The hurdy-gurdy is a string instrument that produces sound by a hand-crank-turned, rosined wheel rubbing against the strings. The wheel functions much like a violin bow, and single notes played on the instrument sound similar to those of a violin. Melodies are played on a keyboard that presses tangents—small wedges, typically made of wood—against one or more of the strings to change their pitch. Like most other acoustic stringed instruments, it has a sound board and hollow cavity to make the vibration of the strings audible.
A fascinating instrument with a great history that is frankly making a comeback in folk music. I would love to see a rock band pick one up. If we can have Hu, we can have that.
To a typical string player it is upside down. Guitar, bass, violin, banjo you reach under and around. This you reach over and around. You press keys, not a fingerboard. It’s easy to learn the basics. The instruments themselves are anything but standard and come in a bewildering array of personalized variation.
Oh, Hu, is Mongolian Metal. They use transitional Mongolian instruments in Metal.
Edit: Yes, I’m slightly enthusiastic about this thing.
One of the characters (a transplanted Cossack) in my Outremer game plays one. Another character (An Edessan Half Giant) plays the Mizwid - a middle eastern bagpipe - so they play together occasionally, and joke about getting the band back together.
Now I’m wondering out loud how hard it would be to make a prop Hurdy Gurdy for the game room, with a bunch of runes carved into it? Lots of opportunity for decoration on there. Might try making a fake harp first as a test of concept.