The Dreisburg Wunderhorn

  • The List
  • 4 December 2009
The Dreisburg Wunderhorn

In the Middle Ages, Gunther the Quizzer travelled the Holy Roman Empire, leaving copious notes and drawings of the strange sights he encountered. This extraordinary legacy of baffling, incoherent waffle was recently collected by Edinburgh-based artist Calum MacDonald, in a travelogue through medieval Europe titled Obscuropa. The story of the Wunderhorn (pictured above) is told for the first time in the book. ‘In an attempt to gain favour with his feudal Lord, a bard from the village of Plop sought to create an instrument that: “...would produce such melodies as to make a Host of Angels weep...” Thus was born the “Wunderhorn”, a medieval equivalent of the one-man-band. His first performance was not a great success, producing, according to one listener: “...a most dreadful caterwauling like unto a sack of drowning kittens...” Another was even less kind, stating: “If Beelzebub Himself was wont to stick a Trumpet up His Fundament, such foul, waspish farts that rumbled forth would be like the sweetest honey compared to this..”’

Obscuropa is available now from, priced £10.

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