Billy Horne

Billy Horne is an instrument maker, craftsman and performer of traditional music, living in Turku in Finland. Among other instruments, he has made several lyres, jouhikkos, kanteles, and of course his particular favourite, the hurdy-gurdy.

The hurdy-gurdy (kampiliira, vevlira, drejelire) is a medieval instrument still used in traditional music of several countries, especially in central France where it is called vielle. It is played by pressing keys for the melody and at the same time turning a wheel which sounds the strings. Several strings function as drones, giving a constant background tone similar to bagpipes. In Sweden, this instrument was called hiwll harpa (=hjulharpa) from the 15th to 17th century, until the modern term vevlira came into use. According to Allmo & Winter (1985), it is possible that several Scandinavian sources which mention “harps” or “lyres” in folk music context refer to a hurdy-gurdy instead.


Billy Horne’s website:

Per-Ulf Allmo & Jan Winter: Lirans hemligheter. En studie i nordisk instrumenthistoria. Musikmuseets skrifter nr 11, Ordfront förlag Sthlm 1985.