Station: [3] The Largest Hurdy-Gurdy and Bagpipe Collection: Summary

You can always find room – even in the tiniest space. Even for the world’s largest hurdy-gurdy and bagpipe collection. Let me take this opportunity to give you a brief summary of our unique collection. The following stops will provide a more detailed introduction to individual instruments and also a chance to listen to them.

Hearing the word bagpipes, many people automatically think of Scotland. But this woodwind instrument originally came from the Middle East. From there, it began its triumphal progress across Europe, Asia and Africa.

Above the first two showcases next to the entrance, you’ll find North African bagpipes hanging next to the paler bagpipes from South-Eastern Europe. You’ll also discover an Italian zampogna, a Spanish gaita, and also German, Flemish, Russian and Eastern European bagpipes in our collection.

The bagpipes and the hurdy-gurdy are said to be like brother and sister. Both are drone instruments that always produce the same sustained basic humming tone. Their sound is similar, even though the instruments are very different technically. Bagpipes are a wind instrument; the hurdy-gurdy is a mechanized string instrument. In the display cases on the rear wall, we have some particularly beautiful examples from Germany, France, Russia and other countries on display.

There are records going back to the 19th century, showing the presence of hurdy-gurdies in many European countries. The instrument was very popular in France in particular. In many parts of Europe, the hurdy-gurdy is currently experiencing a revival. It’s probably being played more frequently now than at any time in the past.

All depictions: © Dagmar Trüpschuch