Bâton, Henri [l'aîné]
- Neal Zaslaw
(b late 17th century; d Versailles, ?1728). French luthier and player on the musette and hurdy-gurdy. As early as 1672 Borjon de Scellery remarked upon the popularity of the musette among the French noblemen and the hurdy-gurdy among noble ladies. Bâton l'aîné took advantage of the continuing fashion for rustic instruments, and worked at transforming the musette and hurdy-gurdy from folk instruments into art ones. His younger contemporary Terrasson wrote:
Mr Bâton, luthier at Versailles, was the first who worked at perfecting the hurdy-gurdy [vielle]: he had in his place several old guitars which had not been used for a long time. In 1716 the idea struck him to turn them into hurdy-gurdies, and he carried off this invention with such a great success that people wished to have only hurdy-gurdies mounted on the bodies of guitars; and these sorts of hurdy-gurdies effectively have a stronger and at the same time sweeter sound than that of the old hurdy-gurdies. Mr Bâton also added to that instrument’s keyboard the low ...