Video clips of it being played & overview of current versions of Digi-Gurdy
DigiGurdy Users Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2385106478458532
28/02/2021 : New Digi[Nerdy]Gurdy design in collaboration with Jaap Brand of NerdyGurdy fame. Undocks into 2 parts; a fully playable keybox and a main body with crank simulator.
03/04/2021: Videos of laser cut Digi[Nerdy]Gurdy see overview video above. Six additional detailed build videos in same playlist also see Project Log.
May 2021: For metal-heads, Digi-X-Gurdy variant video added above.
April 2022: Major software rewrite by Basil Lalli. Click for his GitHub page and
experimental version with built in sound card - see detailed overview video.
What is it?
In addition to the above, a hurdy-gurdy also has drone strings and a buzzing rhythm section operated by varying the rotation speed of the crank handle. It has been described as the stringed equivalent of the bagpipes and, as with bagpipes, there are design variations in the folk traditions of different countries. Links to videos of real hurdy gurdy players are provided.
The Digi-Gurdy is an electronic hurdy-gurdy keybox, with correctly placed keys, that outputs MIDI (an industry standard digital communication system for electronic musical instruments) via a USB cable to an attached laptop or phone running suitable MIDI player software. When used with headphones this would give you a low cost, portable, compact and silent means of playing the equivalent of the melody strings, i.e. something to learn to play on wherever you may be. It would not even require a battery as it would be powered via the USB cable. It also has an industry-standard regular MIDI socket.
Are you building any?
The plans I have uploaded can use a hand wired loom. I also have a custom PCB onto which all switches and Teensy can be mounted PLUS the Teensy microcontroller is then un-pluggable, so non-Arduino enthusiasts could just mail me the Teensy for a code upgrade. A bit left-field but solves a real world problem!
Video links: See project log # 20 for a series of 4 Build videos and two more on how to setup and use it with an iPad/Phone or Android phone
1) Major barriers to entry for beginners are that while a playable electric guitar for example can be bought for around $200, a hurdy-gurdy is made to order by a specialist luthier and costs around $1500 even for a basic instrument with a waiting time of several months to a year.
2) In addition, it is noisy, making a good place to practice without upsetting your companions hard to find! This problem has been solved for bagpipe players with the availability of both practice chanters resembling a simple flute and electronic e-chanters allowing practice while wearing headphones.
How it works: The keys press on micro-switches and the brain of the device is an Arduino Teensy 3.5 microcontroller. An OLED display shows you which note you are playing at any time. The new DigiGurdy versions are all laser cut.
I have simulated the crank using a hobby robot gearmotor as a dynamo.
Primary objective: To produce a design which could be assembled by someone around 14 years or older with basic soldering and model making skills.
NOTE: Click on my name and send me a PM if you want to discuss anything.
Video examples of various styles of hurdy-gurdy players, in no particular order: