the tangents of a hurdy gurdy

Hurdy Gurdy Parts

Hurdy Gurdy Parts are not so obvious when you are starting out, and to prevent me from pointing too much at lessons, in this article I will explain most of them where to find them and their functions, let’s go!

– for Hurdy Gurdy Strings check this article –

If you don’t feel like reading I made this video some time ago, I think you will enjoy!

I bet you have seen many complex diagrams with tons of information, but which are the esential parts of your instrument and how do we call them?

there’s no point of me explaining what a key is, but you need to be familiar with…

Tangents, the most important of the hurdy gurdy parts:

The tangents are the little wooden wedges that you have on your keys, those contact the string shortening its length to create the desired pitches, and here’s a picture of some tangents

hurdy gurdy tangents tuning

Buzzing bridge / Chien / Dog

This is the buzzing bridge, and the little white wooden pieces on the black suports of the picture are called the dogs or “chien” they literally hit the plates creating the carachteristic buzzing sound of the hurdy gurdy.

detail of chien buzzing bridge gurdy

the phrase I repeat more in lessons is more tirant, and sometimes my new students look at me like this -> (ó_ò,)

Tirant hurdy gurdy parts

The tirant is the string attached to your trompette string, but if I tell you “more tirant” I mean, “turn the peg situated in the tailpiece of the instrument so we have more BUZZ”

Main Bridge / Melody String Bridge

This is one of the most important parts of a hurdy gurdy, it’s where your melody strings live and it’s one of the key elements transmiting the vibration to the soundboard, sometimes the modern main bridges have thumb wheels to raise or lower the bridge and control the string pressure

detail hilsman largo main bridge hurdy gurdy

Drone Bridge

The drone bridge is located on the outer side of your instrument, and is used to produce a continuous drone sound if the strings are active. The drone strings run over the drone bridge and are not stopped by the tangents, modern bridges like the one in the picture can be screwed in or out to control the pressure of the drone string

detail MM instruments gurdy drone bridge


Capos are this little levers of the photo below, we put them in trompette and drone strings, and what they do is instantly tuning up your string by a whole tone, so when you activate the capo of your C drone, it raises its pitch to D

Get your capos in pairs, if you get one from C to D on trompette, get his brother from C to D on Drone position, same thing aplies if you get G to A capo, get them always in pairs!

detail capos of sebastian hilsman largo

Hurdy gurdy spare parts

also Hurdy Gurdy spare parts are sold by some luthiers or specialized shops online, don’t expect to get them in hurdy gurdy amazon, you can order Axles, S cranks, Knobs or Tangents from La maison de la vielle, and most of the times the maker of your instrument will sell you parts if you missed a dog or a tangent fell, contact them!

spare parts

In conclusion, the Hurdy Gurdy is a complex and fascinating instrument with several key components that work together to produce its unique sound. Understanding the different parts of the instrument can help players and enthusiasts appreciate the intricate design and craftsmanship of this ancient instrument.

keep on cranking

Sergio González

Doubts? Book a gurdy consultation or a single lesson with me 🙂

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