HG regulation

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Michael Muskett

Aug 20, 2015, 12:35:16 PM8/20/15
to HG Forum (US)



Some weeks before taking part in a workshop it is wise to get your hurdy-gurdy into good order

so that you may spend more time studying happily. 

In all bowed string instruments the first consideration is beauty of tone. It is this, together with the subtle variations of tone and volume that allows them to vie with the human voice for perfection of expression. A well adjusted vielle may  also compete at the highest level when playing its own repertoire. 

While not all players wish to achieve a high standard of performance, it is as well to remember that there will often be in an audience an expert player of some other instrument, and we do not want such people to scorn us, for our instrument can be as expressive and vigorous as any other.

The first thing in regulating is to produce a pleasing and steady sound.

There are six stages in regulation.

1) Creating a smooth wheel.

2) Using the right amount of rosin: the minimal amount to give a smooth and steady sound. Too much causes harshness.

3) Cotton wool.  The smallest amount evenly placed.

4) Pressure of string on the wheel. Just enough to produce a sweet and steady sound.

5) Tuning the tangents.

If playing with instruments of fixed pitch you should use equal temperament as given by tuning boxes. Otherwise use ‘just’ temperament. When checking by ear use only the trompette string.

6) Tuning the drones.  Tune the drones to their relevant pitches and adjust against the chanter only. 

You must tune your instrument each time you play and the other points frequently. In this way you will avoid the task of a complete overhaul and save some brave person from having to do this.

When your instrument is in perfect condition, and especially if tuned to just temperament, it will sing as though you have acquired a new instrument of twice the value. What a joy!

I hope to give more detail in due course.

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