What is this thing? (musical instrument seen in Prague)

My dad is in Prague and asked me to find out what this instrument is.


What is a hurdy gurdy, Alex.

I figured it’s been answered, but without looking it up or reading the thread: Hurdy Gurdy.

Yup. Hurdy Gurdy. Played well, the sound is like a baroque violin with a bagpipe drone to it, and can be positively entrancing. Playing it poorly in public, I understand, is outlawed by the Geneva Conventions for a very good reason.

Weird, we both said it sounded like a hurdy gurdy + bagpipes. I guess maybe I’ve only seen hurdy gurdies in cartoons but I’ve never seen one that looked or sounded quite like that. Is it a regional variant?

No, it looks, and sounds as best one can tell, like ones I’ve seen in concert. And like the one in the Wikipedia entry.

Ha! I read the thread title and thought “I bet it’s a hurdy gurdy!”


Welp, now “Hurdy Gurdy Man” is stuck in my head for the rest of the day, and that song creeps me out ever since it was used in Zodiac. Thanks a lot!


What a coincidence! I thought the same thing when I read the thread title.

Damn. From the thread title, I was going to guess “hammered dulcimer,” another popular folk instrument in that region of Europe.

I think I met him in a pub in Soho.

I had the “Bet it’s a hurdy-gurdy” thought when I read the title, too.

Hurdy-gurdies always make me think of the Bastille Day tricentennial. The parade, perhaps better termed a pageant, was televised, and it included a unit of marching hurdy-gurdy players, dressed in uniforms that looked rather Napoleonic, IIRC.