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Hurdy Gurdy Weekend

Friday 14 Feb 4pm — Sunday 16 Feb 4pm, 2020

To make a booking enquiry please complete the form below. We will contact you to confirm availability and complete your booking.

Course Enquiry

  • Halsway Manor will not share your details with any third parties.


We anticipate that accommodation will be at a premium for this event; please consider sharing a room with friends, booking a bed in a shared dorm, or bringing a campervan/camping if you're an outdoor type! Not only will you save yourself some cash, but it will mean that more people can join the party!

Full board per person (tuition, activities, tutor's gig, all meals & accommodation):

  • £250 – single ensuite room
  • £215– sharing an ensuite room
  • £215– single non-ensuite room
  • £170 – sharing non-ensuite room

Camping per person (tuition, activities, tutor's gig, all meals):

  • £160

Non Resident (tuition, activities, tutor's gig, all meals except breakfast):

  • £150

For an extra £40, participants can stay until Monday morning, including supper and B&B. Please enquire when booking

At present, we are fully booked for both the Beginners course with Scott, and the Intermediate course with Isabelle; we are keeping a waiting list in case of cancellations, so do get in touch to register your interest. 5 places are remaining in the Advanced course with Efren.

Guaranteed to be one of Halsway’s noisiest weekends, this popular Hurdy-Gurdy takeover is a brilliant opportunity to get together with some of the best of Europe’s players in an intensive learning weekend of masterclasses, workshops, sessions and a Saturday night concert/dance. This course runs alongside the Bagpipes Weekend, in a frenzy of reeds, drones and buzzing things! Early booking advised.

The weekend is hosted by Claire Dugué, hurdy-gurdy maker and repairer, and she’ll be available to help people get the most out of their instruments with tips  for maintenance. She is joined by an elite tutor team of Efren Lopez (Spain), Isabelle Pignol (France) and Scott Marshall (UK).

Efren will work with advanced level students; Isabelle will work with Intermediate gurdy players; and Scott will work with beginners learning to play hurdy gurdy. It is important that when you book you will need to decide which level group you are booking for.

For an extra £40, participants can stay until Monday morning, including supper and B&B. Please enquire when booking.

Who’s it For?

This course will be for players of the hurdy-gurdy of all ages (under 16s must be accompanied by an adult) and abilities! You’ll join a tutor for music classes and workshops based on your level of musicianship – advanced, intermediate or beginner. There will be plenty of time to socialise with other participants on the Gurdy and Bagpipe weekend during breaks and in the evenings. 

Beginners course with Scott Marshall – This course is now full, contact us to join the waiting list.
This workshop is for both complete beginners and for those who have been playing for sometime but want to consolidate their basic techniques. Scott will tailor his workshop to the students.
For the complete beginners, you will work on good habits of posture and fingering techniques.
Regarding the rhythm, Scott will try to bring you up to the “coup de quatre” level.
Some study material should be available by November/ December time for this course.

Intermediate workshop with Isabelle Pignol
Isabelle’s workshop will combine individual and group work, adapted to students’ individual abilities to move towards the common learning objective. Each day will include group playing and group exercises to study the posture and holding of the instrument, to improve the listening and the sound. We will work by ear in the majority. Any tuning accepted. The student should bring, if possible,  a recording device and some manuscript paper.

The course will include:

  • Work on the “Coup de poignee”, two-time, three time and asymmetrical rhythm.
  • Work on the different sound possibilities of the chien to improve the “swing”.
  • Rhythmic and melodic style effects
  • How to be rhythmically freer
  • Notions of harmony: chordal arpeggios.
  • Creation: counter melodies, improvisation, composition.
  • Searches for “sounds”.
  • Looking for style and interpretation.
  • Traditional and contemporary repertory, collective pieces and polyphonies.

Advanced Course with Efren Lopez
This workshop is aimed at hurdy gurdy players who wish to expand the possibilities of their instrument, incorporating new repertoires, ornaments, phrasing and rhythmics to the HG’s most usual techniques and styles. In order to achieve that, we’ll take the HG out of its usual context (Early music, European Folk music…) to “contaminate” it with elements borrowed from other traditions (Bulgaria, Greece, Crete, Turkey…) distilling from them interesting tools to enrich our sound, regardless the style of music we usually play. The tunings used in the workshop will be: chanter strings to G and D, drones to D, C, A, and G, and trompettes to D, A and G. Although not essential, ability to read music is recommended.

The Team

Claire Dugué, a native of France, encountered the hurdy-gurdy in London during her college training as an instrument maker. She was captivated by the instrument and has been making hurdy-gurdies ever since, producing quality instrument for amateur and professionals alike. Claire has now taken over the organisation of the weekend from Paul James and will be hosting the event and be also at hand to help with the technical aspects of setup and maintenance.

Efren Lopez (Spain)  is an exceptional multi-instrumentalist and composer specialising in folk and early music from around the world. He has been a part of artistic productions for a myriad of bands as well as singer-songwriters.

Isabelle Pignol (France) 

“always in search of the most surprising, massive and turbulent sounds, from the wildest to the wisest

Scott Marshall (England) has been playing hurdy gurdy since 2005. Soon after he helped to create the UK Gurdy forum and subsequent festivals. In 2017 he recorded his first album Gurdymania, followed in 2018 by Gurdymania 2, using multiple Hurdy-Gurdies and effects units. He will be teaching the beginners class at Halsway focusing on solid playing skills and core repertoire.