The Hit Gardon, or in the magyar nyelv “Ütőgütőgardon” (Hungarian is phonetic so it sounds just as it is written), is an Hungarian folk instrument that was the natural evolution of Viola da Gamba and a truncheon.
Most describe it as a simple cello hollowed out from a single piece of wood. Honestly, though, it is probably more closely related to the viola da gamba. Traditionally, it has four strings and a flat bridge. Three strings are tuned in unison and are beaten with a stick. The fourth, much thinner string is plucked which results in it snapping against the finger board.
Here is a classical Hungarian arrangement of violin and hit gardon. Notice the crazy way the man holds his violin vertically against his chest? This is typical of
drunk people Hungarian fiddlers.
Here is an even closer look:
Here is a couple of pretty ladies accompanied by a gardon. Warning: if you have never heard it, Hungarian folk singing is a bit different. This isn’t the best example, but is quite typical. When you get used it is, it is quite pretty in fact.
And here are two other very attractive Hungarian fiddlists:
Ok, time to get back on track.
So, the traditional hit gardon is quite limited in its ability to accompany later period music. For instance, here is Corvus Corax performing Dulcissima as part of their Cantus Buranus project which redid Carmina Burana by Carl Orff. Throughout the piece a crazy man in a white Hungarian tunic is featured dancing around the stage whacking off. It is also worth watching the vidoe to see the insane first violinist get up and shred his bow.
The four pretty ladies providing backup screams were Psalteria.
If you like that, you may also like their production of O Varium Fortune:
Ok, time to get back on track.
So, it is kind of monotonous. Corvus Corax developed a version of the gardon with a longer neck and tied on frets. I assume they replaced the plucked string with another hit string. The player then stops the four strings on a particular fret and stikes the instrument. Just think about how great this would be for the Amoroso.
Anyway, I cannot find the video of this anywhere. I will have to keep looking.
Now, let me introduce you to the Berimbau. Basically it is a metal string attached to a stick to make a bow. A gourd is attached to act as a resonation chamber. A rock is used to get different pitches and sounds.
It is mostly known today as the rhythmic instrument used to accompany Brazilian Capoeira. Here is a quick instructional video:
With a little creativity, and some amazing skill, this instrument can naturally be used with an ensemble. Here is Charry playing the bau with Cantiga on La Volta:
This looks like the New York State Ren Fair, but I don’t know where Bob was at the moment.
The cool bit is that you can pull the gourd away from the chest to create a wawawa sound.
So, here is where just the right combination of loneliness and felines induces that spiritual balance of insanity and creativity:
We take a melodic hit gardon and attach a large resonation gourd to it. Now we have the flexibility of a gardon with an octave of range combined with the twangy expressiveness of a berimbau.
I toyed with calling it a hit bau, but I kind of like the name berim gardon, which brings back memories of Germany.
I am going to Ikea right away to get the parts I need.