Renaissance Music Instrument Overview

Many of the instruments both Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night play are hundreds of years old and not something you’re going to run across in the average music shop. Here’s a quick run-through of the ones more frequently used by Blackmore’s Night in the studio and on stage.

Hurdy Gurdy
Sounding like a bagpipe, this stringed instrument dates back to somewhere between the ninth and 11th centuries and creates sound via a hand-crank-turned, rosined wheel that rubs up against the strings and works like a bow in producing single notes.

This stringed instrument is to the mandolin what the viola is to the violin and evolved from the lute.

As the national musical instrument of Sweden, the nyckleharpa is a chordophone, which means it produces sound from vibrating strings not unlike a hurdy gurdy, which also uses key-actuated tangents to change the instrument’s pitch.

A long-necked Belarusian, Russian and Ukrainian folk string instrument of the lute family with a round body and three or four metal strings that dates back to 1530.

A double reed instrument dating back to Renaissance times that has a windcap over the reed and a closed bell.

A double-reed woodwind with a flared bell not unlike a trumpet made from a single piece of wood that was eventually superseded by the oboe family.

German for rush or reed pipe, this wooden double-reed instrument was used in the 16th and 17th centuries and requires a player to blow into a slot in the top of the windcap to produce a sound.

Another double reed instrument with an upward-curving end that produces an even, nasal sound.