Hear the incredibly hypnotising sound of the zanfona, a strange medieval musical instrument
7 July 2021, 13:36 | Updated: 9 July 2021, 10:26
A mechanical string instrument from the Middle Ages that can still evoke goosebumps today...
With a few turns on a hurdy-gurdy’s hand crank, a rosined wheel sweeps against the instrument’s few strings.
The resulting noise? A steady and unwavering drone that sounds straight from the Middle Ages (and Game of Thrones, too).
Listen to his beautiful, haunting rendition of a ‘Dark Medieval Ballad’ below...
So, how does this marvellous stringed instrument actually work?
The crank we see Vinogradov turning back and forth works like a violin bow, by rubbing the strings of the instrument. Meanwhile, the musician simultaneously plays the keyboard that sits on the neck of the instrument with their other hand.
By pressing the keys, small wedges of wood, known as tangents, are pushed against one or two strings to change the pitch.
You might know the instrument by its French name, vielle à roue, or perhaps its other titles, the zanfona, draailier or ghironda.
Whenever we hear a hurdy-gurdy playing, we just want to *ahem*... crank it up.