Paris and the Rococo Composers:

The repertoire for the Hurdy-Gurdy falls into two broad, and sometimes overlapping categories: popular songs and theater music arraranged for one or two Hurdy-Gurdies; and music specifically composed for the instrument to be played in concert or in intimate social settings by the amateur students of the composers.

A passionate and heated debate raged between those who championed the Italian Style of music and those partisans of the native French Style. This involved more than a difference of how the music was played, but the content of the musical forms: what sequence of movements made up a sonata? a suite? a symphony? This is the moment when the composition forms of the classical and Romantic styles took for granted.


The London Ballads, Ballad Operas and English Country Dances, with their sibling Welsh, Scot and Irish Ballads and dance tunes, represents one of humanity's great treasures of traditional music.

The music of the Hurdy-Gurdy Band's La Folia Itinerante draws inspiration from several early 17th and18th century traditions:

the ballads, country dances and ballad operas of London;

the vaudevilles, airs, and rococo dance suites heard in the guingettes (dance halls) and téatre foirain (fair theaters) of Paris as well as music composed for the Hurdy-Gurdy in both French and Italian concert styles;

and the theatrical dances brought to London and Paris by the traveling troupes of the Italian Commedia.

Venice and the Italian Style

The Hurdy-Gurdy Band performs the music of the Commedie Italien as presented in the 1716 edition of Gregorio Lambranzi's New and Curious School of Dancing, the classic illustrated treatise on Commedia dell'Arte performance.

Commedia Theater Music:

For a more detailed look at the 18th Century French composers of this Gallant repertoire for the Hurdy-Gurdy, click here.

We are also hard at work bringing to our busking repertoire another musical tradition related to the songs of the dance halls and Fair Theaters of 18th Century London and Paris: the German Moritaten Lied. These songs will bring tears of laughter and bathos to your eyes. Basic German a plus, but not required.

Click here for a preview of next Spring's Street Hits! Traurig Aber Wahr! (Sad but True!)

Of course the Hurdy-Gurdy is For an overview of the Hurdy-Gurdy and it's music from the Middle Ages, Renaissance and beyond, please visit The Hurdy-Gurdy Histories page.