Hurdy Gurdy (wheel fiddle)

With René Zosso

The following aspects are tackled during class:

• tuning and care for the instrument

• training of the left hand (fingerboard) – an integral element in the melodies of the French tradition and that of the Middle Ages

• as the hurdy gurdy is a drone instrument, we will also explore the melodic modes of the West

• there is the possibility of working on the relationship between the instrument and song (and the spoken and sung elements) within the drone framework.

René Zosso was born in Geneva in 1935. After studying literature, he taught at the Collège de Genève, performed at the Théâtre de Carouge and directed the

Centre de lectures-spectacles at the University Theatre. There he had a definitive encounter: the hurdy gurdy – by 1962 he was giving his first concerts.

René Zosso approached the hurdy gurdy with fresh energy: it was not the traditional repertoire itself that interested him, but the instrument in combination with ancient music (oral tradition, Middle Ages, Baroque music) and all its possibilities. From 1963 to 1976, he performed a solo recital ‘Le Dur Désir de Durer’ across Europe and in New York (Cloisters). He collaborated with the GRM in Paris and the GMEB in Bourges in order to develop the possibilities of the hurdy gurdy in terms of electro-acoustic music. He played with percussionist Pierre Favre.

From 1972 he was a hurdy-gurdy man, pulled towards the Clemencic Consort for its programmes dedicated to the Middle Ages. He recorded several discs with this prestigious ensemble, including the original Carmina Burana, the Roman of Fauvel and the Troubadours. His capacity as a singer who knows how to interpret a text, whether in French, Latin or Occitan, is particularly remarkable.


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Téléphone : 022 321 52 92



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