steve met draailier

There are a lot of intarsia panels in Steve's house, but if that is not enough, he also makes very special musical instruments. And without doubt the most special instruments he makes, is the Hurdy Gurdy. Since most of the Hurdy Gurdy's are designed for right-handed people and Steve is left-handed, it is obvious that this was also a reason to build left-handed Hurdy Gurdy's.

These originally medieval instruments are made entirely by himself and finished down to the last detail. The only plan that he had was a drawing that was made by a Belgian guy 30 years ago, luckely a friend of his had one. Eventually he went to visit more people who had made one, or could play the instrument. It is Steve's great pride and one of the greatest challenges that he has ever had. Steve chose to make this instrument because of the special sound that resembles that of bagpipes, because of the drone strings. It also sounds a little like a fiddle, because it’s technically a bowed string instrument. The buzzing sounds a little like a rhythmic one-note kazoo. The whole gets wrapped together into a cross between a fiddle and a bagpipe, with someone keeping rhythm on a kazoo. It is fascinating to see how they work and sound.  When the instrument was introduced to England in the 12th century, the bow was replaced by strings touching a wheel, which was cranked by a handle. During that time, the English used the term hurley burley” as a derogatory reference to the instrument’s music.

ducimerlIn addition to the hurdy-gurdy, he also makes another instrument, the dulcimer. This is a narrower version of the zither family instruments, having three to five strings with a fret board which is held in the lap of the player who strums it with a small stick, sometimes referred to as a quill or plectrum, with the right hand while controlling the chords or melody with the left hand.  The dulcimer first appeared among Scottish and Irish immigrants during the early nineteenth century in the Appalachian Mountains. However, the instrument has no known predecessor in either Scotland or Ireland. Because of this, a large part of the dulcimer’s history has been speculative until fairly recently.