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Churchill Academy & Sixth Form

Year 10 Music Students Experience the Hurdy-Gurdy

On Wednesday afternoon, we had the pleasure of welcoming Mr Raymond Brunton to the Academy to lead a workshop for Year 10 Music students about the hurdy-gurdy. 

To kick start the session, Ray performed several pieces on the hurdy-gurdy to introduce the instrument’s unique features and sound.  

Ray explained and demonstrated to students that the hurdy-gurdy, a string instrument, produces its sound by a hand-crank-turned, rosined wheel that rubs against the strings. The wheel functions, much like a violin bow, and single notes played on the instrument sound similar to those of a violin.

He then showcased how the melodies are played via a keyboard that presses tangents—small wedges, typically made of wood or metal—against one or more of the strings to change their pitch. 

The students then had the chance to experience playing the instrument and discovered firsthand the challenges that are encountered when turning the wheel and pressing the keys!

The session also included a collaborative piece, with students encouraged to play along with Ray using a variety of percussion instruments. 

It was an engaging and informative session, incredibly valuable for our students. We are deeply indebted to Ray for leading this session.