has two melody strings and four drone strings.

You may also down load Hurdy- Gurdy drawings from Graeme McCormack‘s website:

My partner, Cynara de Goutiere, carved the maple head.


Although Cynara is a fabric sculpture artist, her hand happily took to wood sculpture, so that her hurdy gurdy might have a face.


Gertrud Stein Playing Cynara’s Hurdy- Gurdy


This Hurdy-Gurdy is simple to build, and is very robust yet it possesses a pleasant sound.  This is one of the first musical instruments I made.  All it has ever had for strings were made from monofilament nylon fishing line or  second hand nylon harp strings.  Because of its rather limited range, just over an octave, it is easy to play, sounds fine, and never complains.  It is an ideal instrument for the novice or occasional musician, of  any age.   It served as a teaching aid for a few years when it was loaned to a friend who travelled British Columbia working within the school system promoting and teaching music.  He used the hurdy-gurdy along with other instruments to demonstrate and perform.  This was in the 80’s when there was more money for the arts in the schools.  I found the drawings and instructions on how to build it in a small English book on hobbies and crafts. Just three pages dealing with the instrument but all that was needed.  I was pleased enough by the results to be inspired to go on and make a variety of other instruments.  Instrument making has become more of a way of life than a hobby.