Vielle à roue

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Did You Know?

Also known as a “hurdy-gurdy” or “wheel fiddle,” this instrument produces sound by a hand crank-turned rosined wheel rubbing against the strings.


The instrumentalist could play melodies on the keyboard that presses tangents against one or more strings. Often there are also multiple drone strings, which give a constant pitch accompaniment to the melody, resulting in a sound similar to that of bagpipes.

This type of instrument is depicted in several artworks in the CMA collection: 1924.656, 2008.34.2, 1960.20.

The vielle à roue is also related to the Swedish nyckelharpa, which was featured on the CMA performing arts series in 2017 played by Emilia Amper.
Vielle à roue

Vielle à roue


Pajot of Jánzat

France, 18th century

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