1. Video: The Poisonous Polonaise (Polonoise No. 19, Wittenberger Apothekenhandschrift, Deutschland)

    More music from Emilyn, John and me!

    https://youtu.be/p3_6zcVobEE

    This one is a beautiful polonaise found in the Wittenberger Apothekenhandschrift, a hand written dance manuscript found in the Giftschrank (poisonous substance cabinet) in an old pharmacy in Wittenberge, Germany.

    Sheet music for this piece, and many other amazing northern German traditional music, can be found in volumes 1-3 of Neues aus Alten Büchern (new things from old books) published by Tramudea e.V., and also on tanzmusikarchiv.de and the TradTanzMusik youtube channel.

    Recorded in Toronto, Canada on 2017-05-12

    Barnaby Walters: Hurdy Gurdy https://gurdy.is
    Emilyn Stam: 5 String Fiddle
    John David Williams: Accordion

  2. Video: Lights in the Sky (Barnaby Walters)

    Finally the first video from my trip to Canada last month! Playing with Emilyn and John is always a blast, and this time we recorded a bunch of tunes. More to come!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhxygxmaiSE

    A waltz I wrote whilst living in Iceland, recorded for the first time with Emilyn Stam and John David Williams on 2017-05-12 in Toronto, Canada.

  3. decided to give up strings on my gurdies. best listened to with headphones.

  4. Doing some prototyping+testing for the next MIDI-enabled gurdy board:

    My current approach is an Arduino (Genuino) Uno with a custom made board with a line of hall effect sensors, and the various other boards plugged into the Arduino. It works, but there are various problems — wiring the whole thing together is a hassle; the limited I/O on the Uno requires me to multiplex the sensors, introducing delays; hand-soldering through-hole sensors means they’re all in slightly different positions; and a single line of sensors isn’t enough to cover the whole throw of a key, resulting in notes turning off when they’re bent too far.

    I heard about emsproto.com and was initially considering designing a board containing the sensors and microcontroller myself, and having it built, but after drafting up a very simple one-component test board and seeing that there’s a base cost of €200 per board for PCB and assembly, I decided on another approach.

    The next version of the board will be a custom designed sensor and breakout board with two rows of surface-mounted hall effect sensors, into which I can plug a Teensy 3.5, removing the need for multiplexing, vastly increasing the speed at which the system can run, and opening up various possibilities like easy-to-implement USB-MIDI support.

  5. FOR SALESOLD: Two newly built Hurdy Gurdies

    The first two instruments from this winter’s series are now for sale. The new design is an evolution of my previous instruments, aiming to be more compact whilst having a loud, mellow, balanced sound. The instruments fit nicely in Ritter Alto/Tenor sax bags (I’ve flown several times with this model as hand luggage without any problems).

    Vio #4 for €2700 + P&P from Germany

    https://youtu.be/BLZDyc99MXw

    This instrument can be seen played together with a violin in this video from Folk Marathon 2016.

    2x melody strings (G and g)
    2x drones (C and G)
    2x trompettes (C and G)
    Fully chromatic two octave keyboard (including F# in the upper octave)
    Height-adjustable melody string bridge
    Adjustable drone bridges

    Fitting capos and/or an amplification system is also possible.

    Vio #5 for €3150 + P&P from Germany

    https://youtu.be/ddGXaQiN97E

    2x melody strings (G and g)
    2x drones (C and G)
    2x trompettes (C and G)
    4x sympathetic strings (C, G, D, A)
    4x capos (one for each drone and trompette string)
    Three channel active amplification system
    Fully chromatic two octave keyboard (including F# in the upper octave)
    Height-adjustable melody string bridge
    Adjustable drone bridges

    Some more photos:

    Both instruments are now sold, but I may be available for new builds over the next year, Contact me at barnaby@waterpigs.co.uk if you’re interested.

    Interested? Questions? Contact me at barnaby@waterpigs.co.uk for more information.

  6. FOR SALESOLD: Prototype “Vio” Hurdy Gurdy €2700 + P&P from Germany

    This is the twin of my current personal instrument, originally built four years ago but finished recently. The video was taken after only one day of setting up and breaking in, so it’s a bit scratchy, and intended to give an impression of the raw sound of the instrument (both acoustic and from the two internal pickups), ready for you to tame (or not, if you prefer!)

    The instrument has three chanters (currently G, d and g), two drones (currently C and G) and two trompettes, also C and G. The C drone and trompette are fitted with capos, raising the pitch by one tone. The chanter bridge height is adjustable.

    The instrument is fitted with two passive internal pickups, one on the soundboard below the bridge giving a good overall sound, and one on the chanter bridge itself, giving a very focused chanter sound (almost no trompette!). The sounds from both pickups can be heard in the video. There is one jack for each pickup, enabling you to mix them or apply separate effects externally.

    The whole body is made from flamed maple, the keys and other small details are ebony, with screwed wooden tangents. The instrument is a prototype, and therefore has some minor cosmetic and design flaws; otherwise it is a fine, working instrument at a special prototype price.

    I’ve already had some interest in the instrument and am waiting until Monday for a potential buyer to get back to me, other than that it’s first-come-first served. Any questions, etc. comment/message/email me barnaby@waterpigs.co.uk2016-10-18 this instrument is now sold to Isarnos in the UK — looking forward to hearing what they do with it! I’m currently building more instruments, drop me an email if you’re interested.

  7. Video: Jelängerjelieber — Solo Hurdy Gurdy

    Jelängerjelieber played on solo gurdy as a wickler/slängpolska for an epic eight minutes (it feels like much less on the other side of the instrument!) — so grab the nearest person and wickl some time away :)

    This lovely tune is Matthias Branschke’s Säckpipa version of what was originally a Sorbish song from the Kralsches Geigenspielbuch called “Fa ßym ta jena hubena ßryota”, and was given a new name by the Verein zur Förderung traditioneller Musik des deutschsprachigen Raums (who need a new name themselves, phew), and published in 2015 in “Neues aus alten Büchern 2” — full of nice tunes and highly recommended.

    Sheet music for this tune is available here

    The instrument is a 2nd generation Vio gurdy from me, recorded with an AKG C1000S and the internal pickup.

  8. Spent this morning doing maintenance work on this very old hurdy gurdy with a very interesting history, which I shall be writing more about soon:

  9. Spent this morning meeting a very interesting old hurdy gurdy owned by some very interesting people. Tomorrow we’re off to find a lathe with which to fix it.