Harry Wass Symphony                

  Pelverata, Tasmania, Australia.  medieval.instruments@gmail.com  


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Left:  H.Wass Huon Pine and Blackwood medium sized symphony.  Centre: H Wass Myrtle and Blackwood medium symphony.  Right: H Wass Birdseye Huon Pine Symphony: 3 chantarelles, 4 drones & trompette { buzzing bridge} 2 octave keyboard.

The Symphony is a box-shaped hurdy gurdy, common in England and Europe during the medieval era.  Hurdy Gurdies and Symphonies are basically wheel fiddles:  the continuous sound of the instrument is produced by cranking a wooden wheel that acts as an endless violin bow vibrating and sounding drone strings (giving an effect somewhat like a bagpipe) and melody strings.  Wooden tangents are pushed against the melody string(s), stopping them at different points to produce the different notes.   

Originally symphonies has a single melody string (chanterelle) a diatonic keyboard and several fixed pitch drones.  I make small symphonies with this original set- up, or small, medium and large symphonies with the inner workings of later periond hurdy gurdies ie: a chromatic keyboard, more complex string and drone arrangments, and a percussive vibrating 'dog- bridge' (trompette).  Small symphonies are ideal for learning on and travelling with (small symphony illustrated opposite spent 4 months backpacking from Turkey to France via eastern Europe with me in 2006), Medium symphony are great all round instruments and large sypmhonies allows for multiple chanterelles and drones, a large wheel and lots of volume if so desired!

    Small symphony from $1800

    Medium symphony from $2500

    Large symphony from $2900

Symphonies illustrated in the 'Cantigas de Santa Maria' manuscript 13th C.

Small, medium and large sized symphony. 

Large and medium size symphony

Medium sized huon pine and blackwood symphony (Lagarostrobus franklinii) and Acacia melanoxlyon).

Medium sized mytrle and blackwood symphony (Nothofagus cunninghamii) and Acacia melanoxlyon).